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Scott McLaughlin - Composer

There are neither wholes nor parts

'In order to enroll a force we must conspire with it. It can never be punched out like sheet metal or poured as in a cast.'
- Bruno Latour, The Pastuerization of France (p.161)


neither wholes nor parts (NWNP for short) is an open score using mainly multiphonics. There are no pitches/fingerings/rhythms specified, the quasi-graphic notation describes specific contours and envelopes for which the player must find an appropriate multiphonic. Pitch and register are undefined* but are relative, dependent on hysteresis, pitch should be as similar as possible from event to event. However, the score is designed to force this to change, as the player must repeat events using different fingerings/dynamics/etc as the score describes, this will force changes. Time is similarly relative, as multiphonics vary greatly in their speed of attack, the first multiphonic played will define the relative speed of subsequent events. See below for more detailed legend.

Programme Note:

Multiphonics offer a level of resistance to instrumental homogenisation, and an escape route from the standardisation inherent in dominance of the orchestral school of instrumental technique. Each fingering is a set of attractors for acoustic energy that, when set in motion by air and vibration, align themselves into patterns that rarely conform to equal temperament, beautiful pools and cavities of beating frequency clusters. And multiphonics are personal, often unique to the instrument and performer playing them: the vocal cavity being an extension of the instrument, or vice versa.

Below is the performance instructions for the NWNP pieces.

score instructions for NWNP pieces

Versions: for audio see 2011 here

  • NWNP 1 (2010) & NWNP 1a (2011)
    • Written for Iain Harrison (saxophone). Performed at November Music (Holland), and University of Huddersfield. Released on CD There are neither wholes nor parts (Ergodos 2014).
  • NWNP 2 (2011)
  • NWNP 3 (2011)
    • Written for Duo Hevans (bass clarinet & tenor saxophone). Performed at North American Saxophone Alliance Conference, Arizona State University, USA, 15/03/12