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Alvin Singleton

Be Natural

for three string instruments

any combination of three bowed string instruments (1974)
Durationminimum: approx. 8 minutes
PremiereAugust 5, 1974; Darmstadt Ferienkurse Für Neue Musik, Studiokonzert III (awarded the Kranichsteiner musikpreis by the city of Darmstadt, Germany); Gaby Schumacher and Ronald Crutcher, cello • Andreas Pflüger, bass
Technical requirementsThree scores are required for performance.
PublisherSchott Music

Media

Stephanie Griffin, viola; Meaghan Burke, cello; James Ilgenfritz, double bass

Program Note

Improvisation is at the core of Alvin Singleton’s gorgeous string trio Be Natural (1974), its title a pun on the B-natural note that is passed around throughout the piece but is always droning, a groaning river flowing underneath jittery textures... near the end, a ferocious duet for viola and cello gave way to a passage of music that was quiet, mellow, simply gorgeous. 

- Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times

Be Natural is a work for any three bowed stringed instruments. It brings into the Singleton list of works one featuring improvisation by the players. The score in essence calls for a game involving musical elements, none of which are in traditional notation. None, that is except for the pitch B natural a half step below middle C, which must be sounded and held by at least one musician throughout the piece. Additionally the rules of this game call for each player to perform the pictogrammed notational requirements indicated in 9 different “boxes,” calling for “loud” or “soft” “long” or “short” notes and passages to be improvised against the constantly-sounded B natural. Of course all 3 musicians sounding the B simultaneously for a long time, which happens at both beginning and ending of the piece, can also have a surprisingly psycho-musical effect on the listener. 

An early work by Singleton, it reflects an experimental trust in the musicality of the performing artists, much as choreographers when they set up situations that allow their dancers to come up with movements consistent with the spirit of their pieces. But the piece has met with consistent success since its world premiere in Darmstadt, Germany, where it won the 1974 Kranichsteiner musikpreis awarded annually by the city of Darmstadt. And in addition to this high praise, Singleton reports that the work has been performed by elementary school children and sounded wonderful—quite a feat for contemporary music! Needless to say, no two performances of Be Natural will ever be the same.

– Carman Moore

Purchase

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Types of Products

Full score and Solo Part (Digital)

Chamber Ensemble Score (Print)

Piano Reduction and solo parts (Digital)

Choral Score Set - 16 copies (Print)
Includes 8 copies of the soprano/alto part and 8 copies of the tenor/bass part.

Score and part (Digital)

Score and part (Print)

Conductor Score (Print)

Full Score/Violin Part (Print)

Full Score/Violin Part (Digital)

Piano reduction and solo part (Print)

Piano/Vocal Score (Print)

Piano/Vocal Score (Digital)

Video and instructions (Digital)

Study Score in Two Volumes (Print)

Score and Parts (Digital)
Score and part PDF files are delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

Soprano/Alto Part (Print)

Full Score (Digital)
A PDF file of the full score is delivered via email upon receipt.

Full Score (Print)
A print edition of the score ships to the customer's address upon receipt.

Tenor/Bass Part (Print)

Parts (Digital)
A PDF file of the part(s) is delivered via email upon receipt.

Parts (Print)
A print edition of the part(s) ship to the customer's address upon receipt.

Solo Instrument Score (Digital)
A score PDF file is delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Full Score/Performance Score (Digital)
The full score serves as a performance score for all players. A score PDF file is delivered via email upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Score and Parts (Print)
A print edition of the score and part(s) ship to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. The email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer.

Solo Instrument Score (Print)
A print edition of the score is shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase. An email containing a link to download the electronic files is sent to the customer's email address.

Full Score/Performance Score (Print)
The full score serves as a performance score for all players. Print edition(s) of the full score/performance score are shipped to the customer's address upon receipt. Multiple copies are included if the work has more than one player. Any electronic files associated with the work are included with every purchase.

Choral Score (Digital)
A PDF file of the choral score is delivered via email upon receipt. The set is priced to allow multiple copies of the PDF to be printed for performance by the purchasing organization only.

Choral Score Set- 8 copies (Print)
Minimum order quantity is 8 copies. Single copies are not available.

Vocal Score (Digital)

Vocal Score (Print)

Choral Score (Print)

Full Score and Solo Part (Print)
A print edition of the score and solo part ships to the customer's address upon receipt.

Study Score (Print)

Study Score (Digital)


Print editions available at Hal Leonard via the link(s) below: