Five Steps to Success

1. This piece can be played by any number of players more than 2. Each player must have 5 distinct sounds, to be played in a set order.

2. Throughout the piece, each player decides independently when to play and when to rest. (Playing is described in detail in #4.)

3. A common pulse continues throughout the piece. The players decide the tempo of the pulse. The tempo can change during the course of the piece, but all players must change tempo together at all times. The pulse is always common.

4. All playing is done on the pulse, with no subdivisions and no pulses left out (except when a player decides to rest), and progresses through 9 stages using the 5 sounds as follows:

      1) 1111111... etc.... rest
      2) 12121212... etc.... rest
      3) 123123123... etc.... rest
      4) 12341234... etc.... rest
      5) 1234512345... etc.... rest
      6) 23452345 ... etc.... rest
      7) 345345345 ... etc.... rest
      8) 454545 ... etc.... rest
      9) 555555 ... etc.... rest (finished)

5.  - Dynamics are left up to the players.
     - The total duration of the piece will be determined by the players´ choices of how long to play and rest at each of the 9 stages.
     - The timbral qualities of the piece will be determined by the choice of sounds used by each player, and by the players´ decisions to play or be silent.
     - The rhythmic qualities of the piece will be determined by the tempo (or changes in tempo) and by the varying amounts of time each player takes to go through the stages of the piece. Whenever the players are at different stages, a polyrhythmic texture will result from the different phrase lengths. For example, if there are 3 players who happen to be at stages 4, 5, and 7 at a particular moment, the resulting polyrhythm will be 3:4:5 (since stage 7 is a 3-note phrase, stage 4 a 4-note phrase, and stage 5 a 5-note phrase). Other than the length of the phrases played, all rhythms are in unison at all times, as there is no subdivision of the pulses and no pulses are left out while one is playing.

If these instructions are followed, the form and progression of this piece will always be the same. However, by consciously taking advantage of the few freedoms they are allowed, the players can collectively create vastly differing results and thereby influence the piece´s overall expression. It is possible to approach this through a purely improvisational process with each performance. It is also possible to work towards a particular realization of the music by making certain decisions beforehand.

Rob Waring
March, 2006