Composition No. 76 was composed in the fall of 1977 for this particular recording.  The realization of this project would have a dynamic impact on the projectional thrust of my activity in this period (i.e. how I perceive my activity in both its spiritual-vibrational and scientific sense, and what this means when applied to methodology (regardless of thrust—pertaining to what we call music, art, dance or sculpture for the composite realness of world creativity).  For creativity, as understood through the progressional thrust of world culture, can be viewed as activity (doing) that aligns us (on either an individual or cultural level) to the greater cosmic realness of being on this planet—having to do with helping us experience this sector in space (the universe)—in spiritual and vibrational terms, while also serving as a cosmic connector to those forces which reveal what this experience (living) could mean in its most positive state (if 'positive' is the desired zone).

The actualness of Composition No. 76 would move to clarify the direction my work has taken in the last ten years, and also give insight as to what this work will mean when translated—and integrated—to the composite meta-reality of world culture (after the transformation of this period). vFor this composition was not designed to adhere to either the current misconceptions surrounding the word "jazz" (with respect to how the science of that thrust is viewed, or so-called viewed—in this time zone) nor can this work be defined in "western art music" terms.  Rather the meta and empirical foundation of this work was conceived with respect to the spiritual and composite vibrationatory affinity-arena of world culture.

Because of the dynamic implications of Composition No. 76 as a vehicle documentary and important projectional route of my activity—I have included two versions of the work (each with different musicians) on this recording.  There will also be extra liner notes inside the record, and hopefully this information will provide an expanded framework for experiencing the music.  I would like to thank the musicians who participated on this recording for the positive encouragement and hard work given to this project.  As is always the case with creative music, the actual creativity is an affirmation and testament to all the people participating in the music.

Composition No. 76 was constructed through a system I developed in September 1977 that I now call "Modular Notation."  This process establishes an expanded functional and meta-functional arena for the creative musician while also signalling what route my own "re-solidification" into the composite arena of world culture would take.  (I do not mean "re-solidification" in the sense that my activity before was separate from world culture, but rather as a concept to comment on how my own affinity alignment has expanded [changed] in the last three or four years—and in what direction.)  The use of "Modular Notation" would provide another area of investigation for the multi-instrumentalist—for this process provides an expanded utilization of creative options within notated structure as well as expanded demands on multi-instrumental techniques—and while doing so moves to establish new compositional (and conceptual) areas for the creative restructuralist.

The actual execution of Composition No. 76 would open up several new functional areas.  One of the most basic features of this work would involve the concept of "routing" (having to do with the sequencing of material) to dictate the actual shape of the form—progressional sequence—of the composition, and also "routing" in regards to how each module (dimensional multi-structures) is to be executed.  To better experience what this compositional technique means in real terms, I have included two version of Composition No. 76 herein (each version has been designed with different co-ordinates—that is, different sequences and possibilities).  Thus, the organization of this work can be viewed with respect to the idea of controlled co-ordinates (the use of prepared sequencing before performing the piece) and spontaneous co-ordinates (how each individual musician treats a module) (dimensional multi-structure).

This composition has been designed as a result of the multi-instrumental breakthroughs that have occurred in the last time cycle (I am speaking of the AACM activity in particular) and the actual execution of the material on this record is directly dependent on the particular instruments in each musician's arsenal.  The dimensional structures (modules) have also been designed with respect to the significances of color—as a vehicle related to both vibrationatory zones (mystical or functional)\as well as "musical language."

The creative musician in this context utilizes an increased operating arena as both interpreter and improviser.  For Composition No. 76 does not function as a "head" or generating factor (in which one would play a theme and then commence to improvise) but instead was conceived with regards to the total infra-structure of the music.  What this means is that the performer's responsibility takes on a different role from that of the classical or improvising tradition (as it is viewed in this cycle).  The interpretation of this composition would thus involve executing the fixed elements of the piece in both a traditional and extended sense; that being: reading and interpreting both conventional notation (in five clefs) to alternative fixed elements (i.e. modules) wherein the performer has the option of reading a figure forward or backward in the sequence of her/his choice.

