UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Passenger - for string quartet Santa Ana, Alfredo


Passenger is a multi-version musical composition of approximately 40 minutes in length scored for string quartet. The formal design of the piece involves reconfiguring its large-scale form each time it is performed. During any given performance the piece is an uninterrupted and continuous flow of music, but its distinct seven-segment structure allows a reordering of the music’s segments in a chosen sequence where each segment is played once, and only once, starting with a fixed opening segment. Once the order of the segments is selected each segment connects to the next through a series of overlapping transitions that present an unbroken listening experience. The total number of possible variations for Passenger is 720. Comparatively, each possible rendering of the piece offers a wide degree of change in order to demonstrate how impermanent large-scale form operates as a compositional technique. Its changing structure was created with the intention of promoting a variety of readings of the composition’s musical content by altering the chronological placement of large sections of music. Subsequent listening experiences will explore alternative pathways with which to cover familiar musical material and contribute to the music’s overall interpretation. The goal of this project is to rethink the role of form, and to use it as an agent of change capable of generating new and expressive methods of music making and listening.

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