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Conception of the 3 times 12 pieces

When three composers each write twelve pieces for instrumental instruction, it seems especially appealing to be able to view these pieces in relation to each other. For this reason, we assigned each one of the twelve pieces a catchphrase, an idea, a working title.
The working title should relate to a certain parameter or fact and later when composing, should be treated as the preferred idea. Because this idea remains in the foreground and does not get pushed aside by any number of other ones, the instrumental student can understand it easily - the first key to finding access to a piece.
Innumerable interesting combinational possibilities emerge for lessons as well as for recitals or concerts because, for every working title, the three composers take three different approaches to the pieces. Comparison of these pieces shows how distinctively individual Contemporary Music can be. At the same time, each piece can also be seen on its own or in the context of the eleven other pieces of that composer.

The earliest known pieces of music are one-part. Even after the development of multi-part works, the one-part pieces remain an important departure point for musical thoughts. This is true especially of solo pieces for string and wind instruments. What are the consequences when we use a one-part line and its one-dimensionality for ensemble music?

After the one-part line, the canon, the strict imitation of a motif, is one of the most fundamental principles for a piece of music and one of the first models for multi-part music. How does contemporary music stand in relation to this almost venerable form? What new accents can we discover?

In harmony
The vertical view of music lies here in the forefront: harmony. Every composer, every musical current has his, its own views to the function of harmonies and thus establishes harmonic rules. What do we understand today when we hear the word "chord"? Which harmonies still appeal to us, or yet again, or anew ...?

Music often invites us to move, to dance. Whether stylized courtly dances like a minuet or a gavotte, or classical dances like a waltz or a polka, or new dance rhythms - dance always needs a characteristic structure, that we can recognize it. What can encourage us to dance, in our thoughts or on the dance floor?

Zwiefacher (the double) (the double)
The Zwiefacher (the double) is a dance of Bavarian and Alpine folk music based on a succession of compound duple and compound triple time. It is a combined rhythm, a constant back and forth between two metres, an often exuberant and merry dance. As down to earth as the topic may seem, this is the most complex assignment of all. For, it is all about encountering folk music, about a dance that we associate with a particular mood, and about an especially tricky metre. How can we use this folk music tradition for Contemporary Music?

With text
The combination of language and music is an old phenomenon. Whether as song or as melodramatic recitation, as meditative descriptions of the composition, text often plays an important role in music. How can we include text in our pieces for instrumental instruction? Do instrumental pieces automatically rule out the use of our voice? How does text change pure, absolute music?

As in painting as in music, the most important representational principle is contrast. High - low, bright - dark, slow - fast, loud - soft, long - short, cheerful - sad: Innumerable examples of contrast can be found. Contrasts can occur between single notes, between different parts, between two motifs or two differing parts of form. Where are the contrasts in our pieces?

Minimal music is an important current in music of the twentieth century. Characteristic are the small musical units that repeat frequently, changing gradually or displacing each other with each repetition. With mechanical precision, fascinating rhythms and sounds arise. How does minimal music sound composed today, forty years after the first experiments with this technique?

In space
When we perform music, we always do so in space, large or small. The discovery of the parameter space for musical use goes far back in history and has its origins in the play of acoustics. How can the playing space act as an element of form in our music?

Variable form
Normally, music pieces have a definite, given form. It is a thought of the twentieth century to put the implementation of this form, the actual character of a piece, at our disposal. The interpretive player does not only determine values such as dynamics, tempo, or expression. He mediates the form of the piece, usually according to given rules, this first, and then that. How do such stipulations look after the player himself crafts the piece?

Without Measure
An especially interesting form of music notation is "space notation" in which the approximate length of a note amounts to the "graphic" distance between two notes. Exact values are not of interest. Neither are there triplets nor dotted sixteenth notes neither heavy nor light beats organized by bar lines. This calls upon the imagination of the interpretive player, who should fill the rhythmic freedom with life. Often complex rhythms come to light that in a conventional notation would appear unplayable. How can we use this rhythmic freedom in our pieces? How can we realize it meaningfully in performance?

Between the rests
Rests are the fence in our musical garden. If there were no rests, music would be nothing more than rank vegetation, a mysterious forest of sound. Rests between notes draw borders between individual sounds and are thus just as important as the notes themselves even should no one see them as such. Rests possess unsuspected power and tension. What if rests become more important than actual notes? What if music is no longer made up of sound between rests, but of rests between a few lonely sounds?

Ernst Bartmann, Manuel de Roo and Josef Irgmaier

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Working title Title Number of parts Choric instrumentation Pitch ranges Register combinations * Percussion

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Ernst Bartmann
Unison Memoiren 2 no C4-Ab5 C4-Ab5

h-h; l-l yes
Canon Drei Semmeln 4 no C4-E5 Ab3-E5 G2-Eb5 B2-B3 h-m-l-l no
In harmony Netzwerk 4 yes F4-G5 C4-Db5 E4-G#5 G3-E5 h-h-h-m; m-l-l-l no
Dance Tangential-Tango 3 yes C4-Ab5 C4-Eb5 C3-F4
h-m-l yes
Zwiefacher (the double) (the double) Holzweg 3 yes D4-A5 B3-F#5 C2-Eb4
h-h-l yes
With text Zur Diskussion gestellt ... 4 yes C4-G#5 Bb3-F#5 G3-Eb5 C#2-D4 h-h-m-l no
Contrast Inhomogen 2 yes C#4-A5 C4-A5

h-h; l-l yes
Minimal Defekt 3 yes G4-F5 D4-D5 G2-F4
h-m-l no
In space Streugut 4 yes C4-G5 Bb3-E5 Ab3-E5 C2-F#4 h-h-m-l no
Variable form Casino 4 no C4-A5 C#4-Gb5 C#4-G5 indefinite h-h-h-h; l-l-l-l yes
Without measure Etwas taktlos ... 2 no G2-Db4 Bb3-E5

h-l no
Between the rests Bitte nicht stören! 3 yes F4-Bb5 Db4-E5 C4-C5
h-m-m; m-l-l yes

