Scrabble (for viola and piano) – COLIN McKELLAR

“Scrabble” – performed by Barbara Hornung (viola) and Danaë Killian (piano)

Program Note

The pitch materials for the piece “Scrabble” are sourced through the random picking of Scrabble letters. That is from the first seven letters of the Alphabet with the predominance of individual letter occurrences as they are in the game “Scrabble”. For instance, 12 E’s, 9A’s, 3G’s etc.

I’ve moderated the numbers a bit, and then designated some of each [except C] to have some accidentals, for example I ended up with 4E flats and 3E naturals.

From this collection the arbitrary putting out of letters or pitches was firstly; seven sets, with seven lots of seven letters. Next one set of fourteen lots of fourteen letters, and finally one set of twenty-one rows of twenty-one letters. Each set being able to be utilized Horizontally, Vertically, and diagonally, until each set of rows had been exhausted entirely.

This process created a three-movement work, with the single threads ie.7x7x7 being written in three/eight. The second movement of double threads is written in seven/four. Finally, the triple threads being written in nine/eight to create the third movement.

I have enjoyed the challenge of finding what I consider to be musical solutions to the juxtaposition of random and often dissonant pitch occurrences.