mat martin | Scores
I occasionally compose music and make pieces of visual art. This was my main area of study (I studied under Edward Cowie and Alexander Goehr at Dartington College of Arts) and for me the two processes are very linked. They also represent for me a form of research or fieldwork and so form a part of a general interest and curiosity.
In the few cases where recordings exist they can be heard here. All scores are available for download in PDF format from the links at the top of the entry.
2008 | Scores
Download Score: Cairn (2008)
For quartet of any instruments
For Pete Wareham & The Final Terror
Premiere: The Final Terror
Commissioned by London Jazz Festival and SPNM
Recording: The Final Terror
This piece is performed in a series of movements, each the result of layering the five sheets over each other in different permutations (see below). The graphics of the score may be interpreted as desired, with the following suggestions in mind.
Events themselves are to be read chronologically (from top of page to bottom), their duration, compass and complexity being suggested by size, density and construction. Size is also to be considered as an indication of dynamic (either large = loud or large = soft, but consistent throughout all the pieces). The internal makeup of some of the larger events may suggest internal movement or harmonic colour.
As the sheets are overlaid the events on the top layer will be altered, obscured and made more complex by the forms behind them. These should be taken into account when interpreting the form on the uppermost sheet. Each player plays from a different combination of the same sheets at any one time. A blank white sheet is provided and should be placed behind the five transparencies.
Duration of the piece is to be decided in advance – it is arrived at by setting the duration of the first movement. The duration of the subsequent movements is then dictated by their relationship to that of the first according to the performance table below (e.g. mvmt 1 = 1ʼ30” ; mvmt 2 = [mvmt 1 + 1⁄2] = 2ʼ15”).
A ʻconductorʼ or principal player in the quartet should be appointed to begin and end movements in keeping with the durations set, and to cue the start of each new event within the movements (these may but are not required to be separated by silence in performance). The events, being composed of exactly the same elements as each other, should be more or less equal in length within each movement.
The movements may be performed in any order, and are separated in performance by the act of shuffling the sheets into the next configurations. Five movements are given below, but in performance situations where a shorter piece is required it is possible to perform any three or four of the five in any order. The first movement must be included in order to define the durations of the others. The overall duration of the performance may also be dictated by setting the duration of movement 1 to a sufficiently short time. This will result in a piece with more rapid movement and energy.
2007 | Scores
Download Score: Crumbs (2007)
A page of quiet constellations for amplified flute & electric guitar (one player)
2006 | Scores
Download Score: Shadow Musics (2006)
Eighteen Chromatic Hieroglyphs in six movements
Four nylon- or steel-strung guitars
Duration: ca. 4ʼ00” – 4ʼ30”
Selected for the SPNM/SAM Shortlist, 2007
2006 | Scores
Download Score: Ancient Bone (Totem II) (2006)
Quiet patterns for solo bass clarinet
For Christopher Cundy
Premiere: Chris Cundy, 2013
2006 | Scores
Download Score: Orrery (Corvus/Corona Borealis) (2006)
Solo harp or solo piano interior
For Rhodri Davies
An orrery is a mechanical device which uses clockwork to demonstrate the movements of parts of the solar system, and has been the inspiration for this simple piece. It is to be performed on harp, piano interior or any instrument which allows direct contact with resonant strings.
Two constellations have been traced across the night sky, and ‘orreries’ built of their position / orientation at certain points in the year. These are laid out around one another in the score, moving in opposing directions and displaying their permutations on a two-dimensional plane.
The piece requires a simple ‘re-application’ technique of the performer – the string is set into motion then touched using objects (glass, paper, metal or wood) to change the sound from a pure tone. Each ‘orrery’ is built around a central vertical axis, and all pitches on one side have a mirror image on the other. The strings are set in motion with the fingers on the left hand side of the axis and the foreign material (given for each phase) is applied to the string on the right hand side. As the piece progresses the positions of the events in these two dimensional ‘orreries’ gradually alter with their ‘orbits’, leaving the internal relationships of structure that build the constellation to act as a single identifiable constant.
