Monday, January 15, 2007
In four, and getting faster, chunky and smooth
Another musicianship exercise. The first line uses one of Morton Feldman's favorite tricks, holding a division of the measure, but changing the measures' lengths, in this case sequenced to create a written out accelerando. But this increase in speed comes only in measure-long chunks, so it might sound, well, a bit chunky. The second line is one solution to this: by including a more propulsive rhythm within each measure. Finally, the third line attempts to remove all the chunkiness altogther by placing the entire transition in 4/4 metre under an accelerando poco a poco marking, and return to the initial tempo in the final 2/4 bar. This last, smooth solution is also the most difficult to perform accurately, but can be efficiently practiced by going through intermediate steps like those described in lines one and two.
(There, I did it, I finally found a connection between peanut butter and composing. The only other connection of the sort of which I'm aware is the description of a never-completed work for orchestra in Room Temperature, a novel by Nicholson Baker. Baker's narrator, a man who gave up a youthful ambition to compose, describes an imagined piece beginning with the pop of a vacuum-sealed jar of peanut butter being opened. Room Temperature may be a slight book, but it does have a permanent place on my shelves due to a passing mention of the Monteux recording of Le Sacre, a recording that played a special role in my childhood. But I digress.)