Three Oblong Studies
for oboe, Bb clarinet and tenor saxophone

Year: 2022

Length: 5 minutes

I. Maestoso
II. Ostinato
III. Voicing

written for The _____ Experiment

Program Notes

Three Oblong Studies is a set of short studies in the modest extension of a sound. To make something oblong is to slightly extend it out, like a circle becoming an oval, or a square becoming a rectangle. In each study, I took a single sound–a gesture in I. Maestoso, a chromatic run in II. Ostinato, and a two-note chord in III. Voicing–and attempted to slightly extend the life of these fleeting momentary effects.

I. Maestoso extends the life of the tenor saxophone’s gesture, from the low Bb, up to the high A (sounding: Ab2 to G5). This extreme registral shift is the inspiration of the writing for oboe and clarinet, as well as the textural effects created as an ensemble.

II. Ostinato is an extension of two opposing runs on the low end of the tenor saxophone, one that starts slow and then gradually accelerates, and the other one that starts and stays moderately fast. The constant shifting between the two temporalities helps lay the framework for a repetitive but constantly shifting rhythm between the oboe and clarinet.

III. Voicing is a personal look inward, to the simple two note chords of a major 7th and a major 6th. These two alternating dyads have always fascinated me, and I often gravitate towards this sound, both harmonically and melodically. The opening gesture in the tenor saxophone in movement I (Ab2 to G5) is what prompted me to re-explore these intervals and some of its possibilities for a wind trio instrumentation.

Shi-An Costello is a BMI composer. All rights reserved. 

© 2022

Premiere Date: Friday, March 18 at Narloch Piano Studio. The _____ Experiment (The Blank Experiment).