Monday, July 26, 2010

Timepiece: Performance Notes

Here are the performance notes I came up with when I first sent off the Timepiece parts to Jonathan some months back. When I play music I've written with friends, I'm there to say how it to play it. Sending off parts to the U.K. for people I've never met to play is a different matter entirely. Posting them now so they'll be here to link in a future post about the limits of notation.

           Performance notes for Timepiece 

There is no Platonic ideal of performance in my head.
Beyond the pitches and the rhythms, all the notation may
be considered as suggestions rather than directions.

A major consideration throughout the composition was to
play with the wonderful diversity of timbres in a quintet.
When instruments are playing similar patterns, the hope is
for near perfect blends creating even more richness of
timbre. A mark of success would be for someone hearing it
not being sure from time to time exactly what instruments
were in the mix.

The slurs indicate phrases and need not be fully legato.

Beautiful, full and unforced tone at all times is more
important than dynamic variation. The dynamic markings
are what was needed to get the computer to play it back
something close to what was intended. The various blends
of timbres depend upon each instrument playing at the
volume level for best tone of any given pitch.

The rhythms, while regular (like a timepiece), shouldn't be
formal. A little bit of a jazzy feel or "groove" would be fine.
The final chord of each section is sort of like Big Ben tolling
the hour. Hold that fermata as long as is comfortable and
let the timbres ring out in a vibrant mix. In performance,
take your time moving to the next section so that chord
can reverberate in the ears and minds of the audience.
(Should there ever be a performance and there is sufficient
time, the sections are meant to be played 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 3.)

The feeling tone of the piece is meant to be completely
positive. No angst, anger or depression. Playfulness and
joy, yearning and reverence, exhilaration and celebration
were more of what I had in mind. If you (and an audience)
feel uplifted after playing it, mission accomplished.

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