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Augusta Read Thomas

Publisher: G. Schirmer

Scat (original instrumentation) (2007)
G Schirmer Inc
Works for 2-6 Players
Sub Category
Mixed Ensemble
Year Composed
9 Minutes
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Programme Note
Augusta Read Thomas Scat (original instrumentation) (2007)
Related works:
   Scat (original instrumentation)
   Scat (revised instrumentation)

Composer note:
The title SCAT refers to the improvised singing style of jazz music in which the voice is used as an instrument. Scat singing is the technique of vocalizing either wordlessly or with gibberish words and syllables as employed by jazz singers who create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using only the voice. The free invention of melodies and syllables in, or as, soloistic passages is what truly distinguishes the scat singing technique.

All bowings are only suggestions to the string trio and can be changed freely.

All pizz. are l.v. molto

A piano can be substituted for the harpsichord, in which case, the piano player must make careful decisions about when to use the pedal for resonance of a given sonority and when to play secco. The musical phrases are clear and should make such decisions apparent.

— Augusta Read Thomas

Sample Pages

  • Ensemble
    Walden Chamber Players
Thomas, a longtime admirer of jazz, wrote Scat as an inversion of the stylistic technique in which jazz singers (Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan and Bobby McFerrin, among many others) imitate instruments either wordlessly or with random syllables and nonsense words. Her combination of oboe (or flute), violin, viola, cello and piano (or harpsichord) employs some gestures and elements typical of jazz, but comes across as a free-form, propulsive chamber work infused with tightly-coiled energy. The Walden performers successfully captured the improvisational spirit of the eight-minute work. Thomas has created a fascinating piece that honors the jazz tradition while avoiding imitative "crossover" techniques. Scat is well worth additional hearings.
Clarence Fanto, The Berkshire Eagle,14/11/2007
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