Max Neuhaus - Earle Brown, Four Systems - For Four Amplified Cymbals
  Year :   1964
  Location :   USA
  Worktype :   Performance
  Info :  

  Work Details  
  Brown's score consists completely of horizontal lines of various lengths and thicknesses. The constant thickness of each individual line stimulated me to search for and find an interesting percussion sound with a constant dynamic nature not the usual one with its initial burst of the attack and sudden and then gradual decay. After considerable experimentation I settled on the idea of using a metal rod with continuous screw threads to 'bow' a set of cymbals. Rubbing it down their edges gave me the constant dynamic I was looking for. Over years of playing cymbals, I had been struck by the difference of hearing them up close while playing them and their sound from a distance. Close, they are full of rich complex moving textures that get lost even a short distance away. The age of audio amplification was just dawning, and I was able to find a way to amplify these beautiful hidden sounds. In the early fifties Earle Brown invented 'open form' and 'graphic notation'. Four Systems has the sense of freedom that these terms imply. The score's horizontal lines exist on many different planes, overlapping one another to form (if one equates horizontal space with time) various patterns of entrance and duration. Rather than a strict interpretation of these patterns, during the performance I allowed my eye to pick out various combinations that seemed interesting or relevant to that particular moment in the realization's flow. This produced an improvisation, but one with a very definite relationship to the score. Accessed 12.08.2009 from