Episode 24: Contact Organum

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Episode 24: Contact Organum

May 19, 2022

Contact Organum (2017)

Martin Arnold (CA), composer

Tyler Cunningham, percussion


Programme Notes:

I’ve used the words “contact” and “organum” in the titles of pieces before and in some ways Contact Organum distils a lot of the concerns that motivated those pieces. In this context “contact” is lifted from Karlheinz Stockhausen’s piece Kontakte for piano, percussion and tape.  Kontakte explores contacts – connections – between noise and pitch and, without any of Stockhausen’s rigour, so does my piece, at least a bit anyway. Contact Organum doesn’t so much explore these contacts as embrace them as melody and harmony. Contact Organum is largely a piece of 2 or 3 or 4-part organum: a melody coloured harmonically and texturally by lines created around loose sets of rules (“organum”: Latin for “tool”; a tool to “organize”—also the name for the earliest European music notated that involves some kind of harmony). Despite the lack of independence of the different lines, I think of this piece as being polyphonic; or, at least, I think of it as being horizontal not vertical. Thanks to David Schotzko for commissioning the piece (with help from the Ontario Arts Council)! – Martin Arnold

Episode 24: Contact Organum

production sponsors

Dr. Peter Burns

The Mary-Margaret Webb Foundation

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