The title of the piece reflects one of Kazimierz Serocki’s composing concepts, which he referred to as segment form. Segmenti is built of a sequence of sections or segments comprising varied sound structures with vivid colour and movement profiles. What emerges as a result is fascinating music that heralds the principle of “composing with sound colours” later developed by the composer. The sonic subtlety of the composition is, in a way, a product of its unique instrumentation. The sound material in Segmenti is very rich an varied: from notes with definite pitches to murmurs and hisses. In addition, Serocki tackled in his piece the problem – signalled in Sinfonietta and Episodes – of special, purposeful placement of instrument groups on stage, which creates a source of interesting spatial experiences for the listeners.
The instruments used in the piece do not include bowed string instruments. Instead, the composer divides twelve wind instruments (six woodwind and six brass instruments) into three groups placed on the sides of the stage (one behind another) and at its front. In the middle of the stage are placed string instruments (piano, harpsichord, harp, mandolin and guitar), while the percussion is made up of four groups, the first and third of which are placed on to the left and right of the font group of wind instruments, with the second and the fourth making up a quadrangle with the other groups of wind instruments. In addition, a celesta is placed on a diagonal line between the harpsichord and the third percussion group.
Already at the beginning delicate sounds of the triangle, hi-hat, gong and bottles pass successively, overlapping one another, from the second, through the third and first to the fourth percussion group. Thus, following a triangle path the music reaches the centre of the stage, where first the guitars and then mandolins and the piano join in the musical narrative, and then the main role is taken over by the flute played from the left-hand side of the back of the stage.
The musical progression unfolds from the four introductory segments, through three larger groups of segments representing a climax, to the final sound on crisscrossing glissandi. In other words, among the seventeen segments indicated in the score, the A-B-C-D group serves as an introduction to the climax encompassing segments E-F-G-H-K-L-M-N, O-P-R and S-T.
The premiere of Segmenti took place on 6 August 1962 in Baden-Baden. The Südwestfunk-Orchester was conducted by Ernest Bour.