Live Performance Recording 12/03/2012
Duke University - Casbah Durham
Encounters: with the music of our time
Durham, NC, USA
Wet Ink Ensemble
Joshua Modney, violin
Ian Antonio, metallic percussion
“I am interested in mathematics only as a creative art.”
G.H. Hardy, A Mathematician’s Apology, 1940
I share Hardy’s sentiment. Though my work Combination is heavily reliant upon mathematics, my choices for mappings and relationships always serve a creative and expressive need. With these choices I reinvigorate the musical and mathematical overlap, shunning stale and arbitrary relationships, which have been so widely used in the past (such as mapping pitches to numbers). To fully embrace and trust the musical expressivity of my equations, I decided to make Combination a generative work, in which the score regenerates for each new performance situation, determined by the percussionist’s free selection of metallic instruments. Thus, the identity of the work itself is contained in the mathematical relationships.
The percussionist’s free selection of metallic instruments also dictates the tuning of the four violin strings. Moreover, most musical parameters, such as bow technique, percussion beaters, rates of change, types of inflection, textural and gestural typologies, dynamics, individual section timings, and the minimum duration of the work are all determined from the acoustic relationships between the selected percussion instruments and violin tuning.
The version of the work produced by the instrument selection and tuning is indicated in the title by a series of four numbers, each separated by a period (i.e., Combination 126.96.36.199). Thus, Combination is actually an infinite set of pieces for violin and percussion, all unified by their shared relationships. Yet, each piece is distinct, not only in its instrumental timbres and violin tuning, but also in its musical profile derived from the timbres and tuning.
- Contemporary Classical