Saturday, March 30, 2024


Page from "Engineering Secrets Whose Blessings We Enjoy"

For Solo Flute.

Bil Smith Composer

Page inspired by Enrico Castellani

New composition for solo Flute inspired by Piero Manzoni, Fortunato Depero, Aldo Tambellini, Mimmo Rotella and the Arte Povera movement. This tablature was born from a need for separation from the traditional. This notation in no way relates to aesthetic fantasies or a quest for fashionable effects, but concern compositional facts that imply an entirely new kind of musical interpretation.

"Flee, Like An Explosion Of Heaviness." The Full Score (PDF). For Piano, Thein Piccolo Trombone and Contraforte

The Contraforte from Benedikt Eppelsheim

"Flee, Like An Explosion Of Heaviness."  

For Piano, Thein Piccolo Trombone and Contraforte

Bil Smith Composer

The Full Score (PDF)

Commissioned by The Santander Group

The score for "Flee, Like an Explosion of Heaviness" unfolds not merely as a set of musical instructions but as an experiential odyssey for the musicians—Piano, Thein Piccolo Trombone, and Contraforte—similar to the way a theatrical visionary might deconstruct the medium to reveal its core. Yet, unlike Brecht's intention to expose the mechanics of theater, this composition directs its dramatic essence into the physicality of the performers themselves.

The piece opens with an array of guidance icons, each one an invitation to interpret and explore beyond the normative expectations of notation. These symbols are imbued with an ethical potency, challenging the performers to engage with the music on a level that is both introspective and socially conscious.

This score is deconstructivist in essence, breaking down the established structures and expectations by employing a variety of techniques, the visual language of the score spans "narrative, romantic, axiometric, schematic, or completely abstract" visuals, each contributing to the overarching dialogue of the piece.

This is a composition that lives in a continuous dialectic between fact and implication, concrete performance guidance, and the suggested emotive or conceptual associations they evoke.

The musicians become akin to mendicant pilgrims, each carrying the entire weight and wonder of the theater within themselves. They navigate the score’s landscape with animistic devotion, embodying an apt analogy to the piece's compositional journey. The score's evolution is a pilgrimage across the vast terrain of human experience and artistic expression, where the performers' bodies are not merely instruments but sanctuaries of sound, housing the sacred essence of music and drama.

This embodiment of the theatrical in each performer reflects a unique compositional ethos. The performers are invited to become vessels of a drama that transcends the physical instruments in their hands. Their rigorously trained and sensitized bodies are tasked with channeling an entire edifice of musical theater, evoking a rich tableau of emotion and story through their every movement and note.

The spirit of "Flee, Like an Explosion of Heaviness" is one of nomadism and improvisation, characteristics that emerge in isolated, yet profoundly impactful moments throughout the performance. These moments spotlight the notational devices within the score, which, through their reliance on incongruity and paradox, animate the raw visual constructs with an enigmatic vitality.

As the piece progresses, these notational symbols and cues—spread whimsically across the page—spark flashes of understanding and illumination in the performers. It is within these ephemeral instances that the score breathes life, fostering a sense of living art that grows and evolves in the hands of those who interpret it.

"Flee, Like an Explosion of Heaviness," in its essence, champions a musical theater of the mind and soul, one that is carried within the performers and bestowed upon the audience not as a fixed narrative but as a journey of discovery. The score, through its visual and notational paradoxes, becomes a catalyst for this transformative process—a process where every musician is both a pilgrim and a storyteller, weaving tales not through words, but through the resonant language of music.

Friday, March 29, 2024

"Engineering Secrets Whose Blessings We Enjoy" For Solo Flute. Bil Smith Composer (Complete Score)

"Engineering Secrets Whose Blessings We Enjoy"  

For Solo Flute.  

Bil Smith Composer

New composition for solo Flute inspired by Piero Manzoni, Fortunato Depero, Aldo Tambellini, Mimmo Rotella and the Arte Povera movement.  This tablature was born from a need for separation from the traditional.  This notation in no way relates to aesthetic fantasies or a quest for fashionable effects, but concern compositional facts that imply an entirely new kind of musical interpretation.


Thursday, March 28, 2024

"Defender Sect" for Marimba


"Defender Sect" for Marimba

Bil Smith Composer

Published by LNM Editions

"Defender Sect" eschews the conventional musical notation system and instead embraces a divergent set of combinatorial tablatures. This departure from the norm is akin to a magical realism, where the everyday world is infused with elements of the fantastical. Combinations of symbols and patterns on the tablature become the keys to unlocking the secrets of this enchanting composition. The performer like a character in a Marquez novel, must navigate this new reality, deciphering the intricate code to reveal the hidden narrative of the music.

In Marquez's literary world, characters often grapple with the mystical and the inexplicable. Similarly, "Defender Sect" underscores the need for a wholly lucid and impelling vision. Within the intricate web of combinatorial tablatures lies the challenge of control amidst chaos. The Marimbist is called upon not merely to play the notes but to become custodians of an enigmatic realm. He/She must possess a vision that allows one to remain aloof from potentially enthralling novelties within the composition, to control and not simply be controlled by its mesmerizing intricacies.

This composition takes the performer on a journey that traverses profound continuities and significant ruptures. The oscillating tablatures create an ever-shifting landscape, where musical themes evolve and intertwine, only to be suddenly disrupted by unexpected twists. The composition challenges our perception of time and continuity, akin to a portrayal of the past, present, and future coexisting in a magical realist tale.

Within the realm of the score, visual metaphors abound resembling ancient glyphs or cryptic manuscripts which serve as a visual representation of my capacity for detachment and projection. The Marimbist is tasked not only with playing the notes but with interpreting these visual symbols, weaving them into the sonic tapestry.

