Composition No. 26A is a slow pulse structure for open improvisation that was composed in the summer of 1971.  The work is conceived as a traditional ballade type of music that employs the use of open interpretation possibilities.  This is an extended material structure consisting of phrases—to establish the 'nature' focus of its environment.  I have included works of this type in my solo music materials because of the special challenges it presents to the instrumentalist and listener.  This is a work that calls for the use of lyrical solo statements in the most uncomplex sense.  The heart of this effort seeks to establish a 'beautiful and sad' universe—that at the same time has something more; something pure and positive.  The tradition of creative music is full of works of this type—songs created for a beautiful moment or special occasion— something not difficult.  Composition No. 26A is designed to establish a lyrical space of its own—having to do with the forward thrust of linear phrase construction dynamics and the integration of melodic type idea strategies that unify the composite process into one entity.  The work was composed in the fall in Paris and is dedicated to my dear friend Marie Claude Cornet.

The material nature of Composition No. 26A involves the use of phrases that can be positioned into any part of an improvisation.  All of this material is presented as a variation from one idea—and in its extended sense, this material can be viewed as a type of theme.  The challenge for the soloist is to take this material and actualize a 'music'.  This is not a universe that calls for the latest advances in multiphonics or dynamic phrase 'accelerations'; rather the instrumentalist in this context is expected to draw from his/her own vibrational and primary expectations.  No new worlds are conquered here, no prisoners taken.  To really view this composition is to look at other values—as a gift about my feelings toward her and how she makes other people feel.  Composition No. 26A is actualized from those intentions.

Composition No. 26A is a linear phrase construction work that establishes a focus for extended improvisation.  The work is conceived as an extended web of interrelated material that provided the same functional as athematically induced criterion.  All components in this time/space can be placed into any part of improvisation—and can be used or not used as needed or desired.  This option gives the creative instrumentalist limitless interpretational possibilities.  Composition No. 26A is constructed as a vibration statement with no overstructure dictates.  The work was written as I heard it in moment time.  There were no over structural or harmonic operatives involved in this note to note design of the work at all or in the collective integration of the notated material for that matter.  Once a given 'aspect' of the music was realized (written) I did make decisions about its distribution (application).  From that material I treated a 'pool' of interlocking phrase statements—that drew on common focuses as a means for identiy.  In Composition No. 26A I wanted to create a music that simply floated into the room—and remained there.  Nothing is being proved here—there are suddenly melodies in the air (and the environment can breathe with this state).

The first performance of Composition No. 26A was in Paris and I have performed the work many times since.  The work has been especially enjoyable for my own needs—in the last ten years (and some).  Composition No. 26A can sometimes provide a good balance between more complex works—and this is important (not to mention that the work contains its own special challenges as well).  It is important in our search for excellence that we not forget what has already been learned.  Let there be no doubts case about the traditional dynamics of this music—and its power for goodness.  Composition No. 26A presupposes an understanding about feeling projections and life intentions.   

Anthony Braxton, Composition Notes B (Frog Peak, 1988: 194-196)