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Zeitoun: two versions for (1) voice and stones and (2) flute

Bateman, Ralph (2010) Zeitoun: two versions for (1) voice and stones and (2) flute. [Composition]

Item Type: Composition
Creators: Bateman, Ralph

Zeitoun for Voice was first performed by Anna Myatt of the ensemble Black Hair in York in March 2009. Zeitoun for Flute was first performed by Margret Schall in Ludwigsburg in November 2011. The melodic line is strongly influenced by aspects of Middle Eastern, particularly Arabic, vocal music. Meditatively repeating small motives with slight variations is common in both sacred and secular vocal music of the region; the opening rising perfect 5th is the main motive of the Adhan (although not with the augmented 4th used here). Bar 28’s passionate outburst with microtonal inflexions is another feature of some vocal music of the eastern Mediterranean.

A semiotic analysis of the work would observe the dismemberment of the word ‘Zeitoun’ which only appears complete at the very end of the work, and the use of stones and their arid sound in a piece responding to the destruction of buildings and people. Even the three stone sounds become separated at the end. Bar 28’s passionate outburst and subsequent descent can be seen as a stylised version of keening.

Zeitoun also exists in a version for solo flute or alto flute. The contrasting sonorities and techniques necessitated some radical changes. In the lowest register of the flute, microtones are very hard to obtain while fluttertonguing, and so here are avoided. It is impossible to keyclick while playing other notes, so more rests are needed to separate what were the stone sounds from what was the singing. The high register of the flute does not have the intensity of a human voice at that pitch; on the flute such intensity is gained by virtuosity. Tongue rams are also used in this section. Flute multiphonics vary considerably from instrument to instrument and from player to player, so here only general guidelines are given. Although the work uses many extended techniques, it is intended to be generally playable rather than the preserve of a few exceptional flautists.

Date: 2010
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
School/Department: School of the Arts
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/395

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