THE OLD DECLARN

PIANO & ELECTRIC GUITAR · 2017


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Twelve variations of the traditional folk song In The Old Declarn are layered atop one another to create a work in which time exists in stasis. Sounds of old are distorted and rearranged to create new meaning in this bold, geometric arrangement that reflects upon human migration.

The variations of the song were transcribed from Cecil J. Sharpʼs English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, Vol 2. The music this book contained had crossed continents, in the hearts of people undertaking voyages of the utmost profundity, an image which resonated with the ideals instilled within the works that Elms was creating at the time, collated in the album Islandia.

The many variations of the song displayed clear changes to lyrical content, structure, phrasing and mode, all derived from differences in geographical location and the steady progress of time — a musical evolution. The notion of displacement and time causing musical works to evolve into something new prompted Elms to present this traditional music in a new way, though new compositional methods and with new instrumentation. It was an idea that would later influence Elmsʼ work Bethia.

The third of five works, collated in the album Islandia, which were first sketched during Elms’ stay at the former home of Imogen Holst, Aldeburgh.

Electric Guitar

with on-stage amplifier · reverb and delay signal processors · volume pedal

Piano DURATION: c.5 MINUTES
PUBLISHED BY MUSIC SALES
ALDEBURGH, NOV 2015 (First Sketch)