The use of improvisation in Composition No. 76 is regulated by color and shape.  Which is to say that Composition No. 76 was not designed as a vehicle for open-ended improvisation, but instead utilizes improvisation as a "creative-sound-burst" consideration.  Just as in Japanese painting where the essence of a given image is reduced to its most "real" manifestation—and in so doing, utilizes only what is most relevant to its "isness," so does the concept of "improvisational bursts" move to eliminate extra sound for the "vibrational canvase" of the music.  This then is a music designed with respect to multi-dimensional extension—that is: a structure designed with respect to both astrological (spiritual) and scientific information.  This is a composition designed as well as choreographed with regard to alternative viewpoints concerning theater and movement—dance—(the actual notated music as well as how the performance is presented in concert [spectacle]).  At the heart of this work is my desire to create a composition that in "transformation" can function as a "ritual" activity (when the composite astral and vibrational precepts are established for rebuilding culture for the next cycle).  In actual terms Composition No. 76 was created from the composite information I have been able to obtain about life on this planet—how it is perceived, and what this experience on earth really means (or could mean) as viewed through the collected information handed down to us through world culture (or at least what I have learned, or what I am trying to learn, in and for my life).  Yet I have not meant to give the impression in these notes that I have "arrived" (or that I understand something about this planet in the sense of "spirituality"—as utilized in the sixties and seventies) because that is not the case.  Rather Composition No. 76 was conceived with respect to what I would like for my work to be—in its most positive state—as well as what I perceive to be an attractive and meaningful route to take for my life (and activity).

[NOTE: all of the above text appears in both the For Trio liner notes and Composition Notes D; the following two paragraphs which conclude the For Trio liner notes do not appear in Composition Notes, which continues after these two paragraphs]


Composition No. 76 is designed for the total dynamic operating arena of the new multi-instrumentalist.  Every moment is organized and prepared—from the use of notation, improvisation, on down to the use of percussion (or what the AACM calls "little instruments").  This work also utilizes "fixed" material in several contexts.  Each musician has been given one electric airhorn, three soprano airhorns, and two normal airhorns.  To this are added a various assortment of home-made instruments (i.e. tubular horns in both soprano and tenor range) and extra percussive instruments.  The combination of both fixed and open material gives this work a very special hue (color).


Composition No. 76 was created as a vehicle for both multi-instrumental and vocal music.  The vocal sounds used in this piece were chosen because of their "extra" vibrational implications as well as musical implications.  The use of vocal techniques in this composition advances the work I have been doing in this area since 1967 (i.e. {Comp. 6E}) which utilized vocal sounds for the "open-end" improvisational arena or {Comp. 6P} which was conceived to function as a three part system work (involving the use of collective improvisation-song form—and solo situation with accompaniment).

Anthony Braxton, liner notes to For Trio (Arista AB 4181)

For Trio liner notes also available as

Composition No. 76 is an extended structure for three multi-instrumentalists that was composed in 1977.  This is a sound forum structural environment that defines a fresh basis for creative interaction and focus.  Composition No. 76 is a network of expanded material options that can be put into any order.  The actual notated music (that forms the material of the work) is written as an independent page component that can be intermixed into any desired sequence.  The use of this option gives the work an extended personality that can be reshaped on many different levels.  This is a unison and multiple phrase grouping based sound continuum that is intermixed with controlled improvisation devices.  Composition No. 76 is a dynamic structure that contains many different levels of conceptual and material operatives throughout the whole of its composite form.  The thrust of this effort attempts to integrate color and shape variables into the operational scheme of the music—as a basis to generate fresh creative responses from its instrumentalists.  This is an expansive sound environment that attempts to extract more than one responsibility in the music.  What this means is that a given interpretation of Composition No. 76 involves more than executing one instrument—in the traditional sense of how that function is perceived.  Participation in this work involves functioning as an instrumentalist, vocalist, actor and 'presence.'  Composition No. 76 is an extended structural platform that was conceived in conjunction with the breakthrough that developed in the post-AACM continuance of the music.  The work makes use of the new multi-instrumentalism that has solidified from this movement.  A given performance of Composition No. 76 is conceived to provide a context for each musician's own collected instrument arsenal—as well as specified materials (and devices)—that must be purchased before any performance is possible.  The work was initially conceived as a theatre piece that incorporates the dramatic dynamics of presentation (and as such the reality of its presentation extends into many areas—and factors—not normally associated with traditional music interpretation).  A given performance of Composition No. 76 is a ritual presentation that calls for the use of specially designed robes and stage ornaments.  This is a solemn presentation that unfolds slowly in the 'drift' of the moment ('as if in another world').  Composition No. 76 was conceived as an offering that involves its instrumentalists and listeners in a unified state.  This is a spiritual work that is concerned about spiritual matters.  Moments in this sound state are like brief occurrences that float in and out of the time/space.  In this fantasy events are moving so fast that it 'appears to be slow' ('and we are caught off guard').  Moments in Composition No. 76 form and dissipate in brief light flashes that give no sense of linear continuity ('and expectations').  To experience Composition No. 76 is to enter a 'temple of sound' that calls out for our sense of well-being.  There is no happiness or sadness in this space—only 'the experience.'  Composition No. 76 is dedicated to my friend Nantambu Mwanga.

