Mutations I - X
for string quartet, piano, and electronics(2005)
|Commission||Commissioned by Ethel String Quartet’s Foundation for the Arts with funds provided by the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust|
|Premiere||January 27, 2005; Merkin Concert Hall, New York, NY; ETHEL String Quartet • Vijay Iyer, piano|
|Technical requirements||This work requires electronic files for performance. The electronic files are not included with your purchase; please contact email@example.com to acquire the electronics package.|
The music in Mutations combines conventional notation, improvisational techniques, real-time decision-making, and electronic music derived from samples of a string quartet. Originally, the piano parts (notated and improvised) and electronic parts were both performed by the composer.
The electronic portions were made and performed using the Ableton Live software (version 4.0). These “Live sets” are meant to be “mixed” improvisationally by the performer in tandem with the strings; this can be accomplished using a midi controller with sliders mapped to the onscreen faders in Ableton Live. The electronic parts are not notated, beyond the information contained within the files themselves. The composer’s preference is apparent from the premiere recording, but the piece is designed with this variability in mind.
Two of the movements (the second and the seventh) include references to a “gesture palette,” which is a page of supplemental notated music for strings, included at the end of the score.
At the end of movement 3, strings are instructed to “repeat and fade with mutations.” This means that these bars are to be cycled with pitch variation. Each part alternates between two pitches; on repeat, choose two new pitches and play the same phrase on these new pitches, in the same rhythm.
- Vijay Iyer