Clarice Assad


(2010) Scattered


Duration: c.a. (23 minutes)

Program Notes

SCATTERED is the first concerto of its kind. Comprised of scat singing, piano,, and orchestra, this new work emerged from a personal desire of mine to combine all of my dearest passions in one: composing, orchestrating, singing, and playing. Much of my heart and soul have been poured into making this piece, which I feel is the best musical representation thus far in my 15-year journey as a composer and performer. The piece blends and weaves musical elements of my native country, Brazil,, seamlessly with those of my adopted country, the United States of America.

I have devoted years of research and experimentation to create this work, beginning with my quest for new sounds through extended vocal techniques to crafting creative orchestrating. And I have succeeded in giving each measure of music equally significant meaning and value.

The vocal part of SCATTERED is devoid of any literal meaning. Instead, the voice, treated as an instrument, handles consonances and vowels as tools and interweaves melodic, sustained vocal with pops, cracklings, slaps, thumps,, and snaps commonly found in beatboxing and mouth percussion. These elements create an array of textures and articulations filled with innovative sonorities. Sometimes, at lightening fast speeds, cascading scales take the lead, only to be contrasted by sustained and arpeggiated passages, which suggest complex harmonic accompaniment, ornamenting themes,, and motifs. The third movement showcases complicated ‘tongue twisters’ and virtuosic passages.

The concerto follows the standard three-movement form, FAST-SLOW-FAST, with three cadenzas, one for each movement. The first movement features a solo piano cadenza while the second focuses on the voice. The centerpiece of the third and last movement is a vocal-piano cadenza, which culminates in an exciting coda and a lively orchestral tutti. SCATTERED represents a personal milestone in my career as a composer because it reveals my growth and development like no other work I have written before.

This piece is dedicated to experimental vocalists who have inspired and preceded me: Bobby McFerrin, Maria João, Badi Assad, Adam Matta, Aziza Mustafa Zadeh,, and Carmen Miranda.

Additional Information:

The creation of SCATTERED was possible through a generous grant from MEET THE COMPOSER, the VAN LIER FELLOWSHIP.

SCATTERED was partially written while in residency at the Yaddo Artist Colony.

Nevertheless, basic description cannot do justice to the wild ride through the execution of Assad’s concerto. Her scatting took in one of the broadest approaches to the diversity of vocal sonorities, working with not only different timbres of vowel tones but also an imaginatively rhythmic approach to consonants (often in the absence of any of those vowels). The solo piano work often tended to emerge to balance a framework of call-and-response, even if it was not always clear who was responding to whom. 

BY STEPHEN SMOLIAR, The Rehearsal Studio. From


(2) Flute – fl 1, doubling piccolo
(2) Oboe – Ob 2, doubling English Horn
(2) Bb Clarinet
(2) Bassoon – Bsn. 2, doubling Contrabassoon
(4) Horn in F
(3) Bb Trumpet
(2) Trombone
Bass Trombone


*Tubular Bells Sizzle Cymbal Suspended Cymbal Crotales (may be bowed or struck) -(shared by two players) Vibraphone (may be bowed or struck) Marimba Xylophone Agogos Temple Blocks Cabasa Caxixi (Shaker) Wind Chimes (may be shared between two players) Whip Wooden Wind Chimes Maracas Congas (4) Large Bass Drum* (shared by two players)


Crotales (may be bowed or struck) Tam Tam (may be bowed or struck) Wind Chimes, Cajon Caxixi Vibraslap Large Bass Drum* (shared by two players)

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