On Renotation: ‘Disintegration’

A little over a year ago I began working on disintegration, for saxophone trio, and started exploring a few new notational avenues (or at least new for me). In the end the notation ended up rather opaque and non-representative of the sonic landscape I had in mind for the work. With other projects on my plate, I decided to chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. However, a year later, I decided to revisit the piece. Upon revisiting the work, and having worked with this particular notational interest in other works since, it set in just how opaque the notation was and spurred my desire to re-notate the work. Here I will provide a brief “case study” of disintegration, highlighting the different stages of the re-notation process as a way of showing the notation’s evolution from its original state to its current notational manifestation.

Annotated sample of the original score (click to enlarge):

The bottom stave represents the pitch content and, to a lesser extent, the general fingering sequence for the performer. This stave is the most “traditional” of the three staves and acts as a point of stability that gets obscured (or disintegrates) due to the other two staves’ operations. The next stave up is the air-quality stave. Moving from bottom to top, the air to pitch ratio increases from marginal air mixture to the point of almost pure air and no pitch, with a rest indicating pure pitch with no air mixture. Finally, the last stave indicates the performer’s mouth-placement on the reed and the amount of pressure to apply to the reed (the dynamics in the quotation marks). Again, the rest indicates no physical action and a return to the normal mouth-placement/pressure for the given pitch. Moving from bottom to top, the mouth moves from the tip of the reed to a fully swallowed position. Continue reading