Sunday, June 30, 2024

"Esperplode" for Alto Flute


For Alto Flute

Bil Smith Composer

26" X 16"

In the score of "Esperplode" for Alto Flute, we encounter a radical deconstruction of the traditional notational system. This piece, through its intricate network of spheres and circles fashioned from 3D models and proprietary colorization techniques, destabilizes the very foundations of how music is conceptualized, performed, and experienced.

The use of 3D structural modeling in the notation of "Esperplode" represents a profound shift from the linear, two-dimensional plane of traditional scores to a multi-dimensional, spatial-temporal representation of sound. These geometric forms, these spheres and circles, do not merely symbolize musical elements in a conventional sense. They embody a multiplicity of potentialities, each one a différance, a deferred presence that both signifies and disrupts the expected continuity of musical narrative. They demand an interpretive act that is as much about what is not there, the absences and silences, as it is about the audible notes.

Colorization, applied through proprietary techniques, further complicates this interplay. The colors are not mere aesthetic embellishments; they are integral signifiers within the notational system. Each hue, each shade, is a trace, a mark of difference that resonates with the music’s thematic and emotional undercurrents. These colors enact a play of presence and absence, guiding the performer through a landscape of meaning that is as much visual as it is auditory. The colors themselves become a text, a script that must be read and interpreted in conjunction with the sound.

In this way, "Esperplode" absorbs our gaze and extends it beyond the immediate visual field, compelling us to engage with the horizon of our experience. The score is not a static entity but a dynamic process, a site of continuous becoming. It is a pharmakon, both remedy and poison, healing the fragmentation of traditional notation while simultaneously introducing a complexity that can never be fully resolved. The spheres and circles, with their inherent curvature and fluidity, resist the linearity of traditional notation, embodying instead a non-linear, rhizomatic structure that echoes Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of a map that is always in motion.

In "Esperplode," the score becomes a site of jouissance, a space where the limits of language and notation are tested and transgressed. It embodies a Lacanian real that eludes full comprehension, a kernel of the impossible that lies at the heart of artistic creation. The performer, in engaging with this score, must navigate a terrain where meaning is always in flux, where the act of interpretation is a perpetual negotiation with the unknown.


Saturday, June 29, 2024

"Orgone Dossier" for Soprano Voice

"Orgone Dossier" for Soprano Voice

Bil Smith Composer


In the score of "Orgone Dossier" for Soprano Voice, I confront the unconscious textuality of musical notation, a discourse that resists the simplistic transparency of language and transcends its conventional bounds. The composition, steeped in the neologistic structuralism akin to a global pharmacopeia, challenges standard interpretations and demands a reconsideration of the signifier and signified within musical contexts.

"Orgone Dossier" thus becomes a site where the real intrudes upon the symbolic; the score does not serve as a mere repository of musical instructions but as a field of jouissance, where enjoyment is intertwined with a certain terror of what lies beyond the decipherable. The soprano’s voice, tasked with navigating this landscape, encounters a lexicon that oscillates between meaning and absurdity, demanding a surrender to the unknown aspects of the text.

The structuralist approach, often rigid in its linguistic determinations, is subverted here through the introduction of terms from the pharmacopeial vocabulary that resist conventional semantic assignments. These terms, embedded within the score, act as points de capiton—anchoring points—yet they simultaneously dislocate meaning. The score thus serves as a mirror reflecting the fragmented self back to the performer, inviting a confrontation with the internal otherness that is the unconscious.

Through "Orgone Dossier," we are invited to witness the unfolding of the voice as it engages with a text that is always incomplete, always producing new meaning through its gaps and voids. This engagement is not merely an act of performance but an act of interpretation that reveals the subject’s desire—the desire to make the unintelligible intelligible, to find harmony in dissonance, and ultimately, to confront the core of one’s artistic being.

In this light, the score of "Orgone Dossier" represents a liminal space where the known and the unknown meet, where the voice seeks to articulate what is fundamentally inarticulable. It stands as a testament to the Lacanian assertion that the most profound truths lie where words fail, and it is here, in this failure, that true artistry begins.

