The inspiration for Popple came from the idea of toy flutes and whistles - the kind that one might associate with ‘choo choo’ trains. The chugging of trains and engines can be heard in the continuous downward motion of semiquavers in close, and often contradictory harmony. This piece employs the more advanced advanced techniques, which add to the sense of noise and commotion, such as articulated air sounds and key click drumming in the bass flute. The use of some homophonous tongue pizzicato sounds also adds to the childish nature of the piece. The most effective feature, though, is perhaps the use of the quarter tones in the Kingma system flutes. By using these in conjunction with non-quarter tone notes in the other flutes, the piece has an air of pitch instability – like an unwinding of the mechanics, or a failing engine. It is a fun and silly piece making use of the exciting advancements in flute performance.
Premiere: rarescale Flute Academy, BoilerHouse Auditorium, Royal Holloway University of London, 22 March 2019