1st performance: DiMenna Center for the Arts, New York, NY, April 2012

This piece, composed in 1981, was discovered while searching through old storage boxes of writings, drawing, and photographs, in the year 2010. While I had notated a couple of pieces using the score instructions back at the time, no performance had ever been made of the piece until April, 2012.

Performance Notes

Since letters of the alphabet are used to name musical notes, letters of the alphabet can also be drawn on music staves to determine note selections in a composition.

This piece can be performed by any number of instruments. Notes can be transposed to any register. Instruments can double notes in unison or in octave and/or multi-octave transpositions. Notes from any alphabetic character can be divided between instruments at the determination of the performers. The piece should be played very slowly and very quietly, although the performers are free to decide to play the piece at any tempo or dynamic. Diamond-headed notes may be interpreted as ‘silent notes’, ‘notes barely sounding’, or as harmonics.

There are three possibilities to determine the selection and sequence of alphabetic note-characters in the score:

1. The names of the performers, or other persons, can be spelled out using the note-characters in the score, or

2. The score can be performed in order from A to Z, or

3. A text can be selected from any source, and the corresponding note-characters are sorted to spell out the text. 

Gordon Monahan, Toronto, 1981