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Practical mechanics : an ode to technological optimism, for chamber ensemble

by Chris Perren (2012)

Score Sample

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Audio Sample

From the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 39.

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Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 39.


This item is not commercially available from the Australian Music Centre. We regret that we cannot offer it for sale.


Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 39.

Library shelf no. CD 2513 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (1 more)  

Work Overview

Practical Mechanics is an ode to technological optimism, and playfully explores the belief that science can solve all human problems. The titles and text excerpts are taken from the tattered pages of vintage issues of Practical Mechanics Magazine, a home science and technology magazine published between 1933 and 1963.

The collision of hard scientific law with domestic human life, is reflected by the juxtaposition of mathematical and rule-based compositional approaches and the ineffably chaotic nature of human musical intuition. Practical Mechanics employs various rational and rule-based pattern-making techniques, including Schillingerian methods, list structures, additive and constructive techniques and others devised by the composer. This machine-like nature is especially prominent within the rhythm of the piece, and imbues the work with a complex yet controlled sense of mechanical determinacy. The harmony on the other hand is immediate and expressive, referring more to popular and folk music and reflecting the human needs central to the development and use of technology.

Work Details

Year: 2012

Instrumentation: Piano, 2 violins, viola, cello, percussion, guitar, synth, samples.

Duration: 25 min.

Difficulty: Medium — The difficulty lies less in individual parts, and more in executing the rhythms accurately as an ensemble.

Contents note: The great awakening -- Construction details of a novel and fascinating machine -- Hovercrat: transport of the future -- Photographing noise -- The shape of wings to come.

Commission note: Written as part of composition PhD program at UQ, under the supervision of Robert Davidson.

First performance: by Nonsemble — 7 Jun 13. The Box, West End, Brisbane

The composer notes for the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Post-minimalism, Post-rock, art-rock, chamber, minimalism


Performances of this work

7 Jun 13: The Box, West End, Brisbane. Featuring Nonsemble.

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