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BAOBAB

for orchestra
Phill Niblock
2011

Baobab is a work for orchestra, lasting 23 minutes. The score consists of two pages which are to be played simultaneously.
The score of Baobab was realised by Bob Gilmore following instructions from Phill Niblock.
The work was commissioned by Petr Kotik for premiere at the Ostrava New Music Days 2011, in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
General comments:
Phill Niblocks music utilizes dense collections of microtones to yield a unique sonic palette. The musicians should feel they are part of an
intonational cloud of sound. The density will change throughout the piece, but the cloud will always be present.
The orchestra is seated on stage in a normal configuration, although the instruments could be randomized. The instruments will be capable of
sustained sounds and variable pitch, strings and winds.
The parts should be distributed randomly among the orchestra; people sitting adjacent should not have the same parts. Each player follows
one line / one part of the score. Each line / part is 23 minutes in length. The measures are each one minute. Players should change notes not
on the minute, but a bit before or after, perhaps one breath or bow. String players should use a slow bowing, about ten seconds.
In each part one note changes to the next, generally by a graded sequence of microtonal steps. The piece calls for very subtle gradations of
tuning in order to achieve a richness of ensemble sound, full of beatings of near-unison pitches, and with clouds of overtones and difference
tones. The microtonal displacements are conceived in gradations of 10 cents, therefore implying a space of ten divisions of the equaltempered semitone. Be careful not to use glissandi to move from one note to the next; these are antithetical to Niblocks musical language.
In principle everyone plays all the time: breaks for a short rest are fine. All instruments should be dynamically balanced: players should be
sensitive to their dynamics in the perspective of the whole ensemble. A full tone should be maintained throughout. No vibrato should be used:
straight tones only. No hard attacks should be used: a moderately dull attack should occur at the beginning of each note. Avoid crescendos.
Fade notes out fairly quickly rather than abruptly ending them.

Durations: while resting as needed, everyone should play long tones continuously. Strings may make discrete bow changes where needed,
but long bow strokes are to be used throughout. Wind instruments should play a nice, relaxed long breath.
Time: each measure of the score equals one minute. A clock will be visible. Proceed to the next measure at your leisure, not exactly on the
minute, though you should stay within fifteen seconds of the clock time, either before or after the minute.
Octave: generally each instrument should use the octaves with the fullest tone. This will generate the best overtones which are essential to
create the right sound. This will usually mean that you are in the lower two octaves of your instrument, but the use of a higher octaves are
welcome if the texture is getting too muddy. If you hear a high overtone you want to get close to with your pitch to create greater tonal
beating, that is fine. Keep octave changes occasional and only after having explored one particular octave for a while.
Intonation: Try to pitch the notes as accurately as you can. Perfect accuracy is not expected: a small amount of imprecision will not spoil the
overall intent of the music. The intention is that, ideally, you will never play a note exactly the same twice: if retaking a bow or breath within
a measure, an extremely small fluctuation in the intonation of the note is desirable once you recommence.
Notation: (100 cents = semitone)
No indication

= 0-10 cents around the note

+ or -

= 10-20 cents above or below the note

++ or - -

= 20-30 cents above or below the note

+++ or - - -

= 30-40 cents above or below the note

++++ or - - - -

= 40-50 cents above or below the note (= half-sharp or half-flat)

BAOBAB
score: 2 pages to be played simultaneously

Phill Niblock, 2011

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

(23)

C
++++

C
++++

C
++++

C
++++

C
+++

C
+++

C
+++

C
+++

C++

C++

C ++

C++

C+

C+

C+

C
+++

C
+++

C
+++

C
+++

C
+++

C++

C++

C++

C++

C++

C+

C+

Bb

Bb +

Bb +

Bb +

Bb ++

Bb ++

Bb
+++

Bb
+++

Bb
++++

Bb
++++

Bb
++++

C++

C++

C++

C++

C++

C++

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C++

C++

C++

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb +

Bb +

Bb +

Bb +

Bb ++

Bb ++

Bb ++

Bb ++

C+

C++

C++

C
+++

C
+++

C
++++

C
++++

B--

B--

B---

B---

B---

B
----

B
----

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

Bb

Bb

Bb -

Bb -

Bb -

Bb -

Bb
--

Bb
--

Bb
--

Bb
--

Bb
--

B--

B--

B--

B--

B--

B--

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B--

B--

B--

B--

B---

B---

B---

B---

B---

B--

B--

B--

B--

B--

B-

B-

Bb --

Bb -

Bb -

Bb
--

Bb
--

Bb
---

Bb
---

Bb
---

Bb
----

Bb
----

Bb
----

10

B
----

B
----

B
----

B
----

B---

B---

B---

B---

B--

B--

B--

B--

B-

B-

B-

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

(23)

11

C
++++

C
++++

C
++++

C
++++

C
+++

C
+++

C
+++

C
+++

C++

C++

C ++

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

12

C
+++

C
+++

C
+++

C
+++

C
+++

C++

C++

C++

C++

C++

C+

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb +

Bb +

Bb +

Bb +

Bb +

Bb +

Bb +

13

C++

C++

C++

C++

C++

C++

C+

C+

C+

C+

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb +

Bb +

Bb +

Bb +

Bb ++

Bb ++

Bb ++

Bb ++

Bb ++

14

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

C+

Bb

Bb

Bb +

Bb +

Bb +

Bb ++

Bb ++

Bb ++

Bb ++

Bb
+++

Bb
+++

Bb
+++

Bb
+++

15

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb +

Bb +

Bb ++

Bb ++

Bb
+++

Bb
+++

Bb
+++

Bb
++++

Bb
++++

Bb
++++

Bb
++++

16

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb -

Bb -

Bb --

Bb --

Bb ---

Bb ---

Bb ---

Bb
----

Bb
----

Bb
----

Bb
----

17

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

Bb

Bb

Bb -

Bb -

Bb -

Bb --

Bb --

Bb --

Bb --

Bb ---

Bb ---

Bb ---

Bb ---

18

B--

B--

B--

B--

B--

B--

B-

B-

B-

B-

B-

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb -

Bb -

Bb -

Bb -

Bb --

Bb --

Bb --

Bb --

Bb --

19

B---

B---

B---

B---

B---

B--

B--

B--

B--

B--

B-

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb -

Bb -

Bb -

Bb -

Bb -

Bb -

Bb -

20

B
----

B
----

B
----

B
----

B---

B---

B---

B---

B--

B--

B--

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb

Bb