Four faces

Premiered April 17, 2011 as part of the Notations Festival

Orgelpark, Amsterdam

In cooperation with Kulter

.

.

.

.

.

.

The piece is extracted from Tom Dalzell’s The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. Based on the number of text rows in the entire dictionary, I obtained three categories of phrase sequences and distinguished them from each other with three different type-faces: regular, bold and italic.

These type-faces were subject to the interpretation of my father and I, whilst reading the phrases aloud. My father spoke boldly, as an old-timey radio newscaster. I used my regular speaking voice as well as a crooked, italic voice situated at the breaking points between the chest voice and falsetto throughout my entire speaking register.

The spectrograms were generated measured for the fundamental frequency and the intensity (in dB) to determine the tiers for pitch and dynamics throughout the work. These sequences, including a down-mix of the bold and italic tracks, were assigned to a respective instrument of this four-head ensemble based on the pitch contour of the sound.  The spectral contour was used directly on the appropriate staff lines as a score.
.

.

.

.

.

.
The role play:
.

Bass saxophone (regular text)
Trumpet in C (bold text)
Piano (bold-italic text)
Violin scordatura (italic text)

.

.

.

Dynamics are a constant presence in the piece and are used for a fluid modulation, the dynamics in the score are placed regularly one after the other, useful as a counting device. The written dynamic range goes from OO (silence) to fff (as loud as possible on the specific note.) Keep in mind, though, that certain notes can only be quiet and others can only be quite loud. The dynamic indications are then relative to each specific note. The marking ‘ppp’ indicates ‘as quiet as possible on the specific note without being silent’.
.

.

.
The quietest notes possible are certainly quite loud in the higher register of the trumpet and sax, so additional techniques are used in playing to produce different degrees of loudness, starting from the already loud ‘ppp’, on these notes. The very soft notes on an instrument during louder passages on the surrounding instruments are played as soft as possible, to submit to a greater power; unless, of course, the ‘p’ is more powerful than the surrounding ‘f’.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: