Funky Poly - 2nd draft April 2024

Additional Information

Note: This is the final draft of the score; the original was first published here March 2024.

Funky Poly is the third movement of a 4-part symphonic work for orchestra. The first two movements are:

I: Prologue - see YouTube:

II: Made From Dust - YouTube:


The title is a short form of Funky Polyphony, referring to the musical fabric which is formed from polyphonic thematic and rhythmic ostinati. Often syncopated in nature, these gather and combine in increasingly complex ways. The underlying structure comprises a series of discrete segments (‘blocks’) of music separated by pauses. These blocks start very small. However, as the piece progresses they increase in size, complexity and intensity.

The influences which informed my use of this kind of structure are varied but all have one feature in common: a series of distinct and separate elements put together in a sequence. They include:

- Several groundbreaking moments in Beethoven’s output. For example: Op 106 (the preamble to the last movement fugue, where themes are presented and cut off in full flow and discarded); the recitative passage at the start of the final movement of the 9th symphony; and the start of the Grosse Fuge op 133 where the following music is summarised unapologetically in a string of seemingly unrelated quotations.

- The thematic catalogues commonly found on the pages of published scores.

- My own musical sketchbooks, where totally unrelated ideas follow each other. However, on listening to them in sequence, I realised they were affecting each other in a fascinating yet completely unintended way.

- The later art of Henri Matisse.

My task was then to combine the blocks and their musical content into an integrated and satisfying whole: a piece which presents a string of separate musical chunks, like ornaments on a necklace, but whose contents are shared and developed, and follow on from each other in a completely logical way.

Composition of the fourth and final movement, BlocSwitch, is currently underway.


Scherzo for orchestra