Thursday, November 12, 2009

TREATISE and beethoven...

I know, I haven't listened to it yet, or had others listen to it, but here's the TREATISE post, now that I have completed the score and recording to the over 3 hour work realization of Cornelius Cardew's piece.

Here goes:



Circles are notes, larger the circle the longer the duration. The proximately of the circle to other circles, or to the middle black line determines pitch, higher or lower.

Triangles are triads (taken from a Cardew interview), and angles are double stops.

Squares/rectangles are harmonics.

Numbers are number of short sounds played by distorted electric guitar.

The black circles are played by distorted electric bass.

The black middle line is bowed acoustic bass. The pitch changes from page to page, and if the line is interrupted somehow. If the black line arcs up or down, it’s a glissando.

Empty staves, or lines that look like staves, stacked on top of each other vertically, are represented by improvised noise. The closer the lines are together, then denser the noise, the farther the lines are away from each other, the sparser and more long tone based the improvisations are.

Pitches in general follow the shape of the symbol, in going up and down.

A single line that stands alone is represented by a drone, either using tremolo picking on guitar, by playing whole notes of the same pitch in the bass, or bowed on the acoustic bass.

At this point dynamics are random due to the levels set when the different instruments were recorded, but sometimes their were F or P written in the score, in which I would follow them as their respective forte and piano.

Everything is read left to right musically, and if it isn't exact, than the gesture of the idea is realized musically in the notated score. ALL symbols are accounted for.


Voice (up to 4 parts) –only used when the page is filled with graphics, and plays the highest part of the page.

Distorted Electric Guitar (up to 2 parts) – only used when numbers are there, OR right under the highest part of the page

Acoustic Guitar (up to 5 parts) – only used to represent the graphics from above the Black line, to a quarter of the page up.

Distorted Electric Bass (1 part) – only used in black circles

Electric Bass (up to 5 parts) – from black line down a quarter of the page.

Acoustic Bass (up to 7 parts) – plays the black line drone AND the bottom quarter of the page.

So that's it for Treatise feel free to comment, or email me at with questions, or if you want to hear a recording. I no longer have any of the piece up on mymyspace page, but probably will soon.


I just finished a week ago writing out a score for 8 people + soloist for the COBRA Ensemble. The score calls for 2 bassists, 2 percussionists, 2 comping instruments, and 2 wind instruments, and a soloist. It is essentially a concerto, and is taken from 10 pages of the last movement of Beethoven's third symphony. I took scissors and tape, and cut out fragments from the score, didn't include key signatures or clefs, and wrote some text instructions for interpretation. Essentially their are 10 sections, and the accompanying ensemble is split into two groups, and get different cues. The soloist has completely different material than the ensemble, in the specific instructions of how to improvise the solo part. Hopefully the piece will be read in the next few weeks, and sounds like a fun open-ended idea. It's very controlled, but at the same will sound COMPLETELY different depending upon the performers/instrumentation. If anything the piece is reminiscent of Terry Riley and John Cage but meeting a more free improvisation world of sound and options.

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