De-quinin’ for two clarinets

Thie piece was written for Maiko Sasaki in 2006. Of the two clarinets, one must be tuned flat by 33¢. Composing this piece, I pondered how to make interested uses of the intervals of 36-equal when only 24 of them were available. Listening to this piece, one can evaluate to what extent it is possible to precisely detune a clarinet by that amount, given that the tuning of the clarinet is not actually 12-equal.

Whenever composing for two instruments of similar timbre, my temptation to treat them like one single über-instrument is strong. Many passages in De-quinin’ are one- or two-part textures in which a contiguous line is formed by alternation between clarinets. The final section’s speedy hockets are tricky to do in live performance, and if done successfully will begin to sound like a third instrument, not clarinet at all.

The title for this piece came from a 20-consonant poem I composed:

zap!  be a vat of mayo,
ajar. whack!
de-quinin' ex-glass.

“De-quinin'” refers to the quine, in computer programming, a program which produces its own source code as an output.

The score to De-quinin’ looks like this. The audio to one clarinet part is available here.