The objects used should be capable of producing sounds which are sufficiently different from one another. Thick paper is recommended, and a rounded glass object (such as a large marble or paperweight) suggested. ‘Half pedal’ positions (buzzing the string shortening mechanism against the string) on a double action harp could be used to create some of the metallic sounds. Although no pitch is defined in the score it is suggested that a register of the instrument which offers deep and long sustaining properties will allow the most time for the re-application process, and that wound strings may give more sonically complex results. Pitch areas do not need to be consistent between phases provided the overall shapes are maintained. Although the piece is marked with a general lento, experimentation will dictate the speed at which each phase must be taken to avoid sounds fading before the re-application is performed. The higher in pitch the phase is placed, the more speed will be needed.
The piece was composed in September of 2006 for Rhodri Davies, and was inspired by his series of constellations concerts. Thanks are also offered to the friendly people at Jodrell Bank, who gave me the name of the ‘whirring clockwork thing that shows all the planets’ orbits’.
2006 | Scores
Download Score: Single Stone (2006)
A page in shades of quiet for solo contrabass (optional piano accompaniment)
For the Bristish and International Bass Forum
Duration : ca. 1’ 00”
Premiere: Corrado Canonici, 2006
Single Stone was composed over a few days in early September of 2006, and is a development of one strophe from my graphic score, Pebble Music. The piece is written without metre or strict rhythm, although pitch and technique are specified throughout the score. It is in essence a very simple set of spatial relationships which divide the one minute duration of the piece into distinct events, each with its own internal structure. Many unusual techniques are used, such as ‘reverse’ left hand pizzicato and scraping of the strings’ windings with the thumbnail. These, coupled with a consistently low dynamic level should lend an ethereal and understated tone to the piece.
The piece is intended to be performed as slowly as the minute will allow and in as static/slender a nature as is possible, allowing each individual sound to establish itself in relation to the others. The overall effect should be one of quiet ripples in silence, at times barely audible, and always extremely gentle.
The optional piano accompaniment consists of the graphic elements from the original score which are slightly rearranged and printed onto a transparent page. This can be laid over the contrabass part to show the spatial relationships between the events in the two instruments’ material. It is to be performed entirely upon the strings of the piano using the hands or two large blunt objects and is designed to echo and preempt the shapes and forms in the contrabass solo.
2005 | Scores
Download Score: Pebble Music (2005)
Seven miniatures for any solo performer
Duration : ca. 4’ 30”
Premiere: Rhodri Davies, 2006
Recording: David Lacey (Drum)
Each of these miniatures comprises a small number of discrete ‘events’, either entirely separated from one another or joined by overlapping or by horizontal lines. The principal qualities of the pieces lie in the spatial relationships between these events. An approximate overall duration for each miniature is given above the stave, although the performer is not necessarily expected to read along the score at a consistent rate to achieve this time span. Some events may require more time to elaborate than others. However, the empty areas of the score (between events, at the beginning and end of pieces) represent silence (or the dying away of sounds played laisser vibrer if applicable), and these silences should be longer or shorter depending on the size of the blank area (these relationships in visual space are to be preserved in sonic space).
Events themselves are to be read chronologically, their duration, compass and complexity being suggested by size, density and construction. Size is also to be considered as an indication of dynamic (either large = loud or large = soft, but consistent throughout all the pieces). The internal makeup of some of the larger events may suggest internal movement or harmonic colour.
A short pause should be observed between each movement, although where larger silences are required the pieces end or begin with blank passages to accommodate this.
Pieces may be performed separately, and the suggested order may be changed, although in this case each piece should retain its number (which also constitutes its title) regardless of the new order.
2005 | Scores
Download Score: Flux (2005)
For solo organ
After the strange attractors of Edward Lorenz
2003 | Scores
Download Score: Prélude (Totem I) (2003)
For solo bcl with optional drone
for Christopher Cundy
Premiere: Chris Cundy & Fyfe Hutchins, 2003
Recording: Chris Cundy & Fyfe Hutchins