Introduction to Catalog of Works

The body of "musics" that make up this Catalogue of Works represent the "best I could do" when confronted with the incredible gifts of beauty that the Masters have given us in the phenomenon we call music.  I perceive this effort as an evolving MULTI-LOGIC sound universe that demonstrates sonic unification on three primary planes of perception dynamics—abstract realization, concrete realization and intuitive realization.  All of these matters are part of the wonderful world of sound wonder and beauty—I am so grateful for music and the "act of thinking about music/feeling".  Life on earth would be impossible without music—our species could not exist without love and compassion.  All of these matters are related.

The construction of this body of works has been my main preoccupation since 1967 and as such it is my responsibility to present this material as correctly as possible—THAT IS: it is important for the reader to understand the overcontext that gives this material its "perceived meaning" (LIFE).  This is necessary because all of these works are part of one organic sound world state—and all of these efforts seek to affirm my life experiences: that being, what I have learned and experienced in my actual (REAL) life—as perceived from my value systems—rather than from imposed social and/or political values.  This difference is important and must be taken into account or real penetration (insight) into this material could be "complex" (smile).  As such, I would like to establish a general overview about this material for future musicologists and musician/interpreters so that any person interested in my work will have some idea of my values and "way of being."  My comments in these notes will apply to every composition in this catalogue—and will encompass all additional entries I hope to add.  Indeed, I am really commenting on the aesthetic tenet axiums of my music system/platform (life).

The most important feature of the body of material that must first be understood is that this information represents the vibrational fluid and atomic structural ingredients of one dynamic sound state (intention).  That is, I have approached this material with respect to my needs as an instrumentalist as well as composer.  With this effort I have tried to erect a "perception context" that respects and allows for both disciplines (improvisational/fluid musics and notated/stable musics) to exist and evolve—as unified and independent realities (with its own secrets and particulars).  I have designed this material as an affirmation of "SOUND" AND MUSIC SCIENCE—as a response to the great African, European, and Asian men and women who have clarified the profound "beauty" of that which we call music.  There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to the heavens for the fact of "reception and definition".  Music is profoundly interwoven into the total experience of existence.

There are four fundamental postulate that must be understood about this material if my objectives are to be respected (or understood), that being:

I.    All compositions in my music system connect together

II.    All instrumental parts in my group of musics are autonomous

III.    All tempos in this music state are relative (negotiable)

IV.    All volume dynamics in this sound world are relative

Let me clarify:

A.    a)    All compositions in my music system can be executed at the same time/moment.  That is, this material in its entirety can be performed together as one state of being—at the same time (in whole or in part—in any combination).  This option is the aesthetic conceptual/vibrational/fulfillment of my music.

       b)    Shorter works can also be positioned into larger works—into any section of a given "host" composition.

       c)    Isolated parts from a given structure can be positioned into other structures—or one structure—as many times as desired.

       d)    Any section (part) of any structure can be taken and used repeatedly by itself or with another structure—or structures.

B.    a)    All instrumental parts in this group of compositions are changable—that is, any instrumental part can be used by any instrument—or instruments.  Or any section from a given structure can be spliced out and integrated into another structure.  What this means is that the harmonic reality of a given structure has vertical, linear, and correspondence realities (logics) that transcend any one plane of definition.  All notated pitches in this music state involve only the primary imprint reality of a given form—as viewed from its origin/identity instrumentation.  Every part can also be utilized (or "adopted") by any instrument or instrumentation.  In other words, every solo piece can be an orchestra piece—in any order or sequence.  Every orchestral instrumental part can be taken away from its "identity territory" and used by itself or with another piece or pieces.

   b)    A given performer or group of performers can take any part of any composition (or compositions) and use that material as solo or combination material.  A given performer can sequence parts of different compositions into one music/type for one musician or for as many musicians as desired.  Structural material used in this manner becomes a reservoir of structural and conceptual possibilities—including traditional intrepretation.

C.    a)    All tempos in my music system are relative.  That is—the initial "indicated" tempo of a given composition is only a point of definition for the unified imprint state of that work and is not intended as the only option.  What this means is that the "life" of a given structure in this system has limitless possibilities—"settings" or "colors".

       b)    Every composition in this music world can be executed in any tempo—in the same way that a composition of Duke Ellington's can be played as a ballad or as a fast piece.  Primary tempo designations are also included so that the interpreter can have every option available.

       c)    Each composition contains open duration spaces where time/space adjustments and parameters can be treated creatively.

D.    a)    All volume dynamics in this universe of music are relative.  What this means is that volume adjustments can be made when two or more given instrumentalists perform (execute) different compositions together.

       b)    Each person can respect his or her physical and vibrational particulars when dealing with the physical demands (and challenges) of the music.

       c)    Performers are encouraged to look for "affinities" and "composite sound states" based on the collective dynamics of the ensemble.  All of these matters will affect the music in every way.

The reality of this system seeks to establish fresh concepts about structure (FORM) and participation dynamics.  What this means is that architecture and vibrational properties in this sound world are designed to establish 1) an individual reality context (i.e., solo manipulations and strategies); 2) a collective or ensemble reality context (i.e., interactive strategies for large and small ensemble groups); and finally, 3) a correspondence reality context (one that establishes the interconnection logics—"WORLDS"—between structures).

I would also like to make four additional comments about this material to hopefully give insight into those things I would want any person interested in my  music system to know about.

My comments are:

a.    Have fun with this material and don't get hung up with any one area

b.    Don't misuse this material to have only "correct" performances without spirit or risk.  Don't use my work to "kill" young aspiring students of music (in other words—don't view this material as only a technical or emotional noose that can be used to suppress creativity).  If the music is played too correctly it was probably played wrong.

c.    Each performance must have something unique.  I say take a chance and have some fun.  If the instrumentalist doesn't make a mistake with my materials, I say "Why!? NO mistake—NO work!"  If a given structure concept has been understood (on whatever level) then connect it to something else.  Try something different—be creative (that's all I'm writing).

d.    Finally, I recommend as few rehearsals as possible so that everyone will be slightly nervous—and of course put in "emergency cues" just in case anything goes wrong.  Believe me there will be days when nothing works at all.  Also try and keep the music "on the line" to maintain the "spark of invention", and be sure to keep your sense of humor.

Good Luck,

Anthony Braxton
    Mills College 1988

P.S. (and please don't make the music too "cutesy")