Improving the practice and performance of contemporary music


text written spring 2014 by Tom De Cock and Vincent Caers

General information

  • vibraphone solo
  • duration 13'30"
  • commisioned by de Academia Musicale Chigiana di Siena; dedicated to Maurizio Ben Omar
  • first performance in 1985 by Maurizio Ben Omar
  • published by Ricordi, Milan, n° 134043

Omar has two parts, each of which are numbered with a Roman numeral. The purpose is to maintain the initial material, but to transform it through the piece by using panels and filters. Panels, marked by tempo-changes, conceive the inner structure of each part. Every tempo change puts a new light on the initial material, like looking at it from a different angle. Most of the works of Donatoni's Joyous Period (after ‘77) have this two-part form. The development of the material in the panels itself happens through codes. The two parts stand quite autonomously from each other, each having a very clear ending. The score is in traditional music notation, but lacks bar lines completely. It is printed as a handwritten score, with alterations occasionally marked above the notes instead of in front of the note.

Part I
Part II

Edited practice scores

The original scores are a good presentation from a compositional point of view. They show the result of putting the process in the background of the composition and having an organic feel at the surface. But when preparing for performance, the scores are less practical because of the handwritten style - which is often difficult to read - and the absence of timing indications (bars and meters) while having very detailed rhythmic notation. The results of the analysis have been used to create practice scores, providing different approaches to practice for a performance. In combination with different click track files, the practice process can be much more efficient compared to using the original score.

For Omar, two different re-edits originated:

  • The 'groove' re-edit emphasizes the groove and overall timing of the playing by scoring the music in accordance to as much regular meters as possible. When necessary irregular meters are used to complete the phrases. This results in a score with regular meters but more complex rhythms.
  • The 'phrase' re-edit emphasizes the phrasings. It starts a new measure for each new cell, having the first note of each cell on a new first beat. This results in a score with mostly irregular meters but a clear view on the rhythmical structure of each phrase.
re-edit examples