Pars Pro Toto Music Composition – Inki Music
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Pars Pro Toto Music Composition


The glaciers melt and a new landscape reveals itself. The process in itself isn’t ugly, the new landscape is beautiful, but this beauty numbs our senses which makes it harder to react. It isn’t until the glaciers are gone that they will be missed. The composition Pars Pro Toto is beautiful yet uncomfortable, soothing yet haunting, much like a glacier's slow but unthinkable retreat.

Table of Contents

I see the recording studio as an instrument, so I wouldn't say it's a solo piano piece, but some kind of duo between the recording studio and the piano,"

The focus of Pars Pro Toto’s composition is the changes in nature due to global warming. Changes that are overwhelming in magnitude, too complex and intertwined to dwell on. Therefore, I chose to focus on only one part of global warming: the melting of Icelandic glaciers. One factor is taken to represent the whole or Pars Pro Toto.

In the composition, the beauty of nature is represented with a melodic, comforting, and almost romantic piano melody. However, the left-hand contrasts the melody with an ever-growing threat of heavy waves. Slowly, the music moves more and more underwater until it is completely drowned.

The Wunderkind

I recorded Pars Pro Toto with a pianist and good friend of mine Mathias Halvorsen in Dustin O’Halloran’s recording studio in Iceland. I met Mathias when he was a classical music wunderkind – now he is a little too old to be called a kid, even though he sometimes behaves like one (in the best way).

He is still a very impressive and creative pianist. We have done multiple music projects together over the years: from an intimate concert dedicated to the songs of Cole Porter involving a muppet created from an oven glove to his creation The Well Prepared Piano, where he performs Bach on a prepared grand piano. He asked me to do a preparation, it involved wooden grill pins that. You can take a listen here, notice how the grill pins create a percussive element and de-tune the strings a little:

Art exhibition space
Six Nordic artist exhibited pieces focusing on climate change
Opening at an art exhibition
At the opening of North Exhibition, LÁ art museum

In the wake of global warming and excelling ecological changes, will our environments of today become a mere fleeting impression? The human imprint is permanently changing landscapes, savagely and irreversibly morphing our natural environments, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Arctic.

The Installation That Drownes

Pars Pro Toto premiered as an installation at the exhibition North at LÁ art museum in the fall of 2020. In the installation, the composition, played by pianist Mathias Halvorsen, reaches a new layer of meaning through sound design and an accompanying video installation, projected on walls around the listener. The room seems to be slowly filling with water as if the music is drowning – the white space gradually filling with darkness, building on the aural illusion of being inundated by the submerged music coming from multiple speakers in the gallery.

Acoustic Version

This same composition can be performed acoustically. The interpretation of the sheet music should be very free. Do not play all the notes – not even half of them – and the tempo should be floating, like heavy waves, never „groovy“. Feel free to add more notes to the music and frequently add octaves.

In bar 61 I mention „drop chords“, but that should be broken chords on the high register, free tempo, like drops dripping from melting ice. I leave it up to your creativity to decide how you choose to move the piece underwater.

Use whatever comes to mind, the more creative you get – the better.

Pars Pro Toto Sheet Music

Head over to my Art and Music store for a digital download of Pars Pro Toto sheet music.

Pars Pro Toto Digital Download

Recording Pars Pro Toto
Mathias Halvorsen playing Pars Pro Toto


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