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The Argument

The Argument tells the story of two double bassists who perform a duet together, but cannot
agree on how to end phrases in the music, which causes arguments between the two performers.


Duration: c. 5 minutes, 20 seconds.

The lyrical passages represent the duet that is being played by the performers, aiming
for a resonant and achingly beautiful sound. It utilises a wide range of tone colours, from the brittle high
register to the deep and powerful low register, aiming for lyricism across the whole range.
At the end of each lyrical passage, one of the bassists ends the phrase,
before being interrupted by the other player as they disagree on how the first ended it.

The tense sections, in contrast, represent the players arguing with each other. One player's part is based on the phrase that ended the lyrical section, and the other's part is based around an alternate ending to the phrase.
These two endings being used simultaneously represent the two players arguing for what they think is
a superior way to end the phrase. This causes tension, dissonance and momentum.

The final section of the piece represents the argument between the two players gett􀀁ing more heated,
as they get angrier. Using dissonance, more complex rhythms and an extreme dynamic range
to create tension and exacerbate the sense of anger. The piece ends with the argument unresolved, the players agreeing to disagree.


Michael McNamara, Sam Malone. May 31, 2022. Music Workshop Hall, Sydney, Australia. International Premiere.

Price: $45

Download Score Sample

View a sample of the sheet music.


View a video of a performance and listen to the work.

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