Morton Feldman: projection 1

This piece is my version of projection 1 for solo cello by Morton Feldman. I have always wanted to do a version of that piece, because I think it is very interesting. One of the reasons I like it is that even though it is graphically notated it is quite easy to understand (in fact it is instantly readable), and despite the graphic notation it is a very musical piece.

I found it quite difficult to work with though. Regarding the projection-series Feldman has said that his desire was not to "compose", but to project sounds into time, free from a compositional rhetoric. Therefore the pieces are extremely pointilistic, with absolutely no connection between the notes.

My aim was to try and make some kind of connection, but since most things are specified in the piece, the only thing I had left to work with was pitches. Feldman has three different timbres with three registers each. I fixed these registers to specific octaves, so that each timbre encompasses three octaves in all. The music jumps in and out of these registers all the time, so I knew I had to decide the actual pitches in as simple a way as possible.

Eventually I decided to just go stepwise down in a Bb major scale, only excluding jumps of ninths. If such an interval would occur I would use the next note instead. You can see that in the very beginning of the piece: the first note is Bb, and the next note would then have to be A. But that would create a ninth, and I therefore skip the A and use G instead. Next I would like to use the A that I skipped, but going up from G would create a ninth again, and I therefore go further down to F. After that I can use the A and then it goes from Eb and so on.

That way I get a clear downwards movement to the whole piece, but with a few thirds/sixths and fourths/fifths here and there. I thought it connected the notes in a very beautiful way making the whole piece into one long melodious line that seems "right".