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Extraneous III : for string quartet

by Peter McNamara (2011)

Work Overview

Extraneous III is a string quartet that is associated with two previous string quartets (Extraneous and Extraneous II). These can be performed separately or together, and each explores the concept of extreme contrast on some level as the work's title suggests.

'Explosions' of rapid and dense material contrasted by quartertonal melodic lines that obsessively concentrate on one or two pitches is the predominant musical idea in this work. These melodic lines gradually introduce pitches of five chords based on the harmonic series of the open strings of each instrument (C, G, D, A and E). These chords are most evident during the homophonic textures that are introduced later in the work. These homophonic textures are very rhythmically regular, but the majority of the work is very free rhythmically with each instrument playing independently and no audible pulse.

The first half of Extraneous III is predominantly organised to introduce the pitch material of each chord. The second half of the work meanwhile contains most of the development of the material where the gestures are 'broken-up', and the five spectral chords are redistributed and even mixed together with each other.

Work Details

Year: 2011

Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello.

Duration: 8 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Unmeasured sections and quartertones used


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