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Owed to a Memory

Owed to a Memory

Ode [ohd]



a lyric poem typically of elaborate or irregular metrical form and expressive of exalted or enthusiastic emotion.


(originally) a poem intended to be sung.

Owed (past participle, past tense of Owe)



to have or bear (a feeling or attitude) toward someone or something:

Written in fall 2010, I used Owed to a Memory as a chance to reflect and capture my feelings on certain past events and experiences. A typical English ode was a lyrical verse written in praise of, or dedicated to someone or something which captures the poet's interest or serves as an inspiration for the ode. The title is a purposefully used homonym: this piece does owe it's character to particular memories, and I attempted to write a song-like melody with a smooth, vocal quality.

The piece is written in a basic ABA form, with the A sections based around quartal harmonies, and the B section harmonically centered on an octatonic collection. I also explored several methods of notation that gave the performer a good deal of freedom while interpreting the melody, hopefully informed with a good deal of their own memories.

Owed to a Memory was premiered by Michael Henson on October 21st, 2010 for the JCFA Composers Orchestra at Butler University.

Owed to a Memory