Majority of One
Majority of One is a composition for four sustaining instruments and low room feedback.
It was commissioned for the Berlin ensemble ‘Arcades’
It features on the album Cat Hope: Decibel, on swiss label Ezz-thetics.
This work is part of a series that explores the power of limited materials. Each instrument has a very limited and restricted range in the piece, but explores it through the timbral variation of pitch bending and extreme, constant, smooth control of microscopic change. This is also realized in a scored ‘room feedback’ part that engages the harmonic qualities of each venue the piece is played in.
From an interview with David Charlton, Jolyon Laycock and Morton Feldman in 1966, the year of Hope’s birth:
C: Do you think that indeterminate music, your music, is for yourself or for everybody?
MF: I think it is for everybody; I think that all art has its special audience. You have the certain types of faces that you see at a Renaissance concert, at a Wagner concert. It has its audience as well as any other music has its audience. All audiences are departmentalised; so I think it is a kind of fantasy to think of a "serial" audience. I met someone who could only listen to Mendelssohn: he was an audience of one.
L: As long as you have an audience, no matter how large or small it is, your music has a reason.
MF: Well, one is a majority of one!
Follow one of the coloured lines per player for the whole piece. The green and orange parts have spaces for breathing, so assign these to wind players if you have them. The three grey lines are reference lines that represent the outside range of a single, ongoing sound - the top line is the highest point, the bottom is the lowest, and the middle is the ‘starting’ or stable, middle point. The movement must always be seamless, interrupted only by breath or bow. Dynamic is unchanging – soft. Only the feedback has dynamic variation – from very, very soft, to soft, never louder than the instruments. This should be a low, warm feedback that remains under control at all times.
Bend your note by whatever mechanism you choose, but it must be without steps. The bottom octave of the instrument is preferred. The distance between the highest and lowest pitch ‘bend’ for each instrument may be different, but it is important that the motion between the extremes be constant, as smooth and coordinated as possible at all times. Breath when you need to, gently and naturally.
The score should be read in the Decibel ScorePlayer app on an iPad, so you can see your own parts ( 2 per part), but can also be read as a video score.
Aracdes, Berlin May 17 2016
'Chance Figurations' by Decibel new music ensemble at Tokyo Wondersite, Japan, 10 December 2017
Kunitachi College of Music, Tokyo, Japan15 December, 2017
Monash Animated Notation Ensemble, Progress Festival, Monash University, 2018
New North: Veils, Monash Animated Notation Ensemble, Brunswick Mechanics Institute, 2021.