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List of works
A Kind of Murky Blue
Changeable, Out
Of Limits
Nawleans Processional
Arran Sketches
In To Stellar Cast
Of Limits is a series of five short studies for piano (and one medley), each based upon one obvious constriction (and sometimes other limitations), and explores both the process of composing something cohesive under such limitations, and the possibility of combining each movement into a cohesive whole in the form of a medley of sorts, here entitled Off Limits.
A series of folksy melodies are given serialist treatment, which each (approximately) four bar melodic phrase accompanied by the notes that aren’t included in the melody. A calmer middle section is bookended by two frantic sections, with the accompaniment constantly diminishing rhythmically, giving the impression the movement is ‘doomed to fail’.
Octave Range
Everything here is within the range of an octave; the E either side of middle C. Different textures and applications of the limitation are explored.
All intervals here are perfect fourths and fifths, save for the odd passing note in the tune, and the ending, which breaks free from its constraints.
Major Seconds
Here the interval of a major second provides the sole building block of the study, either as part of a chord or as a melodic step (after which it can move to any other note, providing the interval after that is another major second). This limitation appears to have given rise to more folksy undertones.
A jazz chord scheme (given in full as an epilogue of sorts) is broken down into unison melodic outlines; four interpretations, each increasingly erratic.
Off Limits
The medley combines each study and attempts to create something new merely from stitching parts of the other five studies together.
Players and performances
Huddersfield, St. Paul’s Hall, 17th October 2013.
Sheffield, Upper Chapel, 19th October 2013.

Philip Thomas
© 20135Tom James, Tom Owen, Jenny Jackson & Chris Noble.
Of Limits