Structure of Sepia Fragments
Return to Sepia Fragments
The following analysis is presented to show how material in this work forms a typical three part ABA’ (rounded binary) form. Material is built entirely of two ideas: (1) music referencing my own history, juxtaposed with; (2) quotations from the SLSQ’s recorded history. The quotations used in this work are: (1) Schumann’s String Quartet No.3 in A Major, Op.41 No.3; (2) Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110; (3) Tchaikovsky: String Quartet #1 In D, Op. 11 - 1. Moderato E Semplice.
Form at a glance:
A (a) 5 mins | B (b d e f g h) 5 mins | A’ (a’) 3 mins
A is the exposition, and lasts for 5 mins. The A section is a slow chorale, based on an original ‘fiddle’ tune.
B is the development section (also 5 mins) where SLSQ quotations occur.
A’ is a return to a slow chorale. This is similar to the opening A and lasts for 3 mins. It is an A prime because it doesn’t quote the opening A literally.
A – Exposition (5 mins)
(a) mm. 1 to 68 Charke An original fiddle tune. The opening A is designed to reference maritime music.
B – Development (5 mins)
(b b’ c1-c2-c3 d e f g)
red letters indicate transitional material
(b) mm. 69 to 110 Charke An original reel, the consequent to the preceding (antecedent) slow fiddle tune, and based on the first fiddle tune. This marks the beginning of the development, and sets the tone for the quotations to follow.
(b’) mm. 111 to 125 SLSQ Schumann’s String Quartet No.3 in A Major, Op.41 No.3 - 1. Transposed to the same key as the reel (b) in b minor (and, of course, relative to the D major opening.) The material organically grows from the preceding reel, is in the same tempo, quotes the reel at the end of each phrase, and therefore is labelled as b prime, not c. SLSQ recorded this work in 1999.
(c1) Transition mm. 125 to 143 Charke More virulent and dissonant material, developed from the preceding Schumann. Used as a consequent gesture. Pedal G–D (perfect 5th) is the sub-dominant IV chord in relationship to the opening D major fiddle tune (a).
(c2) Transition mm. 144 to 158 SLSQ Brief and contrapuntal, this continuing transition references Schumann again.
(c3) Transition mm. 159 to 166 SLSQ Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110. Recorded by SLSQ in 2006. Uses extreme pressure to quote the famous dsch motif, and to carry the transition to its conclusion; that is to take us into (d).
(d) mm. 167 to 174 Charke Original music; a variation on the reel (a), and the transition c1, c2 & c3. This material develops in a similar fashion to the transition, and leads us into the following section (e).
(e) mm. 175 to 209 SLSQ Carries on from (d) and based on Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet #1 In D, Op. 11 - 1. Moderato E Semplice. This work was recorded by SLSQ in 2001. At the end of this section the string quartet falters on a whole-tone scale. This is shown at the start of the next example (f).
(f) mm. 210 to 238 Charke Vietnamese folk melody. Referencing my time in Vietnam as a child (1984-86). A fiddle tune is embedding in violin 1, directly referencing the opening. Similar to the last section (e), the end of (f) also falters on a whole-tone scale, before we hear the transition (g).
(g) Transition mm. 239 - 272 Charke More dissonant material returns. Built from the fiddle-tune in the preceding vietnamese folk material (f) and from Tchaikovsky (e). This section is a transition to the quasi-recapitulation.
A’ – Recapitulation (3 mins)
(a’) mm. 273 to 305 Charke Original chorale, similar in tempo, and structure to the opening fiddle tune. Designed to close the work with a similar atmosphere as the opening. Obligato passages for violin 1, (as shown in this example) are similar to the opening A section where violin 2, viola, and cello also carry the harmony with open voicings, and fifths in the cello.
This brief analysis shows my thinking about the structure this work. With the A–B–A’ structure, the work book-ends quotations between two longer chorales. The overall structure is intended to have a recapitulation as I’ve shown, but one that returns by analogy, with the chorale, and not a literal restatement of the opening material. The internal quotes have all been transposed, stretched, and altered. Anyone listening to the work will have their own conclusions about the form. However, I hope this gives some insight into my concept of the varied and collage-inspired formal aspects of this work.
- • ORCHESTRA
- • BAND & WIND ENSEMBLE
- • MIXED CHAMBER
- • MIXED MEDIA
- • VOICE
- • FLUTE
- • WINDS
- • BRASS
- • PERCUSSION
- • PIANO
- • STRINGS
- Sound Ecology