On the Tip of my Tongue (1993)

for bass clarinet, synthesizer
By Eric Moe
On the Tip of My Tongue was written for bass clarinetist Tim Smith, whose playing I have found profoundly inspiring over the years. The synthesizer part makes economical use of one kind of digital sound generation (FM synthesis) to evoke real-world sounds rather than reproduce them. On the Tip of My Tongue is a set of four studies, each of which dynamically explores one type of partnership between bass clarinet and synthesizer.? A common language or shared vocabulary often proves to be elusive, hence the title. The last movement is perhaps the most extreme example:? an inflexible, timbrally monochromatic, rigorously constructed and notated synth part is met by an almost totally free and improvised commentary from the bass clarinet.? This piece pays obvious homage, in rhythmic feel and timbre, to West African drumming.

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Other works by Eric Moe:
“A gentleman brought music to his lady's window, who hated him,...and when he persisted, she threw stones at him. Whereupon a friend of his that was within his company, said to him; "What greater honour can you have to your music, than that stones come about you, as they did to Orpheus."”
--Francis Bacon