Fanfare "Xenium" for Trombone

What sets "Fanfare Xenium" apart is its profound engagement with the concept of alienation—not in the sense of estrangement or loneliness, but as an artistic strategy. The piece deliberately alienates aspects of conventional musical traditions, extracting them from their familiar contexts and recontextualizing them within a new, metaphorical space. This space, pressured by the introduction of disparate objects and ideas, becomes a canvas upon which meaning is both constructed and deconstructed.

Contrary to the practices of composers who work within metaphorical spaces or who seek to depict space in their compositions, "Fanfare Xenium" eschews these approaches in favor of something more radical. The piece does not endeavor to represent space; instead, it challenges the very notion of what space can signify in music. Through its notational innovation and conceptual depth, "Fanfare Xenium" invites the performer to navigate this uncharted territory, relying on their interpretive skills to bridge the gap between the isolated elements presented in the score.

"Turing". The Score. For Baritone Voice. Text by Keith Barnard. Music by Bil Smith.


The Score

For Baritone Voice

Text by Keith Barnard

Music by Bil Smith

This score is structured around a series of logical propositions and mathematical sequences, which are transformed into musical notation. This transmutation of abstract, conceptual thought into the realm of sound invites a reevaluation of the very essence of communication and understanding, echoing Quine's contention that the meaning of any utterance or symbol is inherently tied to its empirical and contextual usage.

The baritone voice, in this context, serves as both the medium and the message—a vehicle for conveying Turing's groundbreaking ideas and a symbolic representation of Turing himself. Through this vocal embodiment, "Turing" engages with Quine's thesis on the indeterminacy of translation, illustrating the challenges inherent in translating complex ideas from one domain (mathematics and logic) into another (musical notation and performance). This process is fraught with ambiguities and interpretative freedoms, yet it is precisely in these spaces of uncertainty that the score for "Turing" finds its expressive power.

The score delves into the recursive nature of logic and mathematical sequences, employing these as motifs that recur and evolve throughout the composition. This recursive structure mirrors the logical systems that Turing himself developed, serving as a musical analogue to Turing's computational theories. The score, therefore, can be seen as a kind of ontological inquiry, probing the relationships between symbols, their referents, and the systems of thought that underpin them.

In translating Turing's abstract concepts into the concrete form of a musical score, I confront the Quinean dilemma of ontological relativity—the idea that our understanding of the world, and the language we use to describe it, is always mediated by our conceptual framework. "Turing" thus becomes a reflection on the limits of representation and the perpetual quest for understanding that drives both scientific inquiry and artistic expression.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

"Imperial Catechism". For Piccolo and Corno da Caccia. The Full Score (PDF)

Corno da Caccia

"Imperial Catechism"

For Piccolo and Corno da Caccia

Bil Smith Composer

Published By LNM Editions

(Laboratorie New Music)

Link to The Full Score (PDF)

Within the score for "Imperial Catechism" we find a notational approach that eschews conventional musical symbols in favor of permutations of geometric forms and symbolic ciphers. These elements are paired and displaced, crafting a visual and auditory puzzle that beckons the performers to engage in a deeper level of interpretation and interaction with the piece. This method not only challenges the performers to rethink their approach to music-making but also invites them to traverse the poles of expressivity, from surplus to subjugation, within the framework of the composition.

The score of is a veritable playground of artifactual expression, exploiting the fluctuating value and overavailability of certain images within the current visual economy. By presenting these images in an alternate visual context, the composition transforms what might otherwise be considered exhausted motifs into elements of a fantasy that serves as a vehicle for exploring the legitimacy or absurdity of the underlying phenomena. This approach stages a paradoxical confrontation between excess and impoverishment—or precarity—highlighting the tension between abundance and lack that permeates the modern compositional experience.

In considering the contemporary doxa of sculptural notational production, "Imperial Catechism" occupies a unique position. The piece can be understood as contextualist, engaging with questions of site-specificity, discursive, and institutional criticality.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

"Tastes of Silt and Sulphur" for Alto Clarinet, Flugelhorn and Euphonium

"Tastes of Silt and Sulphur" 

for Alto Clarinet, Flugelhorn and Euphonium

Bil Smith Composer

Published by LNM Editions

Link To Full Score PDF

Central of "Tastes of Silt and Sulphur" is a notational system dubbed a "framework shifting structural notation system." It was developed specifically for this score to afford performers a granular level of investigation into the music. This system is infinitely propositional, providing an architectural frame within which interpretation remains intriguingly unhoused.

Frame Shifting is not merely a theoretical concept but a call to action for musicians, composers, scholars, and educators to re-examine and expand the boundaries of how music is documented and notated. By embracing a wider array of artistic discourses and mediums, we can capture the richness and diversity of musical expression in ways that are both innovative and inclusive. In doing so, we pave the way for a more comprehensive and cross-cultural understanding of music that honors its multifaceted nature.

This approach to notation forms an elemental stratum in the accreted layers of what can only be described as hyper-tonal notational symbology. Through this method, the composition transcends traditional musical boundaries, offering a spectrum of tonal possibilities that challenge both the performers' technical abilities and interpretative prowess. The score becomes a living document, endlessly adaptable and open to the personal insights and creativity of those who engage with it.

In "Tastes of Silt and Sulphur," the use of such a complex and flexible notational system mirrors the thematic essence of the piece—the elemental, almost primordial, sensations evoked by its title. Just as silt and sulphur suggest layers of geological and chemical transformation, so too does the score invite performers and listeners to experience layers of musical transformation.