Joan Arnau Pàmies

Details of 18

Contact the composer to acquire it (joanarnaupamies@me.com) 1 page. Duration: 7:20. Tape. Contemporary Music.

Level: EASY. Range (written): Db3 – C5

Technical elements: Timbres research. Dynamics in PPP. Circular breathing (optional). Intonation. Tempo indication in seconds.

Performance: Colour changes. Sound integration between the instrument and the electronic part. Creativity (the composer allows to add sound elements –keys sounds, aeolic sounds, bisbigliandi, etc.– to the notes while playing)

Joan Arnau Pàmies

JOAN ARNAU PÀMIES is a composer whose music has been performed in festivals including MATA, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Mixtur, Ostrava New Music Days, XXXVI Foro Internacional de Música Nueva Manuel Enríquez, and Darmstadt Ferienkurse. Pàmies has collaborated with Fonema Consort, Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Recherche, Loadbang, the Arditti and JACK Quartets, BCN 216, and other new music specialists.

In 2016, Pàmies completed a doctoral dissertation on new music and neoliberalism at Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois). Joan Arnau Pàmies has given lectures and presentations on his music and research at the University of Nottingham, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, University of London, Columbia University, and Northwestern University.

Read more about the composer, here

I wrote 18 in 2009, during my junior year of college at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts. 18 is the number of written pitches for the saxophone part. I remember that I prioritized a space of relative simplicity, outside of the music that I usually make, so that performers could use these materials as a means for improvisation. The piece was written from a pedagogical perspective, for beginner baritone saxophone students.

Joan Arnau Pàmies, 2018

Listen to this work from my new disc MADE IN BCN:

Comment on 18

In my opinion, 18 is a very interesting pedagogic work for three reasons.

First, it is a very good introduction to the study and practice of the repertoire with electronics. In this case you only need an audio player, a microphone and a sound table or external target to play it. You don’t need any special patch or program because the audio part is fixed. Due to its low difficult technical level, this work is a very good introduction to this style of music and it can also be useful in the skills of the saxophone amplification (looking for a good equalization, the most appropriate reverb, etc.) and finding a good balance with the audio.

Next, 18 is a good work of introduction to the baritone saxophone in order to work on basic technical skills as the quality of the sound, the intonation, the breathing and the embouchure. The work has to be played strictly in PP so it should be very important to acquire a good sound in this dynamic (based on the solidity of the air column and the stability of the embouchure), a good response in the low register and the control of the intonation, especially in the middle and treble registers. For more advanced students, this piece could also be a good opportunity to practice the circular breathing (it is optional) since the durations of the notes are free.

Finally, the third reason (very important for me) is the improvement of creativity. A priori, to play eighteen long notes in PP could almost be a boring exercise but you can seek to change the color of sounds using contemporary music elements such as flatterzunge, bisbigliandi, oscillations and vibrato, aeolian sounds, etc.

18 is a nice concert piece because of its particular atmosphere, almost meditative. I like to put it in the middle of the programme of some of my contemporary music concerts with electronics as a break, but it could also work in any other moment (e.g. I put it to closing my album Made in BCN).

I premiered 18 at the new music festival Sincrònic in Lleida in October 2009, a few weeks after having received the score. I later played it in some concerts. I like to work this piece with my students because of the reasons I explained above.

If you want to know more about 18, don’t hesitate to contact me.