Strand Lines (2007)

Duration – 21’40”
Recording (concert recording)- Stefan Östersjö, guitar

Strand Lines, created in 2007, continues my exploration of collaboration processes for music composition. There is no musical score for Strand Lines. Instead the composition was worked out over an extended time of collaborative exploration and rehearsal with guitarist Stefan Östersjö, for and with whom the work was realized. While this kind of experientially developed music has existed in many cultures, I’m drawn to the kinds of techniques that film director Mike Leigh uses for character development in his films. Leigh works with his actors to create their characters through an organic and rigorous series of directed improvisation and reiteration until the actors fully embody their characters, their utterances, and the relationships between all of the interacting characters and situations within the environment of the work. Through this process the film becomes its own screenplay. In the case of my own explorations in this mode of composing, the piece of music will itself also be the score. The piece is documented using video recordings of a performance along with instructions and demonstrations showing how to play it. This video document takes the place of a musical score so that the integrity of the work can be maintained over time and the work can be performed by other performers as well.

Strand Lines also explores the extension of musical instruments and performance through live computer enhancement and processing. It is a work not so much for guitar as for guitarist. The merging of person and instrument interests me greatly. Each player is one manifestation of the current state of a continuing history of their instrument and of performance generally. The history is physical, existing as a kind of “body knowledge” which I believe is real and substantive. Along with Stefan Östersjö’s integral role in the development of guitar material for Strand Lines another key contributor was Joshua Parmenter who developed much of the key underlying control code for sound processing and synthesis in Supercollider.