Trace~ is a graphic score for four saxophones. It explore the classic question of ‘what’s in a name?’ When I began considering ideas for this new piece I was intrigued by the name of saxophone quartet ~Nois. ‘Why the tilde, a grapheme, like a sound wave leading into the letters?’ I wondered. What happened to the ‘e’? Using the letters of the ensemble I began to graphically explore the letter shapes and properties, drawing, rotating, turning, and playing with them to discover how the result might be traced by the players. The letters and waves are superimposed on the four staves, generating the notes that trace the lines. All four members play from the same score, connecting, sometimes coinciding, and deftly handing off musical gestures.
Trace~ was composed on the occasion of a collaboration between ~Nois and the Composers Alliance of San Antonio (CASA).
Instrumentation: Saxophone quartet: soprano, alto, tenor, baritone saxophones
Duration: c. 5-5:30 minutes (estimated)
· The piece may be performed using tablets with bluetooth pedals, and/or a central projection from which all four players read. All four members play from the same score to facilitate musical connection.
If the score is projected, it can be a playful challenge for the audience to visually follow along. (recommended)
· The score is a transposed score without a key signature.
· Accidentals only apply to the note to which they are immediately attached.
· Mirrored flats are to be played as normal flats (aesthetic choice due to space constraints).
· Timings are decided by the group, as guided by the graphic score.