Friday, June 28, 2024

The Jubal Project and Metabolist Composition

First Installment of "The Jubal Project" can be found here:

Metabolism is a term used in music to describe a philosophy and approach to composition that emphasizes the idea that music is a living, dynamic entity that is constantly evolving and changing over time. Metabolism is often associated with a group of Japanese composers who were active in the 1960s and 1970s, known as the "Metabolists" or the "Group of Four". 

According to this philosophy, the music score is not a fixed, static entity, but rather a starting point for a musical work that is continually evolving and changing through the performance and interpretation of the musicians. In other words, the score is seen as a kind of "blueprint" for the music, rather than a finished product. 

Metabolist composers often employ techniques such as indeterminacy, improvisation, and aleatory (chance) elements in their music, in order to create a sense of spontaneity and unpredictability. They also emphasize the use of technology and electronic instruments, such as synthesizers and computers, to create new sounds and textures. 

Overall, the philosophy of metabolism is a rejection of the idea of music as a fixed, unchanging object, and an embrace of music as a dynamic and ever-evolving art form. 

In this compositional notation system (archetype), the performer is charged with adapting patterns to fluctuating desires and contingencies which can be an ongoing process with the performance becoming a method of directing change in the musical interpretation; a way of guiding them through different configurations. This relies on making and using patterns found within the notation that are more responsive than their modernist predecessors.

Visual Coherence  


The patterns found within this new notational system are first and foremost visual ones.  They are intended to provide the performer’s interpretation with aesthetic clarity despite differences in individual components.  Visual attributes are always present and recognizable, so a base pattern’s identity remains separate yet linked to the sonic forces that shape it.

Because of its internal consistency, a pattern produces gestalts that allow the performer to recognize and understand otherwise overwhelmingly complex visualizations. 

Friday, June 21, 2024

Three pages from a Viola composition 2+ years in the making. (Created with Renee Baker in mind)

Three pages from a Viola composition 2+ years in the making.

Created with Renee Baker in mind.

Anticipated completion this month


"Stand Corrected". Une nouvelle praxis de Laboratorie New Music.

"Stand Corrected". Une nouvelle praxis de Laboratorie New Music.

First Up... "Enter the Viola. Alone."  ...  later this evening

String theory is an area of research in theoretical physics (SonicPhysics) that seeks to unite quantum mechanics - our current theory of very small objects - with general relativity - our current theory of very large objects.

"Stand Corrected" A 'continuism'...the notion of virtuality permits us to reverse the signs. 

Apply liberally to composition

"It's a typical , everyday one night thing"

-Ja Rule

"Exeo" for Alto Flute

Thursday, June 20, 2024

"Galador" for Piano. 3'16". Bil Smith Composer

"Galador" for Piano.  


Bil Smith Composer

The score for "Galador" presents a fusion of conceptual schemata, evoking geometrical figures, numbers, and cryptic notations reminiscent of an artist's notebook. This collage of symbols, akin to Boldano's fragmented narratives, invites the viewer—or in this case, the pianist—to navigate a complex web of meanings and associations.

The paradox within "Galador" lies in its simultaneous embrace of contemporary epistemology and the retention of the values of pictorial sensibility. It pushes the boundaries of artistic expression, embracing both the intellectual and the sensual aspects of compositional interpretation. The score employs diagrams, modular structures, and serial arrangements, alluding to the universals of mathematics and linguistics. These elements serve as a testament to the ever-evolving nature of composition's ability to adapt to new forms of expression.

The use of graphic elements mirrors the calligraphic tradition of Twombly's painting, imbuing the composition with an expressive, gestural quality. It is as if the score becomes a canvas upon which the composer's emotions and interpretations are painted.

The exploration of graffiti-like symbols and abstract forms within "Galador" harks back to a fascination with the mundane and the everyday. Like graffiti scrawled in unexpected places, these symbols in the score provide sociological referents, inviting the pianist to contemplate their meaning and significance within the context of the composition.

