The Book of Musical Patterns

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hatta
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The Book of Musical Patterns

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Hollow Earth Recordings presents:

The Book of Musical Patterns
a book of symbolic scores by Robert j Kirkpatrick

The Book of Musical Patterns a collection of 50 musical patterns along with 10 mutators that can turn any of the patterns into a new score. A musical pattern is the bare essence of a composition, the structure as it were. Sounds are represented by symbols leaving all aspects of their generation up to the performer. There is a set of simple rules on to guide the performer in wringing music out of these miniatures. They exist in many ways as a challenge to the musician - how to take so little information and restrictions and turn this into compelling music. If this sounds interesting then there is a lot here to inspire you. The patterns are divided into seven diverse styles that rate from algorithmic to pictorial. Additionally the book includes a set of templates that can cut out and placed over the scores to create a new set of scores. For more information on how the scores came about and what they are trying to achieve see the information page.

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Additionally there are two CDs of recordings of a small subset of the scores. While not meant in any way to define how these scores sound, they simply provide an example of how they can be interpreted.

Andrew Woods, Eric A. Peacock, Robert j Kirkpatrick
The Seattle Improv Meeting plays from the Book of Musical Patterns (HER008)
Trio versions of six of the scores demonstrates an aspect of group performance of these scores. A wide diversity of sounds and techniques highlights the diversity that one can apply to these scores. This CD is included with the book of scores or can be downloaded or acquired separate.

Robert j Kirkpatrick
Selections from the Book of Musical Patterns ( HER009)
Contains five of the scores as interpreted by the composer. Stark, spare and uncompromising these interpretations showcase one particular approach towards these scores.

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As is always the case from Hollow Earth Recordings these are all available in virtual and physical media. The Book of Musical Patterns is available in PDF format as either one file, or as each individual score. They are meant to be printed at 11x17 if you take this route. Additionally books will be printed on demand for those who want a physical copy. See this page for details on acquiring a physical copy.

The CDs again can be downloaded in both lossless and compressed formats with pdfs of the covers. The Seattle Improv Meeting plays from the Book of Musical Patterns but can be downloaded or acquired separately. For information on attaining a physical copy, see this page.

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hatta
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Re: The Book of Musical Patterns

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So as a bunch of you know this is the book of scores I've been working on for the last two-three years. I am publishing this as a promotion but in general my interest is in hear how people play these. Thus they are all available as PDFs for free download a nearly no restriction usage (the only restriction is on selling these). I have printed up copies of the book and it is definitely the ideal format but I have no idea about demand for those. The whole book is about 72 pages at 11x17 so printing them in small runs is a bit pricey and there certainly is no demand for a large run. But I do hope that some people want printed copies, like I said it is the ideal way to use the score. I have set up the PDFs so that if you print them to 11x17 they should be accurate reproductions.

As I was developing this I worked out a lot of my ideas by playing the scores both on my own and with The Seattle Improv Meeting who has been playing new music scores for the last four years. This was fundamental in shaping the development of the later scores and really making scores for this group was one of my primary motivations. So I have collected my favorite half dozen recordings with this group and put them onto a CD. This is also available for download but again I'll make CDs of these on demand. The other CD is my solo take on 5 pieces. The goal of these two CDs is to show a diversity of approaches to playing the scores, though obviously since I'm involved in both they do share some aspects in common.

So as I say on the website I want to hear as many takes on these as possible and will host them on my site with any accompanying information that people want to include. I'm hosting both lossless and mp3 so these can be as professional as one wants. So please download some scores and make an attempt at it.

Since I'm on this forum I'll answer any questions people have about playing these, interpreting, what I'm trying to do, critiques, or whatever. Any issues with the files, the website or whatever is also very welcome. So thanks for taking a look, this has been a long time in coming and has really been almost my entire musical focus for the last couple of years.
"Please everybody, if we haven't done what we could have done, we've tried"

diederich
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Re: The Book of Musical Patterns

Post by diederich »

Just wanted to chime in and say I've enjoyed digitally paging through the scores the past week or so. I've made my way through your disc of realizations and the seattle improv meeting one. I'm enjoying them a lot, some of the pieces are really incredible. I'll probably print this up myself, although perhaps I'll email you about a physical copy. I'd like to try my very very out of practice hand at some of these. Even if that never happens, the scores themselves are a pleasure and I'm really looking forward to hearing more interpretations.

