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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: An exploration of Ian Clarke’s works for multiple flutes
Degree Type: Other
Degree Specialism: Musicology
Supervisor(s): Dr Philip Graydon
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: September 2012
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Dublin Institute of Technology
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1 (79pp.)
Thesis Location / Link: DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama Library
Abstract: Ian Clarke is one of Europe’s most versatile and innovative flautist-composers. Searching for new sounds he has enormously broadened the expressive potential of extended flute techniques and has made them a focal point of his nineteen published works for solo flute and flute with mixed media. His works have been performed at the annual conventions of the British Flute Society and at National Flute Association in the United States of America. His music is frequently performed as entry pieces for college associations, national and international competitions and currently serves as set pieces for Associated Board Royal School of Music flute syllabus.
Chapter one discusses aspects of the composer’s musical biography, before moving on to the musical influences that have shaped him; that is followed by a brief consideration of his compositional process and his general output. In Chapter two, the focus switches squarely onto Clarke’s flute music by examining the works he has written for multiple flutes (Walk Like This!, 2002…, 2003, and Zig Zag Zoo, 2009). Each of these ensemble pieces exploits the full potential of the flute sound world, as well as taking advantage of the techniques associated with the instrument. The inspiration and ideology behind each of the three works is discussed and further analysis covering aspects of tonality, style and form is given. Consequently, the main focus of Chapter three is an examination of the extended flute techniques employed in Clarke’s compositions for multiple flutes and how these techniques are treated. Furthermore, I have examined the benefits of using techniques on the overall flute playing.
Through research undertaken, greatly enhanced by a series of interviews with the composer and the director of Flutewise, Liz Goodwin, I have obtained some insight into the composer’s thoughts and approach to writing for multiple flutes, and how this has changed over time. It is hoped that this dissertation will act as a guide to understanding Ian Clarke’s compositions for multiple flutes and the associated merits of utilizing extended techniques in flute performance.

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