This post has been hanging around from January. So since I have been on a bit of a vacay from “In C” for the last several days, I thought I would post it today. When I saw it was titled “Surrender” I wondered what in the world I had written. Surrender is a lingering resistance for me. While I long to surrender, I never quite do it. I am all over and around it, but never quite go through it. Surrender is weakness and strength, the ultimate trust and betrayal. As you can see, the clamoring dualities of surrender have me spinning and stuck.
As it turned out the post wasn’t about any of that. It was just the title I off-handedly gave to this songset of “In C.”
January 19, 2014
I have been playing with “In C” since I started arranging the patterns in Ableton in October 2013. I could not wait till January 2014 to begin this exploration! Once I received the scores from Associated Music Publishers, Inc, I began to analyze the piece in order to accurately represent each pattern in Ableton. Since the 53 patterns are set over an 8th note pulse, each phrase was examined to determine how many 8th note pulses it contained. The shortest phrases are 1 pulse in length; the longest is 64 pulses in length. Ableton Live allows midi clips to be set up in various sized grids up to a 32nd note. Since midi clips can be seen as representative real time scores, I am using the score as a midi trigger map for each clip. Thinking of it this way allows voices that add extra sounds to the mix. The integrity of the score remains as each note will trigger some tone or sound at the correct moment as delineated in the score, but what gets triggered may produce aural effects not associated with the note as indicated in the score. This will create some sonic cracks in the patterns and let more new songs emerge.
There was a week in December 2013, around the Solstice, when I needed the light that this music contains, so I spent several hours on three different evenings, playing with combinations of phrases. This song came the second night and seemed to be a call to Surrender.
The song begins with individual voices staggering in in Pattern 8, which is long tones on F and G. Then rocking back and forth between those tones with new voices and textures added as it goes. Pattern 9 comes in percussively at first, then is joined by tonal voices. I liked the males voices on the first pattern and female on the second pattern. These two patterns echo each other until Pattern 13 comes in with an interesting syncopated rhythm on the vibes. Then, in the distance, Pattern 14 comes trumpeting in, adding the dissonant F# to the G tonal center we have been favoring so far. These two patterns tug at each other until several new patterns and voices come in a great rush and density of tones. Then the rocking triplet feel of Pattern 26 takes us out.
So this was an early experiment with “In C” where I was engaging in what I called “Pattern Play.” Pattern Play is playing patterns in unusual combinations called “songsets” or “slices.” Surrender is a songset as it contains Patterns 8,9,13,14,26 and several others. Songsets are made up of mostly non-consecutive patterns. Slices are consecutive groups of patterns in sections, such as Patterns 1 – 7. The pieces we performed at Motorco were slices of “In C.” Working with the piece in this way gives rise to new songs that might not be heard in a traditional performance.
And I am still not sure why I called it Surrender.