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I, purples, spat blood, laugh of beautiful lips

Aaron CASSIDY

for solo voice and computer (2006)


I, purples, spat blood, laugh of beautiful lips (2006) for solo voice with live, computer-generated pitch material
Texts: Arthur Rimbaud, Voyelles
Christian Bk, Voile (from Eunoia), a homophonic translation of Voyelles [text used by permission of author]
unattributed English translation, Vowels

Technical assistant: Brett Masteller

notes for performance

1. This work may be sung by a singer with any vocal range. The pitch material a continuous glissando that changes direction/speed/trajectory on each consecutive downbeat is generated in real-time via computer (see below for additional information about executing the Max/
Msp patch) and will thus be unique for each performance of the work. The singer, who wears headphones (small bud style headphones work best), matches the pitch of computer-generated glissando in conjunction with the notated rhythms. (Note that the computer part is heard
only by the singer and is not amplified through loudspeakers.) In addition to this pitch-matching, a variety of other pitch notations are employed:

Upper limit of singers range (type d below, only)

Middle of staff indicates the pitch currently played by the computer-generated glissando

Lower limit of singers range (type d below, only)

type a type b type c

Follow the pitch contour of the computer-generated glis- Hold the pitch of the computer-generated glissando at the Begin gesture at the pitch of the computer-generated glissando and follow the
sando for the indicated duration. moment of the initial attack for the indicated duration. When contour up or down, as indicated (contour is relative to the initial pitch and
two of such attacks follow one another, the singer is to ranges from small pitch deviations (small slope) to dramatic deviations (steep
sustain the first pitch, then leap immediately at the next slope) note that this notation is distinct from type d, shown below).
attack to whatever pitch is being generated by the computer
at that moment.

type d

Indeterminate pitch, relative to the singers overall range. When the horizontal line is drawn somewhere other than the middle of the staff, the pitch
to be sung is not linked to the computer-generated glissando but rather is an unspecified pitch in the given register (high/low). Note that glissandi
from these unspecified/relative pitches are also possible.

2. Several special symbols are used:

|
M
sotto voce. Thin & pale, with an extremely high breath content. exaggerated vibrato. (Note that the work should generally be
(Note that this notation is also occasionally used for rolled rs sung with fairly minimal vibrato a straight-tone sound is pre- descending mordent. (Always down and back.) The exact
at a variety of dynamics here, the rolled r should be quite ferred (though certainly not required).) Transitional markings to/ interval of the figure is unimportant, though should range
breathy, with only a faint hint of pitch.) from this exaggerated are shown using dotted lines with arrows. roughly from a quarter-tone to a whole step.

unvoiced, percussive consonants. Also occasionally used for


initial voiced plosives, which should have short but clear pitch gentle pulsations (quasi vibr.) these pulsations are shown
content. graphically/spatially ascending mordent. Note that with ascending mordents, the
destination pitch/register is always shown in parentheses. This
aggressive, scratchy tone, with almost no clear pitch content. indeterminate pitch should roughly correspond to the registral
notation shown in type d, above.
gradual transition from one vowel/consonant to another
trill type a Following contour of computer-generated glis- trill type b Sustain pitch of computer-generated glissando at trill type c Begin gesture with computer-generated glissando
sando, trill up to indeterminate pitch (roughly between a quarter point of attack, trilling up to indeterminate pitch (roughly be- pitch then follow graphically-indicated contour (as with type c
-tone and whole-step higher than the computers glissando tween a quarter-tone and whole-step higher than the sustained sustained pitch, above). As with other trills, trill up to indetermi-
pitch). Both pitches (main note and trilled note) follow the con- note). nate pitch (roughly between a quarter-tone and whole-step
tour of the glissando. It is expected that all trills coupled with higher than the sustained note).
glissandi will be rather unstable and a bit unpredictable their
gestural shape is far more important than any clarity of their
pitch content.

