Complete Work Title: 


Performance Medium: 

solo contrabass and intermedia environment (see below for details).

  1. Soliloquy: analyst coaxes actress
    1. Confrontation des timbres vertes; yet
    2. Intervention of societal privileges; still
    3. Return of forgotten values; now
  2. Heinrich Schenker passes a stone (jig)
  3. Theme & Variants
    1. he preys upon the contradictions of his limited stature
    2. ...then indulges in hypercritical paranoia
  4. The aquiescence of Suzy Solidor:
    1. she is taunted by demons
    2. somnambulistic rite (wafer-bitch)
  5. Colloquy: pandering to the whims of their captors,




to Michael Hartt

Date Composed: 

December 1988 - August 1989

Performance Information: 
  • The intermedia “environment” requires a harpsichordist (on stage), 2 percussionists (stationed at the rear of the performance space), 5 performance assistants (planted throughout the audience), a girl, and 1-2 technical assistants. Required equipment includes 2 spot lights, 3 strobe lights, digital delay unit, 3 television sets with video cassette players, 1 large-display digital clock, and a 10-foot rain gutter.
  • The performance assistants play a variety of small percussion instruments, including electric buzzer, police whistles, airhorn, woodblocks, party horn, squeak toy, balloon, paper bag, wooden switches, duck call, whoopie cushion, bird whistle, pop gun, etc
  • Only the solo contrabass should be included in the printed program, although the other performers may be credited as “assistants”; however, under no circumstances should the instruments themselves be specified.

Performance/Broadcast History: 
  • 25 June 1990, Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) — "Music of Our Time" Festival [premiere]

    Michael Hartt, solo contrabass; with Jennifer Peterson (harpsichord), Bruce Hamilton, Katrina Cessna (percussion), Steve Belans, Sean Harvey, Paul Surowiak, Phillip Adams, Heidi Dietrich Klein, Joseph Klein, William Kleinsasser, Estelle Hammond

Program Notes: 

Melodráme was composed between December 1988 and August 1989 for contrabassist Michael Hartt. The work is in six movements that form a completely symmetrical arch-structure resulting from the superimposition of equal divisions of the whole by 3, 4, and 5 units (the resulting proportions of the individual movements themselves being 6:5:4:4:5:6). This 3/4/5 superstructure is repeated at successively deeper levels, and is thus reflected within each movement as well as in the basic rhythmic and pitch materials of the entire piece. In spite of the ostensibly rigorous structure, there has been a conscious effort to conceal this rigid framework, achieved in some instances by subtle degrees of structural delineation and in others by outright gestural blatancies (often occurring between those strictly calculated subdivisions), thus creating a cognitive ambiguity between the work’s construction and its perception.