Polymetric Cycles

​‘Polymetric Cycles’ (2003) – 8’
(piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax, electric guitar, vibes, piano, violin, cello, double bass)

Premiered by the Dave Flynn Collective, cond. Bjorn Bantock, May 2004, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.

Programme Note

A Polymetric Cycle is a term I use to describe a technique I have developed whereby phrases in two or more different metres are repeated against each other until they meet up in a cycle and then another polymetric cycle begins.

This technique is found in a number of my works but is explored in great detail in this piece. Only the introduction and ending do not have polymetric cycles. The introduction and ending do share the same thing in common though, which is that the bass line of both sections is a twelve-note row which is constructed in such a way as to make it sound tonal, the nature of the bass line means that it is not tonal in a conventional sense but it is nonetheless very harmonious, with each chord of the introduction and ending being a Major7th chord with or without some harmonic extensions such as 9ths and 11ths.

There are some subtle references to traditional Irish music at times in the piece by use of certain ornamentations and rhythms. Overall though the piece has quite a minimalist, repetitive quality, but the polymetric nature ensures that there is very little exact repetition in the piece.

The piece is intended to be in an open score format for any ensemble of 5 or more musicians to perform. I am completely open to this piece being arranged for any ensemble that can fit within the note range of the piece.