Friday, 16 July 2010

Composition (2010) No. 3

For any ensemble

Before the performance, a number of motifs taken from birdsong should be recorded and notated on manuscript paper, sufficient to assign one to each player.

All musicians should be sat in a circle, with each player having only their own birdsong motif notated on the score before them.

When you feel like it, play the motif in front of you.

Certain things should make you more inclined to play:

the sound of others playing;
any other sound in the room;
catching sight of someone you like;
a pang of hunger;
the sudden recollection of a fond memory, or a joke;
noticing someone else smiling;
an urge to go to the toilet;
feeling sunlight, or any other light, strike you, or suddenly noticing a shiny object somewhere in the room;

but you may always choose not to play.

When others play, even if you are yourself playing at that time, you must listen.

After the first performance of your own motif, you may start to incorporate material - be it pitches, rhythmic patterns or melodic shape - from any other motif you have heard since the beginning of the performance. Through this method, your own motif-string gradually extends and transforms. The longer, the more different from itself, your motif-string becomes, the more often you should want to play it and the faster it should become.

As the piece becomes more and more frantic, more and more crowded, any member of the group may give an agreed signal (which should be silent). At which point everyone should play one long note, choosing the highest note from their current (now presumably quite transformed) motif-string, lasting one long breath, after which the piece ends.

[Please contact me in the event of any performance of this piece]

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