How Many Times

How Many Times (2017) by Holger Schoorl

[world premiere; written for the Array Ensemble with support from the Ontario Arts Council]

Stephen Clarke – piano
Colleen Cook – clarinets
Sheila Jaffé – violin
Lydia Munchinsky – cello
Rick Sacks – percussion
David Schotzko – vibraphone
Martin Arnold – conductor

The form of How Many Times is inspired by loop music. A three-minute melody is repeated five times, every time it’s repeated an additional melody is added. In this way the music gets busier as the piece progresses. The pitches and durations of the loop do not vary but the material is varied by distributing it around the ensemble.

This form came out of observing that loop pedal users tended to use very short loops.  “Why not long loops?” I wondered, and I have written a few pieces developing answers to that question.

There is a melody in the piece I wrote a long time ago while bouncing one of my kids to sleep.  While bouncing I tapped her on the rear end and sang:

How many times (how many times)
How many times,
How many times can I hit your butt (how many times)
How many times (how many times)
How many times,
How many times can I hit your butt.

This has been a popular melody in the house for many years. – Holger Schoorl, 201

Holger Schoorl has been making music in Toronto since 2007 when he moved here to pursue graduate studies in composition at York University. Since then he has been writing music for chamber ensembles, performing as a free improvisor and sometime singer songwriter.

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