Composed in 2012, MEGADONT is a very interesting chamber music piece for baritone saxophones for the spectral use of sound and the spatial feel of the attacks

William Dougherty is a very young American composer based in New York whose music has been performed all over the world. Read more about the composer on his website.

Characteristics of the work

Babel Scores. 18 pages. Around 8 minutes long. Contemporary (experimental) music. MEDIUM-HIGH level.

Range (written): D#3 – A#5 (1st baritone) / D#3 – A#5 (2nd baritone) / D#3 – A#5 (3rd baritone)

Technical skills: Wide range of dynamics and timbres. Slaps. Altissimo register. Quarter-tone accidentals. Multiphonic sounds. Overtones. Glissandi. Intonation. Solid pulsation.

Performance skills: Sound coloring palette. Intensity.

Megadont is not a very hard piece, but it is quite demanding on the control of the breath (the work has very long phrases), dynamics (especially between pppp and p on the low/medium register), the altissimo register and multiphonics. The work contains some sound textures as multiphonics, glissandi and slaps, very related to certain styles of electronic music.

Watch the video:

Comment of the composer

Megadont for three baritone saxophones is a work centered on different textures of layered multiphonics, pitched slaps and imitative glissandi figures. The pitch content arises out of a blurred unison, that, in combination with overtone-based multiphonics eventually opens to a pure fifth – the 2nd and 3rd partials of an ‘imaginary’ unplayable low fundamental. This then expands even wider to the 10th, 11th, and 12th partials in the uppermost range of the instrument. The title, a zoological term, is used to describe animals with very large teeth.”

William Dougherty, 2017