Eric Skytterholm Egan | Word of Mouth

(2012) | Full Score

List of Works


Word of Mouth is, like most compositions, an exercise in combining an intellectual puzzle with a visceral chronocourse. The material consists of a range of meaningful patterns which have been taken out of their sterile framework and arranged within a natural musical environment. The piece inhabits the sphere where two worlds meet − a place where meaning is absorbed by language.

Although the listener will be unaware of the content of the initial message, the imposed syntax allows this to take on a new form. What you experience is shaped by your own cognitive appreciation of the music. Some might wonder whether this new, assumed, message is less valid than the original, or whether the complete obfuscation of the original material makes the piece less valuable. Is this the case?

One might also ask if it matters what was present in the conception of the work. If not, did it indeed have to be there at all? Moreover, does the fact that the compositional process began with a clear and present message influence the listener’s experience of the piece?

The piece was loosely inspired by the following quotation from George Orwell’s 1984:

Only by word of mouth, from mind to mind, could they pass on the secret.

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