Date Completed: Jan '12
Part of Series: Fr.#.a…
Recording: This piece is presented in full
on my album BABEL fragments
Fr.II.a-k is a member of my Fr.#.a… series, and like all such pieces is named as if each movment were being systematically labeled at a museum or archaelogical expedition. Each individual movement is also labeled with the date, time and circumstances of its initial composition. This is the second collection of these types of fragmentary sketches, and there are eleven of them—labeled a-k. The following video mostly is about a different piece, but the first part discusses this one and gives a sample recording and score page:
The following is mostly taken from the introductory pages of the score:
Thes eleven pieces are fragmentary compositions written in one sitting (though often with relatively extensive revision later) on days that held significance to me in some way. Some were written on vacation, others during important rehearsals, and others on interesting dates. They are sort of like journal entries, although—with a few exceptions—there isn't any conscious attempt to reflect anything in particular about the day or experience. They are written for solo scordatura cello: the A-string is tuned down by a half-step and the C-string is tuned up by a half-step. The score uses colored notation to indicate which strings the notes are to be performed on. (This way, the performer can read music that looks like it's written for the tuning they're used to rather than having to calculate changes in their head). In the main staff, colored notation is used to easily distinguish notes played on the detuned strings from notes played on the regularly tuned strings. Green notes are to be played on I’ (∴ sounding a minor second lower that written) and red notes are played on IV’ (∴ sounding a minor second higher). I’ve been shocked to discover just how much like a new instrument this tuning makes my instrument become—actually it even freaked me out a bit at first. I hope these pieces showcase some of the unique or nearly unique musical possibilities that the tuning allows.
The pieces are not ordered chronologically, I put them in an order that seemed both musically interesting and that allows time to relax the hands a bit before particularly grueling movements. The performer should feel free to rearrange a bit, or even take out one or two if they like. The Detailed Analysis section below has brief descriptions of each movement if you're interested (the same as can be found in the score).
Check the Detailed Analysis below for descriptions of the personal circumstances behind each individual movement.
In one sense, these pieces are deeply personal. Each movement was written in a relatively brief burst during my beloved vacations with my beloved wife, or on tours with my friends in Anti-Social Music, or in deeply-involving rehearsals. All of them were written rather quickly, and with as little self-editing as I could limit myself to.
In another sense, the idiosyncratic and abstract nature of each piece makes them deeply impersonal. Or at least I suspect that's the case. At no point did I decide to communicate a particular emotion, form or narrative; aren't those filters necessary for any kind of communication we could call personal? Maybe not, but I find myself very confused and unsure about it.
Which is more personal? Is revealing the ramblings of my unconscious or semi-conscious mind more personal, or is a rationally constructed—and thus rationally communicated—auto-biographical narrative? Indeed, which of these is more truly ME? Obviously, I'm both my conscious and my unconscious mind, but which has a stronger claim to my sense of self? Surely it's the more formally-constructed consciousness, and yet it's just as clear that I can deeply and falsely filter my self for public consumption. What the hell is going on here? And even if the unconscious mind is more theoretically revelatory of my deeper thoughts and feelings, does this really matter if the artistic result communicates more enigmatically?
I'm at a loss to explain it, but I love poking at the conundrum, and these stream-of-consciousness pieces seem to muddy the waters delightfully. For instance, why is it called stream of consciousness when it is quite clearly the unfiltered unconsciousness that is being presented?
Fuck it. I'm going to bed.