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Automatic Music

Alto Saxophone and Piano

Duration: 13'

Commissioned by John Nichol


Automatic Music
Program Note

Automatic Music explores concepts belonging to the psychology of creativity. The title is adapted from the term "automatic writing," in which a person produces written words without consciously focusing on the act of writing. Each movement is my own musical interpretation of a certain aspect of creativity as I experience it during the process of composing.

I. Stream of Consciousness (3:15)

This movement features constant moving melodic lines that seem to wander around aimlessly before settling into an established pattern. The music will develop this new pattern through repetition and variation before wandering around again in search of a new seed of creativity.

II. With an Absent Mind (5:00)

Most of the music in this movement is very calm and placid, slowly shifting through a variety of harmonic areas via a Chopin-style piano accompaniment, but never fully establishing itself before continuing to move on.

III. Outer Dialogue (4:45)

The title of the final movement uses a play-on-words of the phrase "inner monologue." The music features extended sections of conversational back-and-forth between the saxophone and the piano.

World Premiere Performance (movements 2-3)

John Nichol, alto saxophone

Mary Jo Cox, piano

Staples Family Concert Hall, Central Michigan University

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