echi dromi

posted on July 29th 2014 in with 0 Comments

Instrumentation: Flute, Dumbek

Duration: 9 minutes

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Commissioned by Linda Witherell

Publisher: Bachovich Music Publications

This piece was written for Linda Witherell (original flute soloist of the Ensemble Intercontemporain) for a concert in 2001, where she premiered my flute solo.  The title is taken from the earliest Byzantine musical notation.  “Echi”, meaning “sounds”, was used to describe rhythms and “dromi”, meaning “ways”, was used for melodic figures.  Generally homophonic, complexity in melody marked by subtle and intricate ornaments and nuances, distinguishes Middle Eastern music.  Melodies are based on the Maqam-melodic modes with specific notes of emphasis and a typical pattern of melodic movement.  This is best shown in the solo non-metric improvisatory genres known as Taqasim.  Here the flute is used to display this style juxtaposed against the metrical rhythms of the Iqa’at-modes of rhythms, consisting of rests and beats distinguished by timbre.  I chose to develop the rhythms on the dumbek by using an extreme working out of traditional concepts and applied motion with the western use of strict metric modulations.  The flute is given a certain amount of improvisatory freedom of melodic patterns with occasional fragments of strict rhythmic unisons.  The “breathy” tone combined with intermittent humming is meant to imitate the expressive quality of the end blown Turkish Nay.