Composition No. 76 was conceived as an expanded context for three instrumentalists that attempts to provide terms for creative exploration.  The reality of this forum was conceived as a dynamic sound continuum that emphasizes the collective interchanges of its composite ensemble—rather than the 'wonderful' soloist.  All events in the structure were established to provide terms for this interaction—so that we can better understand the wonder of vibrational dynamics and 'sound focus.'  There are no extended solos in this work, nor does Composition No. 76 attempt to impress us with 'momentum' (so that 'one might pay attention').  This is a slow unfolding procession of events that affirms one central attitude and presence.  Within this reality there are given definitive sections that emphasize particular register and/or focus objectives, but even this information doesn't change the essential nature of the music.  Events in Composition No. 76 are regulated by a system of structural point cues that constantly shifts in and out of the music.  Moments in this sound world come together from nowhere and disperse—from its own logic.  There is no development at all in Composition No. 76 and the work also extends from an impersonal material basis.  As such to view the realness of Composition No. 76 it is important to understand its relationship to the composite developments that have influenced the nature of present-day expansion dynamics.  This is so because the challenge of the post-AACM cycle of the music calls for a new kind of instrumentalist and structural context that extends the responsibility and dynamic implications of the music.  The thrust of this phenomenon has the need for extended structures that utilizes many different instruments and perceived separate disciplines.  Composition No. 76 is a reality context that provides a unique response to this phenomenon.  Improvisation in this work was perceived in the same sense as in Japanese brush painting—everything is used very sparely.  The solidification of this work would solidify the concept of what I call 'improvisation burst'—which is the phenomenon of short improvisational statements intermixed with an open structural context.  A given interpretation of Composition No. 76 involves a procession of light sound events that emphasizes given 'moment crystals' or 'sound exercises' (in small 'pockets' in the sound space).  This is a delicate music type that moves forward in small 'sound spots' (from the 'shadows' of the space 'into the light').  Composition No. 76 is constructed as a platform that includes the use of 'little instruments' (for extraneous individual sounds—from whatever sound source).  The use of this variable is intermixed into the fabric of the music—in the same sense as traditional instrumental sound input.  To experience this work is to enter a dynamic sound state that is constantly changing.  The third structural operative of Composition No. 76 involves the use of extended vocalization throughout the whole of the work.  The instrumentalist in this context is asked to (1) sing in the open space of the music (inside the invention fabric of the music) and (2) use vocalizations inside the traditional sound of the instruments (to affect the timbral sound of the instruments (to affect the timbral nature of the music).  What this means is that a given interpretation of Composition No. 76 calls for the complete talents of its performing instrumentalist—on every level.

Composition No. 76 was constructed to include the use of additional accessory sound materials—as a sound universe of fixed and open occurrences.  A given performance of the work calls for the use of various types of megaphones that are to be used in the vocal improvisations whenever possible (or desired).  I have also included a general list of small instruments and sound devices that are to be used inside the music.  The combination of fixed and open sound materials gives the work a special hue and presence.  In the future there will be more structures from this context—'project-like' compositions that call for fresh responses and dedication from their performers.  The additinal material in this case consists of small wooden flutes and specially designed megaphones made from a water hose broken into different sections.  I selected this material based on its ability to provide extended options for vocal improvisational dynamics.  Composition No. 76 is a dynamic forum of slow moving sound exchanges that appear in 'sound dots' in the space of the music.  This is a music space that contains extreme sound emphasis and focus.  To experience this work is not to hear a continuous succession of events—in the sense of events that flow from momentum into its next materialization (or 'act')—rather in Composition No. 76 there is a static 'dribble' of isolated events that come together and apart without any sense of 'applied' momentum (or 'urgency').  This is a 'lifeless' sound space that is somehow happening in spite of itself.  Ideas are presented that are not acted on, material moments form and are left 'hanging.'  Even the 'perceived' changes in the music are not really changes—but are instead illusions.  Composition No. 76 is a continuum of events that reveals itself to us in its moment actualization (as in a series of 'is' revelations whose inner sound components 'contain all that is needed to win our respect' (and 'attention').  'Perceived' continuance in this work involves the realness of the moment (and the resulting decisions ('choices') of a given moment.  Here is a theatre piece that is cast in stone and etched in the course of music history.  To experience this effort is to allow it to happen without one's mind 'getting in the way' of the music.  To perform the work (in its intended—or most desired—setting), specially designed platforms (in the shape of the No. 76 insignia) must be built to accomodate the instrumentalists.  To see the work being performed is to see the moments and 'separate concerns' of three instrumentalists ('as they come and go' in the music).  This is an isolated sound space forum for both its instrumentalist as well as the 'experience' of the music.  By establishing this feeling Composition No. 76 is in effect realigning a kind of ancient change context ('as in in a monastery or closed time/space') back into our consciousness (or 'into our consciousness').  It's time to get ready for 'the past' (and the 'vastness' of existence).

