Ceteris Paribus

for trumpet and computer

Composed: 2007
Duration: 10'40"

Program Notes

Economists use the phrase "ceteris paribus" frequently. It means "all other things being equal," and they use it when they ignore certain aspects of a situation they study, to focus on the particular causal relationships in which they are interested. I was struck by the sound and meaning of the phrase and decided to compose a piece for trumpet in which each section would explore a specific change while holding other variables constant. The piece is quite systematic in its development, and is patterned on multiple levels by the concept of "all other things being equal." The computer serves to focus attention on the concept as it also uses great economy of means – essentially nothing but variations on the technique of granular processing – and adds enormous complexity to the music without actually bringing anything new to the table. In the same way that the written music for the trumpet results from straightforward compositional processing of germinal materials, the accompanying sound from the speakers is entirely derived from the live performer in real time: all other things being equal, that input causes the sounding output.

Score and Recording

Click the PDF icon below for a viewable score in PDF format. For a printable score and other performance materials, including the necessary software, please contact me.

Link to PDF of score