Plain is a series I have been working on since April 2015. It is an ongoing project each part of which explores the materiality of a single instrument and its physical relationship with the performer. The notation is a tablature that, instead of telling performers what sounds to make, describes what should be done to the instruments, whatever the result may be.
My desire is to provoke each instrument in a variety of ways in order to extract a comprehensive representation of its essence as a physical object. This first piece is for two bowed strings, of which there is currently one recording on dichord and another on violin. The instruments are distilled to a plain form that makes use of open strings alone. The performers explore unusual positioning of bow on string and nuanced variation of right-hand pressure, speed, and rotation.
This recording is from a perfromance by Wilson Tanner Smith at Northwestern University