The rejection of Surrealist automatism in the later stages of "Galador" parallels the shift from superimposed layers of graffiti to recognizable clues and regressive imagery reflects a desire to engage with the performer on a more visceral level.


Wednesday, June 19, 2024

When Text Becomes the Notation. The Text Score

Gone are the days when musical scores were confined to the rigid lines and dots of standard notation. Today, composers are experimenting with scripts of words, sentences, and textual expressions as the framework for their musical creations. This novel method is not just a shift in notation; it's a complete reimagining of the performer's role and the audience's experience.

Imagine a violinist, traditionally trained to read and interpret classical scores, now faced with a sheet of poetry or a narrative excerpt. Each word, each phrase, becomes a cue for musical interpretation. The pitch, tempo, and dynamics are no longer dictated by traditional musical symbols but are inferred from the emotional and semantic content of the text. This approach demands a new level of creativity and emotional intelligence from performers, who must now become adept at translating linguistic nuances into musical expression.

Consider this: At what point do our objects, our musical instruments, the texts we read, become extensions of us? Or inversely, when do we morph into mere extensions of these objects, these texts? This is not just a question of physicality but of essence, of being. In a world where music is guided by the ebbs and flows of text, the boundary that separates self from other, or inside from outside, becomes intriguingly permeable.

The concept becomes even more radical when we ponder the rearrangeability of these boundaries. In a conventional orchestra, a violinist is just a violinist, a cellist merely a cellist, bound by the physicality of their instruments and the strictures of their music sheets. But in this new realm, where words guide music interpretation, a musician becomes a poet, a storyteller, a sculptor of soundscapes, unconfined by the traditional borders of their role.

Henry Miller, in his defiance of literary norms, often blurred the lines between the writer and the written, the observer and the observed. Similarly, in this textual approach to music composition, the line between the composer and the performer, the score and the interpretation, is deliciously muddled. 

The performer, interpreting text, must navigate these fluid boundaries, deciding in the moment whether to be a vessel for the music or the architect of it.

This exploration into text-based composition is not just a musical endeavor; it’s an ontological one. It asks profound questions about our identity as creators and interpreters. Just as Miller's prose dissected the human experience, this new musical form dissects the experience of creation and performance. It forces us to confront the transient nature of our identities, our roles, and our creations.

This innovative use of text in composition is also redefining the audience's experience. The listeners are no longer just passive recipients of predetermined melodies and harmonies. Instead, they are invited into a more engaged and subjective experience. As the performers interpret the text, the music becomes a reflection of that interpretation, offering a multitude of perspectives and emotional landscapes. Each performance, inherently unique in its interpretation of the text, becomes a conversation between the composer, the performer, and the audience.

The potential for diversity in expression is vast. A single piece of text can be interpreted in myriad ways, depending on the performer's perspective, emotional state, and artistic choices. This opens up a realm of possibilities where a single composition can give rise to a spectrum of musical renditions, each as valid and compelling as the next.

Furthermore, this approach democratizes the compositional process. Text-based notation is inherently more accessible than traditional musical notation, allowing composers from various backgrounds to express their musical ideas. It also encourages collaboration across disciplines, inviting poets, writers, and storytellers to contribute to the musical creative process.

However, this radical shift is not without its challenges. The subjective nature of text interpretation can lead to vastly different performances of the same piece, potentially causing inconsistencies and confusion. The lack of a standardized system for text-based notation also poses a challenge for widespread adoption and understanding.

Despite these challenges, the use of text as a compositional tool represents a significant leap forward in the evolution of music. It breaks down barriers between different art forms, encourages innovative thinking among composers and performers, and offers audiences a more immersive and personal experience.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

New Composition in Progress. Excerpt


Sound Storms: The 3D Sculptural Scores of Nathalie Miebach

Nathalie Miebach's work focuses on the intersection of art and science and the visual articulation of scientific observations. Her woven sculptures interpret scientific data related to astronomy, ecology and meteorology in three-dimensional space. Her pieces simultaneously function as works of art, aural embodiments of data (musical compositions) and instruments that illustrate environmental change.

