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Sheet Music: Score

Hum / music by Andrew Harrison ; text by Jamaal May.

by Andrew Harrison (2016)

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    This sheet music is also available to purchase as a PDF download
  • Library Availability: 783.9654/HAR 2 — Available for loan
  • Instrumentation: Bb clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), tenor saxophone (doubling soprano saxophone), percussion (2 players), piano, violin, cello, speaker.
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  • Audio Sample

    Performance by New Music Detroit, Jamaal May, Michelle Merrill from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 122.


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Hum eventuated after a long period of collaboration between Detroit-based poet, Jamaal May, and me. Our creative relationship dated back to 2007-nine years before the premiere of Hum-when May and I first discussed the prospect of working on a piece together. During this time, our collaborative ideas went through numerous iterations, before settling on a framework that became the basis of this work, composed for New Music Detroit.

Hum revolves around five of May's poems that re-evaluate the oft-played narrative of the economic and social decline of Detroit, and its precarious future. Drawing upon the notion of 'interiority' afforded by his insider status as a Motown resident, May instead promotes the city as a place of hope, depth and soul. From a musical standpoint, the work's understated connection to the Baroque concerto grosso emerges in the piece's introduction, which features the ensemble playing together in a quasi-concertino style. Later, as the work unfolds, four musical episodes highlighting the instrumentalists in various duo settings, punctuate the arrival of each poem.

As with much of my work, Hum bears the influence of jazz and improvisation; these musical elements are deeply rooted within my creative processes. In this case, my jazz references serve as a musical metaphor for the Motor City's fluid and shifting evolution. This idea has resonance with others familiar with the city; Ian Ding, New Music Detroit's artistic director, stated that "openness...and [a] freely improvised spirit is how I see Detroit, especially in its recent history."

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (165p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 27 min.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Khalid El-Hakim
Commission info: Commissioned in 2016 by New Music Detroit for 'Strange Beautiful Music IX'

First performance by New Music Detroit, Jamaal May, Michelle Merrill — 17 Sep 16. 'Strange Beautiful Music IX', Wasserman Projects, Eastern Market, Detroit, Michigan, USA

Includes composer notes and full text.

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Music with poetry, chamber music, Detroit, improvisatory music

Typeset edition.

This edition produced 17 Sep 19.

ISMN: 979-0-67311-713-6

Related products

This work is also available in the following products:

Parts: Hum / music by Andrew Harrison ; text by Jamaal May.

Score [ePDF]: Hum : [eScore] / music by Andrew Harrison ; text by Jamaal May.

Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 122.
CD: Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 122.


- Browse other works for Spoken voice with chamber ensemble

- Browse other works by Andrew Harrison

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