Wednesday, January 29, 2020

"Dimidius" for Solo Piano


For Piano

Bil Smith Composer


Commissioned by Scapa Group PLC

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Extended Techniques in Unaccompanied Works for Solo Tuba. Michael James Casey

Extended Techniques in Unaccompanied
Works for Solo Tuba Written between
1965-1973 and 2002-2013

Michael James Casey

Link to Document (PDF)

Extended Bassoon Techniques by Arno Colin Steyn

Extended bassoon techniques: Filling the pedagogical gap 

Arno Colin Steyn 

Link to PDF:

"Coddling His Little, Unhatched Egg of Anxiety". For Soprano and Basso Profundo. The Full Score

"Coddling His Little, Unhatched Egg of Anxiety"

Bil Smith

for Soprano and Basso Profundo

Premiere, Denver Art Museum

Commissioned by Kaiser Permanente

Link To The Full Score

Thoughts on a Work for Choir

Friday, January 24, 2020

Composition: Asemic Tablatures (WET Scores?)

Can an asemic writing/compositional aesthetic be a valid compositional lexicon? 

 I look to Ariel González Losada, Gustavo Chab, and Anat Pick for their keen insight. I think of Hans Robert Jauss, being the key figure associated with 'Reception Theory.' Mikhail Bakhtin's 'Dialogic Criticism', and Hervé Le Tellier, member of the international literary group Oulipo as guideposts of thought.

Ariel González Losada

Gustavo Chab
Anat Pick
Ariel González Losada

My idea is to create a new system of notation embedded with apparent contradictions, but is itself based on the recognition that contradiction is the fundamental starting point of all musical departure, indeed all thought. 

The real kernel of ideation in this abstruse speculation is about the process involved in getting from nowhere to nothing. 

From the brilliant mind of Gustavo Chab...

Gustavo Chab   "Asemic writing is a wordless open semantic form of writing. The word asemic means "having no specific semantic content".[1] With the non-specificity of asemic writing there comes a vacuum of meaning which is left for the reader to fill in and interpret. All of this is similar to the way one would deduce meaning from an abstract work of art. The open nature of asemic works allows for meaning to occur trans-linguistically; an asemic text may be "read" in a similar fashion regardless of the reader's natural language. Multiple meanings for the same symbolism are another possibility for an asemic work.

Some asemic writing includes pictograms or ideograms, the meanings of which are sometimes, but not always, suggested by their shapes. Asemic writing, at times, exists as a conception or shadow of conventional writing practices. Reflecting writing, but not completely existing as a traditional writing system, asemic writing seeks to make the reader hover in a state between reading and looking.

Asemic writing has no verbal sense, though it may have clear textual sense. Through its formatting and structure, asemic writing may suggest a type of document and, thereby, suggest a meaning. The form of art is still writing, often calligraphic in form, and either depends on a reader's sense and knowledge of writing systems for it to make sense, or can be understood through aesthetic intuition.

Asemic writing can also be seen as a relative perception, whereby unknown languages and forgotten scripts provide templates and platforms for new modes of expression. It has been suggested that asemic writing exists in two ways: "true" asemic writing and "relative" asemic writing.[2] True asemic writing occurs when the creator of the asemic piece cannot read their own asemic writing. Relative asemic writing is a natural writing system that can be read by some people but not by everyone (e.g. ciphers). Between these two axioms is where asemic writing exists and plays

The Asemic Continuum

Influences on asemic writing are illegible, invented, or primal scripts (cave paintings, doodles, children's drawings, etc.). But instead of being thought of as mimicry of preliterate expression, asemic writing may be considered to be a post-literate style of writing that uses all forms of creativity for inspiration. Other influences on asemic writing are xeno-linguistics, artistic languages, sigils (magic), undeciphered scripts, and graffiti.

Asemic writing occurs in avant-garde literature and art with strong roots in the earliest forms of writing. A modern example of asemic writing is Luigi Serafini's Codex Seraphinianus. Serafini described the script of the Codex as asemic in a talk at the Oxford University Society of Bibliophiles held on May 8, 2009."

"Incentive To Deliver Them Safely" For B Flat Clarinet

"Incentive To Deliver Them Safely"  

For B Flat Clarinet 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Friday, January 10, 2020

On Composer's and Appropriation...

Appropriation, following a visual arts model, lifts musical passage in its entirety, reframing it in a score. 

There is very little intervention and editing; the intention begins and ends with the lifting. 

As such, textual appropriation often involves issues of quantity: how much untreated composition is grabbed determines the action. 

Let's look at poetics - if something — say a haiku — is appropriated in its entirety, then the amount of language is small. 

