Towards a precise calculation of the total intended duration of Luciano Berio’s Sequenza VII for Solo Oboe

02 Mar 2020

The score of Luciano Berio’s Sequenza VII for solo oboe exhibits a strict and definite temporal space, yet most performers do not manage to perform the work within the prescribed time. The score is presented as a matrix with thirteen lines and columns and each line undergoes a temporal compression. The impetus of this practitioner-based study was driven by a need to find a method of performing the unusual time increments and to be as close as possible to the composer’s intent regarding the temporal grid. The aim of this study was to investigate and demonstrate a method of calculating and performing the intended duration of Sequenza VII so that the performance realises the absolute duration intended by Berio. Two methods were used to calculate the total duration of the composition. The result of the precise calculation of the predetermined total duration of Sequenza VII is six minutes and thirty seconds, and therefore refines the results of previous explorations of this subject by other scholars.