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Sheet Music: Score

Riffraction : for clarinet, string quartet and piano / Mark Grandison.

by Mark Grandison (2007)

  • Purchase Price: $57.27 (Usually ships in 3-8 business days) — Add to Cart
  • Library Availability: 785.2416/GRA 1 — Available for loan
  • Instrumentation: Clarinet in B flat, 2 violins, viola, cello, piano.
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  • Audio Sample

    Performance by Sydney Symphony Fellows from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 50.


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Riffraction is a pun: the work is based on riffs with pop/funk-inspired rhythmic inflections; these riffs are progressively distorted by processes analogous to the way light is refracted when it travels through a medium of differing densities, like glass or water; and all this leads to plenty of musical action. In spirit, Riffraction is a scherzo, though one who's form and temperament is twice interrupted. Three brisk riff-based sections are separated by two hovering interludes, darker in character and offering temporary respite from the otherwise manic surface energy.

The clarinet is often featured as a virtuoso soloist, with the piano and string quartet at times purely accompanimental, as though converging into a multi-limbed single instrument. At other times all six instruments are equal partners in polyrhythmic and contrapuntal textures.

A driving factor in composing this piece was squeezing more out of less - for example, with the exception of parts of the interludes, the work is based on the same scale throughout. And often one riff will have derived from an earlier one, rather than presenting entirely new material. For each section, the incessant repetition and gradual metamorphosis of each riff offers a kaleidoscopic viewing of a persistent musical object, fundamentally the same and yet apparently ever different.

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (47p. -- B4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 14 mins, 30 sec.

First performance by Sydney Omega Ensemble — 17 Aug 07. Alexander Hall, Kambala School, Rose Bay, Sydney

Includes program note.

Revised and re-titled in 2011
Originally titled Riffs and interludes.

Revised in 2011

Also exists in expanded version for: Flute, clarinet, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, piano.

Typeset edition.

This edition produced Sep 16.

ISMN: 9790900974846

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