Saturday, 14 March 2015

Horizon (video) - cello, cello, bass, percussion

Horizon from Peter Henderson - Systems Art on Vimeo.

Inspired by studying the systematic compositional methods of Feldman and Woolf, although not sounding like either of them. Feldman would not have considered his methods to be systematic, but they seem that way to me.

The pattern of the composition is as follows

     percussion          continuous tick
     cello 1             a  b  a  b  a  b
     bass                a' b' -  b' a' - (held)
     cello 2             -  b' a' b' -  - (held)
     ambient(wind)       2  1  1  1  1  2 (volume)

where a' is derived from a by the performer holding every other sound through the duration of its length plus the length of the next sound. Similarly b'.

The piece can be performed by printing just the a+b part and asking the bass and second cello to omit odd notes in favour of holding the even ones, but hold them.

The part a+b is remarkably simple, following some ideas inspired by Woolf. The sequence of notes is the same 12 pitches repeated. The rhythm varies over the part having measures that vary between 5 and 8 notes, so that the 12 pitches are consumed at varying rates. The order of the varying measures is also entirely systematic, with a tiny bit of ad-hoc-ery towards the end.