Four Humours

Pinnock, Naomi

About the work

The Four Humours are distinct miniatures that can be played in any order. Choleric is intense and fiery. The ensemble is split into two and pitted against one another. Similarly, Sanguine uses opposing forces but instead they come together at the end. Phlegmatic uses heavy sighs and lazy phrases. The idea behind Melancholia is one of repetition with little change. The piano continuously repeats the same phrase and the ensemble creates a languorously shifting background. On top is a solo line, wistfully repeating motifs.

First Performance: 19 June 2003, Spitalfields Festival, CoMA London Ensemble

Technical notes

The pieces are written in open score, with the additional requirement of a piano and percussion (any that is available). The players are also required to use their voices. Each movement divides the group differently.


Call for Pieces entry: Open Score 2004: ‘The Four Temperaments’, RAM student piece


The sample audio is from a recording by London Sinfonietta conducted by Gregory Rose on the album Open Score released by NMC. The album (NMC DL228) is available to purchase here.


The score for this work is included in the anthology Open Score: Contemporary Music for All (ISMN: 979-0-9002363-0-2) published by CoMA in 2016. More details


This work is available as a digital download. Upon purchase, you will receive a link to download PDF files and a licence that will entitle you to legally print copies of the sheet music. Nothing will be posted to you. For more information see our terms and conditions page.


score & parts


Sample score



7m 00s




Flexible Ensemble with Keyboard


open score, pf, perc
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