A final post from me as we rapidly approach the festival weekend. After my last update you might be wondering whether we’ll have any music to play on Saturday night, but fear not! I have a complete set of pieces that I’m really looking forward to sharing with everyone at the Dukes.
With this project I have experimented with different ways of presenting my ideas on the page. As with my music for Sloth Racket, the scores combine conventional musical notation with some graphics, and - in these new pieces - some text instructions. It was an interesting process working out the best way to construct the scores when writing for this many people: when I make sheet music I like to give the players as complete a picture as possible of the music as a whole, because a big part of it is our collective ‘arranging’ of the pieces through improvisation. There is a balance to be struck between density of information on the page and clarity however, so it becomes an exercise in being concise, in showing something from multiple angles at once. The goal is that all the musicians find that they can see what’s going on and get around the scores easily.
Preliminary rehearsals in Manchester and London with some of the group suggested that I might have achieved this goal: the music did seem to emerge quite quickly from a first read-through. Of course, I won’t be able to get a complete picture of how it will be until all ten of us meet this coming Thursday in Lancaster, and there is a lot of work to be done. It feels positive though and the thought of playing with everyone together is extremely exciting! It’s been a pleasure putting the music together, and I’d love it if you’d join us on Saturday to hear the results. In the mean time, here’s a snippet of trio improvisation from Tom Ward, Graham South and Seth Bennett at our Manchester rehearsal.
See you in Lancaster!
- Cath Roberts, artist in residence 2016