Music for a Sculpture
Paradox, Music for A Sculpture was written 2007 to be performed on the sculpture “Grote Sext” by Harmen Brethouwer. The composition was written for two percussionists, and is envisioned to be the first in a series of pieces to be performed on objects becoming instruments. In this way, Edgar Varèses old modernistic definition of music, I quote: music is organized sound, is subtly redefined by the highly skilled performance of musicians. Music is organized sound, performed by musicians expresses my own, more precise version of this general definition.
After careful deliberation and much experimentation I decided the performers should sit each on one side of this sculpture, thinking of of Gardiners U28 wedja1, therewith visually forming a kind of new hieroglyph, reminescent of the old Egyptian formula Ankh wedja seneb (I have been fascinated and learned to read and write basic Egyptian hieroglyphs since 14).
The composition thus requires the performers, in a way representing life and health, to sit on opposite sides of the bronze sculpture Major Sixth, which was the inspiration for this series, and conceived by its creator from the very beginning as a sculpture to be used as a musical instrument. The five lines of the musical staff represent the five vertical zones in which the sculpture is to be played. The main pitches are c# – f# – a# for the bottom, middle and high zones, on lines 1, 3 and 5. The two zones in between produce both adjoining tones and hence produce intervals: perfect fourth and major third. The name of the sculpture is derived from the ambitus of the bell, which is a major sixth c# – a#.
In the Pieter Jan Smit film below, the performers are Jeroen Geevers (left) and Claire Edwardes (right).
Oscar van Dillen, Rotterdam May 2008