3. The Max/Msp patch used to generate the variable pitch content of the piece is available from the composer. It can be run with Max/Msp or the Max/Msp Runtime reader (free), both available from Cycling 74 [www.cycling74.com] and available for both Mac and Windows platforms.
The output of the patch includes an indeterminate glissando (which is scaled to the singers available range instructions for entering the range (via a simple keyboard interface) are included in the patch and a click-track. Both of these two layers have left/right panning controls
so that the performer may choose to have the click-track & glissando in separate ears or in both; similarly, both layers have their own volume controls so that the performer may choose the most useful balance. The computer part is heard by the singer via headphones and is not
amplified for the audience.
The computer part may be run by an offstage technician or may simply be run onstage from a laptop by the performer. A short four-bar count-off begins the click track; the first (indeterminate) pitch is also given as a sustained pitch during these preparatory bars.

4. The three texts are frequently cross-cut and run simultaneously throughout the work. Note that the unconventional hyphenation is used in an attempt to clarify the rhythmic location of vowels and consonants. Slurs are used in their conventional manner to indicate melismas. Occa-
sionally, cross-cut words share phonemes these are typically indicated in parentheses.

Arthur Rimbaud, Voyelles Christian Bk, Voile Arthur Rimbaud, Vowels


[homophonic English translation] [unattributed English translation]

A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu: voyelles, Anywhere near blank rage Dance the clear, elusive A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,
Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes: you veer, oblivial. rinse of paintings. I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:
A, noir corset velu des mouches clatantes A, black velvety jacket of brilliant flies
Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles, Jade array, calico azure Icicle fibre meant divine which buzz around cruel smells,
evanescent talents. daymares varied.
Golfes d'ombre; E, candeurs des vapeurs et des tentes, Gulfs of shadow; E, whiteness of vapours and of tents,
Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d'ombelles; Unaware, corrosives flow Pity paid to see my dynamo lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of cow-parsley;
I, pourpres, sang crach, rire des lvres belles to my shackled hand. poised to rid us. I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips
Dans la colre ou les ivresses pnitentes; in anger or in the raptures of penitence;
Key bombing an auto tour Cool chimes, a primal green
U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides, to paint her colour. for studios. U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas,
Paix des ptis sems d'animaux, paix des rides the peace of pastures dotted with animals, the peace of the furrows
Que l'alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux; Gulfs of amber contours Spur my clean plan astride which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;
evaporate the tint. a stranger.
O, suprme Clairon plein des strideurs tranges, O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds,
Silences traverss des [Mondes et des Anges]: Linseed glass or oblong Cylinders versus diamonds silences crossed by [Worlds and by Angels]:
O l'Omga, rayon violet de [Ses] Yeux! freezing dumbbells. a decision. O the Omega! the violet ray of [His] Eyes!

Upper pressing cashiers Hollow, my grey ovule does


do deliver verbals. decide you.

5. Duration is approximately 430. As the notated tempi are quite fast, the Max/Msp patch interface contains the ability to scale the tempo for both rehearsal and performance purposes.
I, purples, spat blood, laugh of beautiful lips
Aaron Cassidy
$=84 [as linear as possible, despite cross-cutting of texts, gestures, and dynamics; text should never dissolve into collections of
phonemes - semantic content (and source language!) might be obscured, but words should always be identifiable as text] $=76
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[Voile] A - n - y - where n - - (n) - ear b - l - - a - - n- k r-a - - ge you veer, o - b - li - - - vi - - a- l


[Voyelles] A n - (n) - oi - r, E b- l - - l - - anc I r - - ou - - ge, O bleu: v - oy - e-lles,
[Vowels] tr. U

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shall m-y-ster - i-ous or - - - - i - gins: vel-ve-ty flies

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to p - ain - t hea - r co - l - ou - r. G - ulfs of a - m - b - er c - o - n - t - our - s
- elles d'omb - re E, c - an - deurs des va - p -
Gulfs of sha - dow; of

Copyright 2006 Aaron Cassidy/ASCAP


All Rights Reserved
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. O O > [22 december 2006 / chicago; ridgway]

- s de-ci - de you.
v - i-o - l - (et) de
v - i - (o) (- l)-e-t ray of [His] Eyes!