Modal Sketches (2000)

Modal Sketches for flute, guitar and marimba

When I was in sophomore theory my professor spent some time discussing modality, shrugging of the theoritical locrian mode as essentially worthless because (to paraphrase) you can't write a piece that has a dimished 5th between the root and the 5th scale degree. Wow. That's a challenge if I ever heard one! The idea bounced around for a decade or so before I ended up penning this work, the first (of many, I hope!) for my lovely wife Tess. Each movement - dorian, phrygian, lydian and locrian - is a self-contained little tune, mysteriously subtitled to play upon the quasi-programmatic nature. I had never written for classical guitar before, and was a little daunted by the technical challenges of making it work; nevertheless, with the help of Tyson Friar (who performed the premiere) I managed to get down what I wanted, with the caveat that the marimba tends to drown out a truly "classical" instrument with gut or nylon strings. I recommend in the notes that a steel-string guitar would speak much more evenly in the ensemble.

(Available from the composer)