Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Setting up

This morning, I went to the home of Muneko Otani, the 1st violinists of the Cassatt Quartet.  I'm writing a new work for them for quartet and interactive computer, and they just got all the gear -- programs, microphones and audio interface -- so I went there to set up and check everything.

My new pieces are in different stages of development, one in particular, in connection to my *new* Subharmonics is especially interesting to me.  I need to compose at the same time I'm just finding out how to control this new technique.   The new Subharmonics arrive to me by accident.  One day I hear something and I go, "Oh no, you've got to be kidding me!", which turns out, it isn't.  I try to repeat the *accident*, and give up when I'm unable to do so.  Then, when I do get to repeat the sound production I go "Ah ha!", try to hang onto that repeated *accident* and remember how I felt.   Then I forget.  Then I try again.   It has been like this for the last several years to get this new Subharmonics.   Finally, it is no longer an accident, but still quite unstable.   In order (for me) to use it in a composition, I have to be able to play it 200% of the time - well, 100% of the time...  i.e. I cannot afford NOT to be able to play it.  It has to be on demand, and that is the hardest thing about Subharmonics.   ANYBODY can play Subharmonics.  But to control it, you need a very precise bowing technique.

I still don't have my last, 7th note... I got six out of seven.  But I'm inching towards it.

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