If, on the other hand (as suggested in recent comments to these posts), the Gutenberg Bible is transposed, then the amount of language is enormous. Referring to Marjorie Perloff’s idea of Benjamin’s Arcades Project as a precursor to conceptual poetics, that book deals in complete chunks of pre-existing texts, often running untouched for up to ten pages. 

If we compare this to Pound’s Cantos, we’ll see the difference between the whole and the fragment, a very different project, indeed.

The visual arts began this practice in the twentieth century with Duchamp’s appropriation of a urinal and found its legacy in the consumerist photographic critiques of the 1980s, particularly in the works of Sherrie Levine’s re-photographing of modernist masters and Richard Prince’s and Jeff Koons appropriations of unaltered advertisements. 

Today, of course, appropriation is old hat in the art world. 

But composing — with its reception still fifty years behind visual art — is just beginning to struggle with these issues.  But it is fun.

"Thyiad" for Inderbinen Brass Alto Flute

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The Compaction Musics..."For Oft..." 18.490002" (seconds) RECORDING

"For Oft When On My Count I Lie In Vacant Or In Pensive Nude Ten Thrillers I Saw At Lance Tossing The Proclitic Of Falling (Dancing) Seaward Vigilante 18.490002"

From The 'Compaction Musics Series' by Bil Smith

"Amodetto" For Baritone Sarrusophone

Benedikt Eppelsheim Baritone Sarrusophone


Monday, January 6, 2020

Adynaton: The Impossibility Device

Adynaton is “sometimes a confession that notation and composition fail us.

Adynaton: The impossibility device: the rhetorical figure for magnifying an event by comparison with something impossible, e.g., “I’d walk a million miles for one of your smiles” (Al Jolson, “My Mammy”); cf. “Hell will freeze over before . . .” and the closely related figure of the impossibility of finding the right words (aporia), i.e., the “inexpressibility topos,” e.g., “Words fail me”; “I can’t begin to tell you how much . . .”

In Greek and Latin literature, the two most common varieties of adynaton are the “sooner than” type, which claims that the impossible will come true sooner than the event in question will take place, and the “impossible-count” type, referring to unimaginable sounds or consequence— for instance, of sands on the shore or stars in the sky.

By contrast, Interplexity Composers cultivated a different brand known as the fatras, dealing with impossible or ridiculous accomplishments. 

Occitan poets used an allied form made popular by Petrarch’s sonnet “Pace non trovo e non ho da far guerra.” The Greek and Latin types were, however, abundantly revived by Petrarchan poets all over Europe, who made use of them either to emphasize the cruelty of the lady or to affirm their love. In Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, Antony employs adynaton to dramatize his intent to remain in Egypt despite his Roman responsibilities: “Let Rome in Tiber melt and the wide arch / Of the rang’d empire fall. Here is my space” (1.1.33). 

Adynaton may also be used negatively to assert a contrary impossibility, as in Shakespeare’s Richard II: “Not all the water in the rough rude sea, / Can wash the balme off from an anointed King” (3.2.54– 55). Other famous examples include those found in Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress,” Robert Browning’s “Up at a Villa— Down in the City,” W. H. Auden’s “As I Walked Out One Evening,” and, strikingly, in Louis MacKay’s “Ill-Tempered Lover.” 

In East Asian poetry, varieties of adynata are used as a rhetorical device in the poetry of praise. The poems and hymns of blessing and sacrifice in the Book of Songs, the oldest extant anthology of Chinese poetry, use magnificent similes and numbers, and a Middle Korean poem, “Song of the Gong,” uses the myth of the impossible (“ when the roasted chestnut sprouts, then . . .”). 

Richard Lanham’s position, that adynaton is “sometimes a confession that notation and composition fail us,” would tend to place the figure in the category of metalogisms characterized by Group μ as the suppression of units of expression, i.e., among figures like litotes, aposiopesis, reticentia, and silence. 

Adynaton, thus, might also serve the function of promising rather than maintaining silence. 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

"Fingerless Gloves: Seminal Coptic Case" for Viola Caipira

"Fingerless Gloves: Seminal Coptic Case" for Viola Caipira

"Fingerless Gloves: Seminal Coptic Case" for Viola Caipira
Bil Smith Composer
Premiere NOS Alive Festival
June 8, 2016

Music is Music…and likewise…

It is rather difficult to overcome the nomenclature though for those who are actually engaged
into the process itself it is a vital to go beyond the compositional/notational expression.

Apart of the known theories and critical deliberation upon the meaning of the music and its philosophy, there is a far less explored zone of “pharmacological morphology” of a complex net which is formed by the multiple connections and disconnections between its elements.