Wind Band, Grade 4
Premiered April 18, 2019
The science of mutagenesis was developed by Hermann Muller, Charlotte Auerbach, and J. M. Robson in the early 20th century. Mutagenesis is the process of mutation, meaning the altering of the genetic information of an organism. This process can occur naturally or artificially and spontaneously or as a result of outside stimuli. There are four types of mutations: spontaneous mutations, mutations resulting from replication bypass, mutations caused by DNA repair, and mutations induced from mutagens. A mutation is usually a slight change, that may or may not create discernible difference. Mutation is not inherently bad, but rather simply causes change. In nature, mutation is an insertion or deletion of genetic material, can be normal or abnormal, can lead to cancer and various heritable diseases, but it is also a driving force of evolution.
Mutagenesis draws inspiration from this science. This work progresses through slowly transforming melodic cells, or collection of notes. These collections mutate note by note, until the result consists of a completely new group of pitches. The original collection of G, A♭, C, D results in F#, E, B, A#. By swapping one note from these two collections, I gathered 14 permutations that form the structure of the work. A few of these collections can be heard clearly, while some permutations are slightly blurred: some collections bleed into the next group (insertion), some note stops early (deletion), etc. Much like in nature, the mutations of these melodic cells can make a slight musical difference, or launch the music into a completely different direction. In order to create coherence, I use similar motivic elements to ground the listener, but it is a work that can slowly transform or evolve quickly and without preamble.
Mutagenesis was selected as a winner of the 2018-2019 University of South Florida Bands Composition Contest. This work was written in 2019 and premiered April 18, 2019 by the USF Symphonic Band conducted by Dr. Marc Sosnowchik.