Four Studies (2005)
for vibraphone

These "Four Studies" are based on compositional materials developed algorithmically for some of my previous pieces (in particular On Space and OID) which were re-rendered to explore particular aspects of mallet writing for the vibraphone.


Selected Performances

Premiered by Philippe Limoge at Théâtre de Limoges on August 16, 2005.


These Four Etudes for Vibraphone were written by special request of Philippe Limoge, to whom they are dedicated. Each piece follows an algorithmic process which explores a particular aspect of the instrument; the whole could be thought as a set of variations of a reduced number of harmonic and rhythmic materials. Etude #1 is based on the principle of missing fundamental: pairs of high notes (played on the crotales) are harmonically related to the ones bowed on the vibraphone forming subsets of a harmonic scale. Based on a multi-layered chromatic descent, Etude #2 explores polyphonic and heterophonic textures taking advantage of wide intervalic leaps only possible with four-mallet technique. Etude #3 is an homage to French composer Gerard Grisey. In this piece the instrument is used in a purely harmonic fashion, with a perpetual chromatic descent hidden in the inner voices of the chords, demanding extremely wide and narrow intervals to be played on each hand. Etude #4 is a study in speed and morphology. A simple descending arpeggio is repeated broken into groups of 4, 5, 6 and 7 notes, the harmony is gradually transformed from a pure harmonic scale into a quite inharmonic one which at its turn gets erased by a high-pitched chromatic scale played on the crotales.


Commissioned by percussionist Philippe Limoge for his CD "Magic Vibes".

Most of the of the materials for the studies were generated algorithmically using the Common Music algorithmic composition language and Lisp.

Etude #2, CD recording by Philippe Limoge

To request a copy of the score of Four Studies for Vibraphone please contact: juan at pampin dot org

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