8 Ball


For Clarinet Quartet

8 Ball is an exploration of the emotional swings of grief — shock and sorrow, emptiness and isolation, pain and finality — mixed with wistful, treasured memories recognizing the blessing of sharing life with a loved one, and added to this the hope of eternal reunion. It’s written in memory of my brother, Tex, who we lost to COVID in 2020. In homage to his passion, dirt track racing, there is a contrasting section of paint-swapping, fender-bending frenzy, which comes to an all too sudden end as did his life. The title has nothing to do with billiards but refers to his long-tenured racing number and logo. The music uses unconventional scales which are actually six-tone pitch sets treated as different key centers that produce a lush mixture of consonance and dissonance that at turns feel comforting and unsettling. Writing 8 Ball was a cathartic experience to explore my own emotions, cement my brother’s proper place in my memories, and produce a tangible expression of my love for him. It was written as an assignment in the 2023 summer composition workshop at Tarrant County College. I’m grateful to my instructor, Dr. Aaron Kline, the music department at TCC, and the musicians of our performing quartet for their part in bringing this music to life.

Robert Myers


Duration: ~8’15”






8 Ball is an exploration of the seasons of grief for clarinet quartet (3 soprano, 1 bass). It’s intended for advanced players for contest or concert.

For the Director

Key Clicks: called for in bass clarinet; use the larger lower keys for greater volume; keys are suggested by x note head position on the staff but no particular pitch is intended; to produce some degree of tone the player should blow through the mouthpiece to pressurize the instrument without vibrating the reed; the player may use their discretion for best results; demonstration of the technique may be found at this link: https://heatherroche.net/2018/07/23/bass-clarinet-key-clicks/

Finger Snaps: these are called for in all parts for percussive effect; these are just the traditional snapping of a finger off the thumb onto the palm. These are called for during pauses in the music, thus, allow the tempo to float as needed to maintain synchronicity and musicality. No particular dynamic is implied or intended, just deliver the snaps with some panache and intentionality!


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