Rejected Ballet Music

(ulti­mate­ly not appro­pri­ate for dancing)

(ulti­mate­ly not appro­pri­ate for dancing)

About the title: It came fair­ly late in the process of writ­ing the piece, at a del­i­cate time when the piece need­ed to gath­er itself around a clear ethos. It doesn’t reflect the idea that start­ed the piece, but rather seeks to extend, bol­ster, and inter­act with it, to sug­gest avenues for lis­ten­ing. (The piece first grew out of soft­ware that I devel­oped to gen­er­ate chord pro­gres­sions by algo­rith­mi­cal­ly find­ing paths through vast net­works of relat­ed har­monies, all bound­ed by an under­stand­ing of the hands’ abil­i­ty to play only a par­tic­u­lar body of chords on the piano. But those tech­ni­cal aspects do not define the piece’s char­ac­ter and I don’t care to make them the cen­ter of attention.)

I like to imag­ine this piece as a kind of undance­able dance (a bit of ther­a­py), some­thing too per­son­al to suc­ceed because it nev­er was actu­al­ly meant to be shared. Per­haps it was begun with the inten­tion of actu­al­ly sup­port­ing dance but, at some point, it was con­sumed by an incom­mu­ni­ca­bly per­son­al prob­lem. That’s why this bal­let music was reject­ed but, beyond that, its rejec­tion casts the piece in a more pri­vate light: There’s inti­ma­cy in our expe­ri­ence of final­ly hear­ing it — like read­ing an arti­cle reject­ed from a mag­a­zine or a nev­er-pub­lished book. Just like us, it is imper­fect and vul­ner­a­ble; so, in sym­pa­thiz­ing with it, we have an oppor­tu­ni­ty a lit­tle bit bet­ter to love and accept ourselves.

Details

Com­mis­sioned by Fon­da­tion Roy­au­mont for the pianist Clau­dia Chan. To be pre­miered in Sep­tem­ber 2018.

Year Completed

2018

Duration

8:30

Instrumentation

For
  • solo piano

More Info

About the title: It came fair­ly late in the process of writ­ing the piece, at a del­i­cate time when the piece need­ed to gath­er itself around a clear ethos. It doesn’t reflect the idea that start­ed the piece, but rather seeks to extend, bol­ster, and inter­act with it, to sug­gest avenues for lis­ten­ing. (The piece first grew out of soft­ware that I devel­oped to gen­er­ate chord pro­gres­sions by algo­rith­mi­cal­ly find­ing paths through vast net­works of relat­ed har­monies, all bound­ed by an under­stand­ing of the hands’ abil­i­ty to play only a par­tic­u­lar body of chords on the piano. But those tech­ni­cal aspects do not define the piece’s char­ac­ter and I don’t care to make them the cen­ter of attention.)

I like to imag­ine this piece as a kind of undance­able dance (a bit of ther­a­py), some­thing too per­son­al to suc­ceed because it nev­er was actu­al­ly meant to be shared. Per­haps it was begun with the inten­tion of actu­al­ly sup­port­ing dance but, at some point, it was con­sumed by an incom­mu­ni­ca­bly per­son­al prob­lem. That’s why this bal­let music was reject­ed but, beyond that, its rejec­tion casts the piece in a more pri­vate light: There’s inti­ma­cy in our expe­ri­ence of final­ly hear­ing it — like read­ing an arti­cle reject­ed from a mag­a­zine or a nev­er-pub­lished book. Just like us, it is imper­fect and vul­ner­a­ble; so, in sym­pa­thiz­ing with it, we have an oppor­tu­ni­ty a lit­tle bit bet­ter to love and accept ourselves.