By utilizing artistic processes and everyday materials, Miebach questions and expands the boundaries of traditional science data visualization -- and provokes expectations of what visual vocabulary is considered to be in the domain of science and art

Nathalie's Statement:
My work focuses on the intersection of art and science and the visual articulation of scientific observations. Using the methodologies and processes of both disciplines, I translate scientific data related to astronomy, ecology and meteorology woven sculptures. My method of translation is principally that of weaving – in particular basket weaving – as it provides me with a simple yet highly effective grid through which to interpret data in three-dimensional space. By staying true to the numbers, these woven pieces tread an uneasy divide between functioning both as sculptures in space as well as instruments that could be used in the actual environment from which the data originates.

Central to this work is my desire to explore the role visual aesthetics play in the translation and understanding of science information. By utilizing artistic processes and everyday materials, I am questioning and expanding boundaries through which science data has been traditionally visually translated (ex: graphs, diagrams), while at the same time provoking expectations of what kind of visual vocabulary is considered to be in the domain of ‘science’ or ‘art’.

For my most recent project called “Recording and Translating Climate Change”, I gather weather observations from specific ecosystems using very simple data-collecting devices. The numbers are then compared to historical / global meteorological trends, before being translated into sculpture. By examining the complex behavioral interactions of living/non-living systems between weather and an environment, I hope to gain a better understanding of complexity of systems and behaviors that make up weather and climate change. Lately, I have also started to translate the data into musical scores, which are then interpreted through sculptures as well as through collaborations with musicians. My aim is twofold: to convey a nuance or level of emotionality surrounding my research that thus far has been absent from my visual work and to reveal patterns in the data musicians might identify which I have failed to see. 

‘When a musician writes a score that must be mechanically carried through, compelling the interpreter to follow it as if he was a machine… what is the sense to make it for a human being if it can be made for a machine? A music score that imposes such a severity has no sense. Ideas must be free and the musicians who will play must be creative.’ Self-invented notation gives musical scores the possibility of an open-ended future – a future with its roots in history, but one that also invites the entire world to join in an artistic conversation about our shared humanity."

- John Cage

Saturday, June 8, 2024

“Tesellect Ausarta et al Delicon” for Solo Violin


“Tesellect Ausarta et al Delicon” for Solo Violin

Bil Smith Composer

Published by LNM Editions

“Tesellect Ausarta et al Delicon” for solo violin utilizes a dense multi-modal notation system based on the fluctuations of iconographic shadows and mutable planes to create an immersive performative experience that expands momentary perception into hybrid topological spaces.

Rather than a static representation, the notation traces topographical pathways across both horizontal and vertical surfaces in constant flux. The performer navigates this impermanent terrain of lines and shifting graphic contours through a personalized orientation to the score’s internal logic and codes.

Auditory stimuli echo visual negations, resonating both presence and absence simultaneously from a single bow stroke thanks to the notation’s reductionist yet evocative minimal language.

Amidst the apparent chaos lies a hidden logic. The scores establishes a "reductive simplicity" within the system, a code accessible to those who engage with its intricacies. This accessibility, paired with the score's inherent visual intrigue, invests the piece with a peculiar authority – the authority of rational thought and reason applied to the seemingly irrational realm of shadows.

Processing these clustered graphic traces requires refined perceptual focus within each instantaneous choice point, at once losing and finding one’s place again repetitively. The resulting sound world therefore reflects the continual re-stabilization of perspective amidst registers of enduring change.

In this way, rational thought intersects intuitive flow states to birth an intricate counterpoint grounded by persistent instability. As listener, we enter fugal worlds where each singular tone intimates a multiplicity of concurrent alternate musical realities that flicker at the edges of our awareness.