Friday, April 5, 2024

"Topped Out" for Guitar, Accordion, Viola and Violin

"Topped Out" 

for Guitar, Accordion, Viola and Violin

Bil Smith Composer

"Topped Out" for Guitar, Accordion, Viola, and Violin was created as a testament to the innovative use of combinatorial scores. This piece integrates traditional notational elements with a contrastive lexical system.

The foundational premise of this combinatorial score is its employment of a lexical system that operates in an essentially relational manner. Unlike traditional scores, where notation might serve as a direct instruction for performance, the lexical units in "Topped Out" are defined primarily by their interconnected relationships. These relationships are both paradigmatic, concerning the selection of alternatives based on similarity or dissimilarity, and syntagmatic, pertaining to the combination of units in linear sequences. It is through these networks of relationships that the piece articulates the performers' musical and expressive content.

Drawing from the principles of Meaning-Text theory, the score's lexical system can be likened to a graph or a "social network of lexical units," akin to the structures observed within small world networks. This analogy highlights the non-hierarchical, interconnected nature of the system. Each lexical unit coupled with notational devices, gains significance not in isolation but through its connections to other units within the network. This model is radically distinct from taxonomic approaches to lexicon organization, which traditionally classify lexical units into hierarchical structures.

Performers are required to navigate a score that functions more as a map of relationships and possibilities than a set of prescriptive instructions.

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