Music Performance 361, Fall 2005: Introduction to Composition
Assignment 8: due Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Compositional challenge: compose a gradual process for string quartet. Make the unfolding of your chosen process as smooth, gradual, and perceptible as possible, and use the systematic aspects of your process to help you articulate a longer duration than we've been working with up until now.

Your process might take place in any musical parameter: you might articulate a dynamic crescendo, a timbral transition from pitch to noise, a harmonic change from stacked fourths to quarter-tone clusters, or move from sparse periodic rhythmic activity to dense and aperiodic gestures. Better still, consider a process that can encompass multiple parameters: can you combine some of these ideas, or find a single process which unfolds in multiple dimensions simultaneously?

Finally, think about ways to assert discipline in your process -- to make it as gradual and slow-moving as possible, and prevent it from moving too quickly to completion. Some kind of rational (or even irrational) scheme or system may be helpful -- consider what kinds of analogies, series of numbers, equations, or models might be meaningful to you.

Some basic information about the string quartet (two violins, viola, and cello):

- violin range: from G below middle C to approximately G three-and-half octaves above middle C
- viola range: from C below middle C to approximately A two-and-two-thirds octaves above middle C
- cello range: from C two octaves below middle C to approximately C two octaves above middle C
- for more information about string techniques, please consult assignment 1 and assignment 5

As always, have fun with this! I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with -