Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

Alright! Several years ago I came across the New York Minimalist Ensemble (they don't seem to exist anymore) and their standing call for composers to write for them. As far as I remember of their requirements is that you write for their instruments (don't ask me what they were, I don't recall, but it could be a subset of the full ensemble) and that your compositions only have 100 notes or events. From what I can recall, the definition of event was left up to the composer. It might be as simple as a note, or something a little more complex, such as a chord. John Cage might even include the silence between the noise as an event. Think of it for yourself.

So, does this sounds like a good type of challenge? Would you accept such a commission (even a non-paying one)? Just how would you plan such a composition?

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Hi Michael,

It's an interesting idea! If someone would run such a contest on this site, I would be interested to participate -

Gav

Must the piece be *exactly* 100 notes, or less is OK? It would be an even more interesting challenge if it has to be exactly 100...

Also, if the composer is allowed to freely define what "event" means, what stops someone from defining "event" as "bar"?



H. S. Teoh said:

Must the piece be *exactly* 100 notes, or less is OK? It would be an even more interesting challenge if it has to be exactly 100...

Also, if the composer is allowed to freely define what "event" means, what stops someone from defining "event" as "bar"?


I'm not sure how strict they were, but from the things I heard some of the music was very good and as far as I remember, the pieces did use 100 notes. They effectively choose the music they played, so they seemed very musically savvy.

I've thought of several different ways to interpret what an event is. One was inspired by Varese's usages of a mass of sound that contains sub-events as part of a whole. You could also group simultaneities (chords) to be one event. Or maybe you wrote a piece that contains 25 four note chords, but the performer is free to arrpegiate to his hearts whim.

It sounds like a project in the making.
I would interpret the 100 events as intentions, be it a musical element or otherwise. I would be inclined to have guidelines for an improvisation rather than 100 specific pitches. I always find it interesting to see how others interpret your intentions, for better or worse. I would also be interested in participating if something like this ran on here.

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