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The Cycles that Surround Us

Performance Notes
Some people see time as circular. Your daily routine is an example of circular time. You repeat yourself on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis. You may cycle through lifetimes (no definitive word on that one yet). The person sitting next to you as you perform this piece has their own cycles – when performing this piece, remember that you are performing with them because your daily, weekly, monthly, lifetime cycles overlap.

Listen to -- and enjoy -- how your complement others.

Synchronization is also important; if you find what you’re playing fits nicely with what someone else is playing, keep playing it!

You may repeat a cell as you wish.

Complete a whole page before moving on to the next one. You may wind your way through the page as you wish. Pages 2, 3, and 4 may end with just one person soloing. That’s ok. Just be patient.

Instructions may be cumulative/compounded.

Some of the instructions in this piece are ambiguous; interpret them as you want.

You can be cued to pause and then continue what you were playing at any time – gesticulate and keep your head up!

Go make beautiful music!
Nate Trier - 4/9/11, updated 3-3-12


Play 1 note higher

On cue, all play concert A
quiet quiet loud Then go directly to:

Cycles, pg. 1 Tonal Pulsed

Play 1 note lower
Add an E Add a C# Add a D Remove 1 note

Lengthen 1 note and add a pause

Play in any concert A scale to establish/strengthen the pulse


da DA da DA da DA Add aB

Remove 1 note from your sequence

Subtract 1 beat between notes; repeat Add 1 note from an A scale Add 1 beat between notes; repeat

Play a sequence of notes and rests

Play 1 note, count 8 beats, then play again Mentally repeat what you just played React to what you have just heard; maintain the pulse Play all or part of it quieter


Repeat it to your pleasure

Add to it

Alter it

In this section, never forsake the pulse

Add any note

Add a lower note



quiet xx xx xx xx xx xx Play a high E

Repeat what you have just played but: [pause]


Go on to the next movement without waiting

Play a low, quiet E, G# or B


Add a note Lengthen a note Pause


Make a loud noise – disregard pulse. Then go directly to:

Cycles, pg. 2 Atonal Pulseless

On any note: quiet loud quiet


Play one of the highest notes on your instrument; carry it over to:

Play the lowest note on your instrument: quiet loud quiet Play the highest note possible Respond Expand on what you just played

Sort of quiet


LOUD Quiet quiet…..


Add wobbles

In this section, there is no pulse
Play one of the lowest notes possible, then wait

__ __ __ __ daDA daDA daDA __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ ___ __

Comment using very high notes Make a phrase using the quietest sounds possible Hiss/scrape Simulate breathing

Pay attention to your own breathing; play one note per exhalation


Wait until the last instrument has finished this section, indicated by silence, then on cue enter movement 3:



On any note:
Mediumquiet Mediumquiet Then go directly to: loud

Cycles, pg. 3 Atonal Pulsed

Establish/reinforce the pulse on any note

Make eye contact and cue: Copy what you hear

Change any note

medium loud

Lengthen what you’re playing

Bring 1 note up in pitch

Make 1 note longer

Reinforce the pulse playing a combination of note and non-note noises medium loud tsss…

Play anything and reinforce the pulse

Remember to keep your eyes up! Maintain the pulse!
medium quiet

Wait, listen

On beat: x_____

medium quiet

Recreate what someone else just played, but: Extend the length of a/each note

Repeat what you just played, but:

On beat, any note: X_____ X_____ x_____

Get quieter

Make eye contact with somebody – cue the two of you to play your next thing together

Reinforce/reestablish the pulse by playing non-note noise(s)

Play atonally as if you’re breaking free of the pulse, then wait until everyone has completed this section.


Add another note

Together, on concert A:
Mediumquiet MediumThen go directly to: quiet loud

Cycles, pg. 4 Tonal Pulseless

Play a note
quiet loud quiet Play one of those low and quietly
medium quiet

__ __ __

Add a C# Add a D Add an E

Cycle through these in any order you choose: E B G#

Change your volume

Change one note
medium quiet

_‽ __ __ xx xx

xx _ _ _ ____ _

Play any note

Play anything from any concert-A scale

medium loud


Raise it by a half-step

Lower it by one half-step

Alter it

Add to it

Wait, listen __
medium loud

__ __ _Ґ

__ _Ґ

Respond to what you hear Fade in and out on concert A. Synchronize your fades with other people. The whole group ends on one last fade-out.