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About 'Morf'

Composed by Ian Cleworth

This solo is essentially an exploration in sound and texture rather than rhythm, hearing how many different sounds that could be made by moving the bachi over different areas of the cow-skin’s surface, tuning the shimedaiko to an extremely high pitch and employing multiple-bounce effects.

View 'Attachment 1: 'Morf' composer notes for more information.

To print out the following activities and attachments, please select the 'Print this page' button at the bottom of this page.

Teaching materials

Instruments

Suitable instruments are:

  • maracas (and other shakers of various description)
  • suspended cymbals
  • congas
  • bongos
  • tom-toms
  • concert bass drums
  • tam-tams
  • guiro (and other scrapers of various description).

Instruments with sharp attacks such as snare drums (with snares on) and woodblocks are not so appropriate. An assortment of soft beaters, wire brushes and hands/fingers for drums is recommended. Instruments can be duplicated, although it will work best if players like instruments are not seated next to each other.

Syllabus outcomes

Outcomes
Description
4.4

demonstrates an understanding of musical concepts through exploring, experimenting, improvising, organising, arranging and composing

5.4

demonstrates an understanding of the musical concepts through improvising, arranging and composing in the styles or genres of music selected for study

4.7

demonstrates an understanding of musical concepts through listening, observing, responding, discriminating, analysing, discussing and recording musical ideas

5.7

demonstrates an understanding of musical concepts through the analysis, comparison, and critical discussion of music from different stylistic, social, cultural and historical contexts

4.8

demonstrates an understanding of musical concepts through aural identification and discussion of the features of a range of repertoire

5.8

demonstrates an understanding of musical concepts through aural identification, discrimination, memorisation and notation in the music selected for study

4.11

demonstrates an appreciation, tolerance and respect for the aesthetic value of music as an artform

5.11

demonstrates an appreciation, tolerance and respect for the aesthetic value of music as an artform

4.12

demonstrates a developing confidence and willingness to engage in performing, composing and listening experiences

5.12

demonstrates a developing confidence and willingness to engage in performing, composing and listening experiences

Music 1 P3

improvises and creates melodies, harmonies and rhythmic accompaniments for familiar sound sources reflecting the cultural and historical contexts studied

Music 1 P4

recognises and identifies the concepts of music and discusses their use in a variety of musical styles

Music 1 P6

observes and discusses concepts of music in works representative of the topics studied

Music 1 P10

demonstrates a willingness to participate in performance, composition, musicology and aural activities

Music 1 H3

improvises and composes music using the range of concepts for familiar sound sources reflecting the cultural and historical contexts studied

Music 1 H10

demonstrates a willingness to participate in performance, composition, musicology and aural activities

Music 2 P3

composes, improvises and analyses melodies and accompaniments for familiar sound sources in solo and/or small ensembles

Music 2 P4

creates, improvises and notates music which is representative of the mandatory and additional topics and demonstrates different social, cultural and historical contexts

Music 2 P5

analyses and discusses compositional processes with stylistic, historical, cultural and musical considerations

Music 2 H4

stylistically creates, improvises, arranges and notates music which is representative of the mandatory and additional topics and demonstrates different social, cultural and historical contexts

Music 2 H5

demonstrates a developing confidence and willingness to engage in performing, composing and listening experiences

Activities

Activity 1

Learning intention

Students observe changes in rhythm and/or texture.

Success criteria

Students make an action when they identify a change within the musical texture.

Syllabus outcomes

  • 4.7, 4.8
  • 5.7, 5.8
  • Music 1: P4, P6, P10, H10
  • Music 2: P3, P5, H5

Resources

Listening activity

Watch the complete performance of Morf (21:30 – 28:42)

  • Observe the ‘morphing’ process and students make an action when they hear a change in the rhythm and/or texture

Activity 2

Learning intention

Students improvise using Taikoz rules regarding structure and tone colour.

Success criteria

Students take part in an improvised performance, each student following specific rules to create a morphing of structure.

Syllabus outcomes

  • 4.4, 4.11, 4.12
  • 5.4, 5.11, 5.12
  • Music 1: P3, H3
  • Music 2: P4, H4

Resources

Playing activity

Students compose a piece of music in real time based on the concept behind Morf – i.e. ‘morphing’ one sound/texture into another

  1. At least 10 students take a  small percussion instrument and sit in a circle
  2. Choose a player to begin the piece – we’ll call this player Player 1
  3. Player 1 makes a sound/texture/short rhythm
  4. Keep all sound/texture/short rhythms to a general pp to mf, with only occasional f dynamics
  5. Player 1’s sound/texture/short rhythm is played back (imitated) by the person sitting next to them (Player 2), but with one musical change made (i.e. improvised) by that player (see score for examples)
  6. It is important that each player’s musical contribution is related to the previous player’s by changing only one or (at most) two elements; e.g. a dynamic, adding or subtracting a sound, slightly changing the rhythm or tempo etc.
  7. Player 1 keeps playing their sound/texture/short rhythm as Player 2 enters
  8. Player 2’s sound/texture/short rhythm is played back (imitated) by the person sitting next to them (Player 3), again with one or two changes made by the player
  9. Players 1 & 2 keep playing their sound/texture/short rhythm as Player 3 enters
  10. Player 3’s sound/texture/short rhythm is played back (imitated) by the person sitting next to them (Player 4), again with one or two changes made by the player
  11. Players 2 & 3 keep playing their sound/texture/short rhythm as Player 4 enters
  12. Player 1 fades out, so there only 3 players playing at one time (Players 2-4)
  13. Player 4’s sound/texture/short rhythm is played back (imitated) by the person sitting next to them (Player 5), again with one or two changes made by the player
  14. Players 3 & 4 keep playing their sound/texture/short rhythm as Player 5 enters
  15. Player 2 fades out (so there only 3 players playing at one time: Players 3-5)
  16. Keep moving around the circle for as many cycles or two changes – essentially, until all ideas have been exhausted
  17. The musical idea behind the piece is that the sound produced at the beginning by Player 1 is gradually transformed (‘morphed’) upon each player’s entry by the changing of one or two musical elements of the previous player’s musical material
  18. Remember that it is an exercise in listening with mindful attention to the musical concept (transforming sound)
  19. See score for musical examples

Attachments

Attachment 1: 'Morf' composer notes

How and why I composed Morf

Composed by Ian Cleworth

Surprisingly, this solo for the taiko called shimedaiko is essentially an exploration in sound and texture rather than rhythm per se. I composed Morf after spending many hours seeing how many different sounds I could make by moving my bachi over different areas of the cow-skin’s surface. I also deliberately tuned the shimedaiko to an extremely high pitch to give a very fast and precise rebound of the bachi. By employing multiple-bounce effects, I was intrigued to discover I could produce many finely nuanced sounds, which ultimately helped shape the work. As I had only recently recovered from spinal surgery, I found this a gentle, relaxing, and somewhat meditative approach to finding my way back into playing taiko.

The title is a reference to the piece’s structure: slowly moving sounds/textures gradually ‘morphing’, one into another. As to the spelling? That’s just pure contrariness!

Attachment 2: "Musical Morphing" score

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