Manuel de Roo
Unison Portrait 1 3 yes G4-F#5 G3-G4 G2-G3
h-m-l no
Canon Why not 3 yes E4-C#6 B3-A#5 B2-C#4
h-h-l no
In harmony LF_x 4 yes F4-Ab5 D#4-A5 B3-F#5 D#4-F#5 h-h-h-h; m-m-m-m; l-l-l-l no
Dance SW_x 4 yes F#4-A5 E4-A5 E2-F#4 E2-A3 h-h-l-l no
Zwiefacher (the double) TS wie 4 yes A4-C6 A4-C6 A3-E5 A3-C4 h-h-h-l; h-h-m-l no
With text Innerlich 2 (od. 1) no C#4-C#5 E4 only

h-h; m-m; l-l no
Contrast Erinnerung 4 yes C4-C6 Ab3-B5 G2-Eb4 F2-B3 h-h-l-l no
Minimal Dreiliterauto 2 yes C#4-F#5 C#4-F5

h-h; m-m; l-l yes
In space Raummusik 3 no E4-B5 C#4-B5 C#4-G#5
h-h-h; m-m-m no
Variable form Eine Drei 3 no D4-A5 D4-A5 D4-A5
any no
Without measure Facing black 2 no C#4-Ab5 C#4-Ab5

h-h; m-m; l-l no
Between the rests Ohne Ohren hören 2 no B4-Ab5
(F version: E4-Db5)
(F version: A3-C5)

h-h; m-m; l-l no

Josef Irgmaier
Unison Kleines Concertino 4 yes, mit Soli C4-G5 C4-G5 C4-G5 C4-G5 h-h-h-h; m-m-m-m; l-l-l-l no
Canon Vom Himmel kommen 4 yes fifth fifth fifth fifth any yes
In harmony Lied, Melodie von N.N. 4 1: no;
2-4: yes
ad lib. C4-C5 C4-C5 C4-C5 1+ h-h-h; m-m-m yes
Dance Traumtanz 3 yes E4-D#6 C3-E4 E2-C3
h-m-l yes
Zwiefacher (the double) Im Nachklang 4 yes C4-B5 F3-G5 F3-Eb5 F3-A4 h-m-m-m; m-l-l-l yes
With text Ensemble 3 yes E4-C5 Eb4-G4 C4-D4
h-h-h; m-m-m no
Contrast Kippe 4 yes E4-A5 E4-B5 F4-C6 F4-Ab5 h-h-h-h; m-m-m-m; l-l-l-l no
Minimal Kanons Bruder 4 yes C5 F4-Bb4 G4-D5 C4-C5 h-h-h-h; m-m-m-m yes
In space Horch was kommt 2 yes Eb4-D5 Eb4-C5

h-h; m-m; l-l no
Variable form ... in den Sternen ad lib. yes ad lib. h-m-l no
Without measure Weihnachtswache 4 yes C#4-Eb5 A3-Db5 E3-Cb5 A0/A2-A4 h-h-m-l yes
Between the rests Was ist das für ein Lied? 2 yes C4-D5 F3-A4

h-m; m-l no

* h = high register; m = middle register; l = low register

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Level of Difficulty

Working title Title Level of difficulty

Rhythm Melody Ensemble playing

Ernst Bartmann
Unison Memoiren * * *
Canon Drei Semmeln ** * **
In harmony Netzwerk * * ***
Dance Tangential-Tango ** ** **
Zwiefacher (the double) Holzweg ** ** **
With text Zur Diskussion gestellt ... ** ** ***
Contrast Inhomogen * ** **
Minimal Defekt *** * ***
In space Streugut ** ** ***
Variable form Casino * ** ***
Without measure Etwas taktlos ... *** ** ***
Between the rests Bitte nicht stören! *** * ***

Manuel de Roo
Unison Portrait 1 ** *** **
Canon Why not * ** *
In harmony LF_x ** * **
Dance SW_x *** ** **
Zwiefacher (the double) TS wie * ** *
With text Innerlich ** ** *
Contrast Erinnerung ** *** **
Minimal Dreiliterauto *** * ***
In space Raummusik ** ** **
Variable form Eine Drei *** *** *
Without measure Facing black *** * ***
Between the rests Ohne Ohren hören ** * *

Josef Irgmaier
Unison Kleines Concertino ** *** ***
Canon Vom Himmel kommen ** * ***
In harmony Lied, Melodie von N.N. * * **
Dance Traumtanz ** ** **
Zwiefacher (the double) Im Nachklang ** * **
With text Ensemble ** * **
Contrast Kippe ** ** ***
Minimal Kanons Bruder *** (1: *) * **
In space Horch was kommt ** * **
Variable form ... in den Sternen ** ** **
Without measure Weihnachtswache ** ** ***
Between the rests Was ist das für ein Lied? ** * **

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Sheet Music Examples (pdf download)

Ernst Bartmann Manuel de Roo Josef Irgmaier
Drei Semmeln SW_x Kleines Concertino
Tangential-Tango Dreiliterauto Im Nachklang
Zur Diskussion gestellt... Raummusik Ensemble
Casino Eine Drei Kippe