Composition No. 76 is an extended network of forty structural points that extends into the space of the music.  The reality of the work moves to establish both a fixed and open material state that gives a unique presence to the music.  The actual written material is constructed in twenty autonomous material sections that can be put into any order sequence (for performance).  I have also composed two additional structural sequences that can be added to the principal material ingredients of the music.  This additional material provides an extended notated column of instrumental to vocal material shifts and gives a special 'presence' to the music.  Emphasis in this context centers on the interchanges of a given sound state and the infra-reality of sound mixtures.  Composition No. 76 is a universe of sound constructions and moment relationships that establishes a forum for creative involvement (and surprise).  Improvisation in this context is fitted into a notation process that makes use of modular material options and directives.  In this process there are always three available material components integrated into the improvisation affirmation of the music.  Modular notation is a system of organization that integrates fixed notation with color, improvisational fragments, and material phrase grouping cross-components (or constructions).  With this technique the instrumentalist can enter a 'state of improvisation' that provides open and fixed variables for moment postulation.  The reality of a given modular postulation.  The reality of a given modular improvisation moves to solidify a time/space ritual-like sound state whose given moment particulars are a 'series of happenings' to experience.  This is a multi-dimensional music state that proceeds into the forward thrust of the music.  A given sequence from this continuum is open to a spectrum of influences—and three improvisation 'influences'—each of which is cast in its own emotional color.  By the term 'influences' I am referring to the use of three improvisational criteria:  that being (1) the use of improvisational phrases (as a dominant factor in the improvisation or (2) as a language music material emphasis (that isolates one or more factors from a list of language music variables as a basis for invention) and (3) opposition improvisation tendencies (tnat being 'perceived opposite' to what's happening at that given moment in the music).  The dynamics of modular notation establishes a multiple context of materials and conceptual objectives.

The actual fixed material spread of Composition No. 76 can be viewed with respect to its moment to moment decisions—as the music unfolds during the 'perceived' moment of actualization.  This is not a thematic or pre-set material state but rather a continuum of intentions (that have 'through doing' become 'fixed').  Each section component consists of at least one fixed material set and one modular material set.  As such to view this phenomenon is to follow two different strains of thought and continuance—one of which is concerned with the linear nature of material exchanges as this phenomenon relates to the idea thrust of the music (in its prepared—or composed—first state) and the other is concerned about the moment significance of a given modular improvisation (as this phenomenon moves to give us insight into the musician's personality and 'life presence'—and the realness of the 'experience').  Composition No. 76 is a platform for many different objectives (and people) that can be utilized in the search for vibrational disciplines (to focus energy—and 'expand').  This is an involved structure that 'gives nothing in return for one's time and energy' (and this is of course what is needed).  This is a vehicle for 'doing' and 'transforming'—for both the instrumentalist and listener.  There is now a need for structures that make us excell at the wonder of discipline and 'sound thought.'  A given version of Composition No. 76 can be for any duration—depending on the needs of the moment, and the material of the music can be repeated as many times as needed (in any order).  What this means is that the work can be approached as an elastic sound forum that can be used to meet 'positive' objectives (only positive objctives, hopefully).

Composition No. 76 was composed in conjunction with a recording date project that materialized for me in the summer of 1977.  For that occassion I recorded two different versions of the work so that the listener might better be able to experience the diversity of the music.  The instrumentalists on the first recorded version were Henry Threadgill and Douglas Ewart, and on the second version Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarmen.  At present (January 1984) the work has never been publicly performed.  The completion of this work would provide an important breakthrough for my music—and this is especially true for my small ensemble structures.  For the thrust of my small ensemble has seen much emphasis on extended improvisation (in my coordinate set of extended structural musics) because of the extracurricular factors that have nothing to do with music per se, but rather the business of music (and my ability to make a living).  This is not to imply any lack of enthusiasm for extended improvisation—because I am excited about this aspect of music involvement (and this has been and is important to the life's blood of my work).  Rather Composition No. 76 would provide an alternative extended structural context that gave balance to my instrumental and compositional tendencies (and as such new problems and challenges for participation).  This has been my interest ever since first discovering 'sound awareness.'

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Anthony Braxton, Composition Notes D (Frog Peak, 1988: 136-154)