March 26, 2016 - workbook
One of the principles of #[unassigned] was that each performed version was somehow different. I wanted each configuration of modules to be unique, such that they all presented a different view of the system. I was interested in the relationship between individual versions and the unattainable metapiece which framed them and was articulated through them, but never heard. But there was a practical problem when performers played a few concerts as part of a tour for instance. This involved making multiple versions for the same instrumentation, or working in a way to make them different each time. So in #010201, a version for solo violin written for Darragh Morgan, I needed to find a way to repurpose the material I’d used a few days earlier in #280101 which Darragh had performed in Dublin. An extract from the score can be seen below, but the solution was to create a series of pages that could be reordered, and which had some internal flexibility as to the order and spacing of modules within a set time window. So on this page, the three modules need to fit within 28″, but have a total duration of 19″, so there is some leeway as to their spacing. There was quite a lot of variation in these time windows, with the shortest page lasting 7″ and the longest 245″.
In both this and the previous versions you can see how the score was made. I had a pool of modules that I was beginning to generate, and kept master copies of these on strips of paper. When making a score, I glued them to a sheet of A3 paper along with the title information, and wrote on the timings. The photocopying isn’t great, and you can see the lines around the borders of each block. I used this method for most of the first six years before beginning to use the computer, first with scanned modules and later using Sibelius.
Otherwise the material is that used in the previous performance. I also added an additional layer, reinstating the sue of two CDs, each with multiple short tracks set to shuffle play. So it was highly likely that each playback would result in a different configuration of the audio, and of course this was further complicated by the shuffling of the violin modules. The audio tracks contain high, modulated sine tones that appear occasionally, sitting very much in the background so that they blend with the hum of the lights. It’s more noticeable when the tones stop in fact. I used something similar in #051000, but with both low and high tones.
Both these approaches–variable ordering of modules and shuffled audio tracks–were techniques that appeared in a number of versions of #[unassigned]. Typically I’d use them when it was necessary to generate multiple versions for events, and the approach was the starting point for attempting to make kit versions in 2005-6, where other people could make their own versions without my direct input.
Darragh played the piece in London at The Tabernacle on 1 February, and I was present for this performance having not managed to get to the Dublin performance the previous week. From memory, the concert also featured solo pieces by Alwynne Pritchard, Rolf Gelhaar, and Joe Cutler.