Two Lines

1989

[SCORE AND PARTS AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD] A long, fast, angular, single line to be played by two or more instruments; parts in Treble Clef C, Bb & Eb, Bass Clef C and Rhythm; options for arranging an ensemble with soloists described. Explores ideas about stability and instability, superimposing multiple simultaneous interpretations, and adventurous musical sportsmanship.

Frog Peak Music, Hanover, NH; recording by Rosenboom and Anthony Braxton released on Two Lines, Lovely Music, Ltd., LCD 3071, New York, 1995, CD.

Program Note:
Like much of my music, Two Lines investigates forms in nature with particular emphasis on processes of evolution. The score contains a single, Vivace line of music, with chords also appearing when the high speed of successive notes causes them to cluster. To generate the line, I began with a drone, the symbol of ultimate stability and stasis in musical form. I greatly amplified the tiny, microscopic variations contained in the most perfect drone I could play on a viola and translated these into the notes of a melodic line, which traced the magnified shapes of micro-instabilities emerging from intense efforts to achieve stasis in pitch. Finally, the original drone was removed. Surprisingly, the music that remained is highly ordered, though complex, containing patterns that can be observed at any scale of magnification and, hopefully, preserving some of the rhythms of life. An organisms practiced efforts to achieve impossibly perfect stability have now been orchestrated. Next, to make Two Lines, the line is doubled in a process that now investigates the micro-instabilities born of intense efforts by two musicians to achieve nearly perfect superposition at high speed. Constellations of new relationships emerge at the edges. The original line serves as a focal point, around which a kind of musical space or field, complete with its own definition of gravity and attraction to ideas, comes alive. The musicians' instructions are intended to invoke a feeling of sportsmanship, and three opportunities to insert open improvisations in the midst of the line are also given in the score. (DR)