sounding field: the deep

from by Robert McClure

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sounding field: the deep is based on my piece sounding field for low brass trio written for Ohio University’s 3BASSO. sounding field: the deep was composed at the request of Dr. Andrew Trachsel, Director of Bands at Ohio University. The piece features the original trio instruments as soloists. The wind symphony seeks to expand and amplify the original trio music which has largely been left unchanged. Below is the original program note for the trio version of the piece.

The title refers not only to the practice of making sound but, more pointedly, to the practice of depth finding for a body of water. The piece employs a rigid pitch field across the combined ranges of the three instruments. As such, it is an exploration of this pitch field, eventually finding the outer reaches and hidden melodic quirks.

The formal aspects of sounding field were developed after a great deal of thinking about gyil (African xylophone) music and Classical Indian music. The two are formally similar in that there can be an introduction in which the scale or pitch field is worked through improvisationally. This connection came to light after a conversation with composer, Asha Srinivasan, on her own Classical Indian- inspired music. In gyil music, this introduction is called the piila and is meant to “warm up” the instrument. I think, in both of these contexts, this introduction also serves to slowly teach the audience about the work. In the case of sounding field, I’ve used the first section to teach the audience the pitch field that is used throughout the piece as well as important melodic ideas. The second and final section develops and explores these initial ideas against a driving, rhythmic texture.


from Acoustic, released July 21, 2017
Lucas Borges, Tenor Trombone
Joseph Brown, Bass Trombone
Jason Roland Smith, Tuba

Andrew Trachsel, conductor
Ohio University Wind Symphony


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Robert McClure Athens, Ohio

Robert McClure composes music for
people and computers. He holds a doctorate from Rice University. He has previously held positions at Soochow University and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Composition/Theory at Ohio University in Athens, OH. ... more

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