Mat Campbell Music

Composer. Arranger. Conductor. Percussionist. Educator.

Quasi un Scherzo


Quasi un Scherzo is my first 12-tone piece. While in my first composition lesson, Dr. Joe W. Moore III told me certain large pieces I had to write that semester. One of them was a piano solo with my favorite four notes, an atonal or 12-tone woodwind quintet, a brass quintet, and a piece for the 2015 Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest. When I got to the 12-tone piece, I was somewhat intimidated. To overcome my intimidation, I decided to write something inventive and annoying rhythmic. I added the word 'scherzo' to the title, because that means I can do whatever I want...right? 

"scher•zo /ˈskertsō/: a vigorous, light, or playful composition, typically comprising a movement in a symphony or sonata."

Okay... maybe not. But I did want it to be light and playful, as most of my earlier compositions are. So I started my tone row and away I went, writing. Note that this was probably the first full piece I had written on paper without hearing anything but the tone row. The piece took me about three days to write. The music is in a complicated meter, and some of the rhythms can be pretty mean when put into context. I'm not even sure if the music is playable, but I chose to expand my writing difficulty because I was tired of writing easy music. 

In the two semesters that I took applied composition with Dr. Moore, I learned how to write more effectively. I really enjoyed the lessons with him, especially because he helped me become the composer I am today. Granted, I will probably change throughout the rest of my life. He, however, is the one that helped me refine my voice without telling me what to do. I'd like to thank him for telling me what to write and seeing where I go with it.

Instrumentation: flute, oboe, B-flat clarinet, horn, bassoon