for Tape and Piano
Grant Chu Covell 1997
A performance of Within requires the preparation of a Tape part using one of these three suggested methods:
During a performance of Within no pitch is to ever sound while another is sounding. Since the Tape part cannot change during a performance (in this version of Within), the pianist must listen and react to the Tape part and only play during the silences of the Tape part. Should the pianist inadvertently sound a pitch (or have inadvertently sounded more than one pitch in succession) while the Tape part is sounding a pitch, the pianist must wait until the Tape part falls silent and then replay the pitch (or pitches) before continuing.
The pianist can only play the given pitches (the lower system), and can only play them in the given order. But for each pitch, the pianist must determine both the dynamic of the pitch and the duration of the pitch. The pianist cannot play any pitches simultaneously but can attempt to play more than one pitch during the silences of the Tape part. Arpeggiation of pitches is therefore possible (but somewhat impractical due to the wide leaps between pitches). It is permissible to play inside the piano or to prepare the piano as long as the given written pitch is still audible.
The pitches on the Tape part always sound in the order given. The seventeen versions of the Tape part on the CD differ from one another by the timbre and duration of the pitches and the length of silence between them. There are exactly 44 different timbres and each is used just once. The durations and length of silence between pitches are taken from a table of 128 values, and each value can only be used once. Each pitch of the Tape part indicated in the score is the fundamental or source frequency that governs the sounding pitch. It is possible that there will be octave displacement (up or down) from the given fundamental. The dotted barlines are only for reference. There is approximately 10 seconds of silence before the first tape pitch and at least 10 seconds of silence after the last tape pitch.
Performance anxiety is an intentional component of Within. The pianist who wants to succeed, that is, avoid playing when the Tape part is sounding a pitch, will probably choose to play pointillistically and probably play each pitch with a very short duration. Within is more satisfying to perform, and more interesting to listen to, when the pianist tries to play pitches with long durations. Pitches with long durations increase the chance for simultaneities and consequently the likelihood that pitches will have to be repeated, and as the number of pitches which the pianist has to play increases, so does the chance for more simultaneities and more repeated pitches.
Within is closely related to Quartet Game for String Quartet (1997). In Quartet Game, 30 pitches are divided among the four players. During a performance of Quartet Game, only one pitch is to sound at any time and there is never to be more than one player playing at any time. When a simultaneity does occur, all four players must start playing from the beginning.
The accompanying CD contains seventeen versions of the Tape part for Within that were realized in December of 1997. The Tape parts were generated from the Csound score and orchestra files on the accompanying diskette which are supplied so that additional Tape parts can be generated (instructions appear in the within.sco file). The Tape parts on the CD were realized using the Mills PowerPC port version 0.3.1b (Csound version 3.47). The seventeen versions of the Tape part on the CD can be distinguished by their index or by their seed (the seed is the number that initializes the random number generator used to create each Tape part).
duration: ca. 5 min.
-Grant Chu Covell
Somerville, Massachusetts, December 1997