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Program note: Colin Brumby's "Mantra for solo flute"

  • program note by the composer

A "mantra" is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as "a special word or phrase repeated as an aid to concentration in Hindu or Buddhist meditation, yoga, etc." The "special word", in the case of my Mantra for Solo Flute, is the group of three notes (F sharp-C-B), with which the piece begins.

With its downward leap of an augmented 4th, followed by an upward leap of a major 7th, this motive (together with the inversions of a diminshed 5th and a minor 2nd) provides the material for the remainder of the piece. It is because of the concentration entirely on these few intervals that I decided to call the piece "Mantra".

By way of development I have used a technique know as "motivic development", in which each successive phrase is formed by continuously varying the original motive.

The piece falls into three distinct sections (or strophe): the first is from the beginning to letter B; the second is from letter B to letter C; the third is from letter C to the end. These three sections define the "form"of the piece, which could referred to overall as "strophic variation".

Bar lines have dispensed with to enable the piece to be played with the utmost rhythmic freedom. The phrase-endings (or cadence-points) are indicated by pauses, and the music should be allowed to flow easily in performance from one cadence-point to the next.

The composer's intention is that, in performance, the player should try to make the music sound as spontaneous as posssible...as if he or she were improvising on the opening motive.


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