Farewell Valley

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The composition for my D.M.A. document is a one-movement work in five sections for flute, B flat clarinet, violin, and cello. The sections are divided into various instrumental combinations. Each section employs pitch, rhythm, dynamic, articulation, and timbre in contrasting ways. The title of this work was inspired by the Korean novel of Chul-woo Lim, the story of "comfort women." "Comfort women" were abducted by the Japanese military during World War II and held prisoner in "comfort stations." They were abused and forced into prostitution. In this novel, a woman who was one of the comfort women comes to a very small train station called "Byul-u-kok." She shows up at the station with a big bag and takes a train ticket everyday, but she never leaves the station, as if she is waiting for someone. In Korean, the name of the station means "farewell valley"; few people come and go there. Thus, this piece expresses the woman's sorrowful feelings through transformational development. The sections will derive from the development of a primary motive first presented in the cello at measure 1. The primary motive will undergo continual transformation until it has become a remote transformation of the original idea. The ordered pitch intervals of the primary motive are <+8, +6, +5, +2, -1>. These ordered pitch collection is transformed throughout the work. Each section transforms the original pitch collection in melodies throughout. The transformations of the original pitch collection are employed in vertical sonorities as well. Exceptions occur, but the vertical sonorities mainly preserve the intervals that form the primary motive, especially the subset containing intervals <+2, -1> and its inversions. Rhythmic contrast of the primary motive is created at the local level. For example, a contrast is heard between long sustained notes versus rapid 32nd-note figures. This rhythmic contrast is presented in all four instruments. In some cases, one rhythmic figure is paired in two instruments versus a contrasting rhythm paired in two other instruments. Dynamics and articulations are coordinated with rhythm. Fast rhythmic patterns employ crescendos to louder dynamics, with a few exceptions. Conversely, long durations employ a variety of dynamic shapes. Dynamics and articulations are contrapuntally employed. For example, one instrument may play a group of fast notes with jéte articulation while other instruments play a group of long notes in legato fashion. This technique is demonstrated in measure where cello plays a group of short notes with jéte bowing and the violin and the clarinet play legato articulations. As a result, a contrast is created between the two instruments. The woodwinds and the strings provide a timbre contrast. Instrumental effects highlight the different timbres. For example, the flute might employ flutter tonguing, while the violin employs tremolo. Although the effects are similar, one notices a timbre contrast. Consequently, the diverse contrasts in timbre are one of the most important components in this piece. As noted above, there are many contrasting features in pitch, rhythm, dynamic, articulation, and timbre. The primary motive is transformed consistently. Thus the primary motive arrives at a remote degree of change through a systematic and continual process of development.

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