Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Music Tuesday

For your musical enrichment, here is an aleatoric piece my Mom wrote in music school 42 years ago. It was A material.

Carol Burgtorf
T315
Assignment due May 4, 1971

Title: TACTUS 1 (GHOSTS)

Necessary Personnel: One human being whose pulse will be continually monitored by another, the conductor, who will simultaneously beat time at the heartbeat rate; three pianists who all sit at one piano; a four-part mixed chorus.

The piece will begin: when the conductor can establish a clear pulse rate for a tempo.

Event Approximate number of heartbeats (may be determined by conductor) Text and/or music levels (text in italics) Directions for Performance (conductor will indicate when each event begins and ends)
I. 10 high and low pitches Pianists will hold loud pedal down and shout or sing into piano strings often enough to sustain echo.
II.
6
4
supernatural noises
loud
soft
Sopranos will decide upon and make appropriate groans, screams, etc.
III. 40 supernatural noises continue softly.

"Amidst the mists and coldest frosts" low and sepulchrally
Basses repeat text over and over at one heartbeat per syllable and on one note. Each bass to determine his own pitch and entrance time.
IV. 6 V-I-V-I-etc., chord seequence in one major key, softly Pianists choose key, making chords as full as possible with their 30 fingers, changing chords only on a beat (duration of each chord not limited)
30 "with stoutest wrists"
"and loudest boasts"
Tenors declaim either text phrase heroically, in any rhythm. Pianists continue chord sequence throughout this.
V. 6 tone clusters in deep piano register Pianists stop V-I chords and begin playing clusters in tempo, continuing while altos sing.
4 "He thrusts" not too high a note One alto sings phrase once on one note, sustaining the tone until end of this section.
4 "his fists" one step higher than first phrase note Second alto on this phrase, in the same manner as first alto.
4 "against" one step higher than second phrase note Third alto on this phrase, same as above.
4 "The posts" one step higher than third phrase note Fourth alto on this phrase, same as above.
4 Now all four altos are singing together. Pianists stop.
VI. Now the person whose heartbeat is being monitored will begin to increase his heartbeat rapidly by running in place, breathing into a paper bag, or any other arduous method. During this time:
- "And still insists" relatively high Soprano soloist sings phrase three times, slowly and on any anguished melody.
moaning Everyone beings to moan very softly while soprano is singing, then falls silent.
- "He sees..." Soprano sings phrase once, suspensefully.
VII. Person stops exercising and, ona signal from conductor, the entire chorus screams the long-drawn-out words: "The gho-o-o-o-sts!" going from high pitch down to low one.
VIII. Conductor determines new rapid pulse and, with this as a new ever decreasing tempo (i.e. as heartbeat returns to normal)
40 "and still insists he sees the ghosts" whisper Chorus repeats phrase over and over in unison and at the decreasing tempo, two syllables per heartbeat. Chorus members begin to leave stage when they get tired of repeating above phrase.
IX. Conductor leaves stage, leading his pulse-maker by the hand unless he doesn't want to go. Pianists may either leave or begin a three-handed jam session at the piano.

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