The main question I have revolves around the pool sections. I feel like it's a lack of creativity on my part perhaps, but the instructions mostly just leave me confused. If you'd be willing I'd love to hear more thoughts on how you envision people playing through something like no. 35 or no. 32. If you'd be willing to talk through your process recording no. 33 I'd be interested to hear more.

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hatta
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Re: The Book of Musical Patterns

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Hey thanks a lot for checking all this stuff out. I too am very excited to hear different takes on these and I would love to hear yours. As I say on the site I'll host any recordings that people make so if you (or anyone) make one please submit it.
diederich wrote:The main question I have revolves around the pool sections. I feel like it's a lack of creativity on my part perhaps, but the instructions mostly just leave me confused. If you'd be willing I'd love to hear more thoughts on how you envision people playing through something like no. 35 or no. 32. If you'd be willing to talk through your process recording no. 33 I'd be interested to hear more.
First off thanks to your question I see that in the complete PDF I put 32 before 31. Whoops, thanks for pointing me to that! I'll update the PDF later today. Anyway to answer your specific questions, I doubt there's any issue with your creativity, as I've said elsewhere these patterns are a real challenge to wring music out of. I remember when I first showed Treatise to some musician friends of mine they immediately were talking about sounds and how they'd transform those images into music. The Musical Patterns I don't feel are entirely like that (the last section maybe a bit) they are more like a new abstract form of notation. Yet unlike a traditional notation I don't give you much guidance. As you go through the scores they become increasingly abstract. The early algorithmic ones could be directly mapped to conventional notation. While I don't tell you what to play for each symbol you could make a choice and write it out. I would think that this is how say David Tudor would approach it (at least in the early days). As you get to the later scores I remove more and more of these structural elements and yet the same rules apply. In playing the Pools of Sound with others I found that the common approach was toward a free interpretation so I tried to clarify with the additional instructions. So lets take a look at these additional instructions.

* Pools of sound arise from the space in which they are set.
The image that I associate with the pools of sound is of a still surface of water with a stone thrown into it. So like the ripples in the water the pools are a feature of the element that they are in.

* Each pool should be approached individually with common elements providing the structure.
The symbols on these pages are made up of disparate elements, but they share some features: shape, color, size etc. But again thinking of these as ripples in a pool, each of these is its own rock (or two, or three if overlapping) tossed into that pool. The common features should be used to create continuity, but again how this is done is up to the performer. Maybe you assign pitch ranges to size, dynamics to color, a set of techniques to shape. Or perhaps you just associate an instrument to a color and vary it as the shape varies. The way the symbols are assigned is totally open to the performer and I think is the most essential part to finding the music in these scores.

* The path through the pools is up to the performer.
One of my primary concerns with these compositions is structure and the linear paths in the earlier scores are a form of structure that I place upon the performer. Time in those provides an element of indeterminacy - the timings between events is up to the performers. In these scores this still applies but the order in which a symbol is played is up to the performer, thus adding an additional layer of indeterminacy.

* Spaces between the pools must be observed and should be also be a structural element.
This of course is the primary rule of the patterns in general, but I felt this should be reiterated. You can't just play a continuous drone for the entire duration and say that you have played these scores.

* A pool should be thought of as a system which can have multiple elements: a sound, but also its duration, repetition, dynamic and so on.
In general what I'm say here is that each pool shouldn't necessarily be thought of as a single sound. You could do that, but in general that wouldn't be too interesting. Again think of the analogy to rocks in the water - its a spreading series of ripples that interacts with existing textures from the water and ground below and so on.

* How the characteristics are determined is up to the performer but whatever structure is applied should form the basis for those that share symbolic features.
This is basically saying that you should have consistency in your symbolic assignments. Again this is another base rule of all the patterns that I felt needed emphasis. But also it's worth stating that consistency in this case doesn't have mean play A# for symbol x every time. It could be say; use a mallet.

* Drops of sound should be related to pools as a drop of water is related to a pool of water.
I think my clarifications above should make this fairly clear. I don't want to make any limiting associations, but if you think of a drop of water as a microcosm but also a subset of a greater microcosm it should be easy to make an association between the two.

So I hope that makes it clearer. I'm happy to go over exactly how I interpreted No. 33 but I feel I've gone on a bit long here already :) But as I've said, I'm totally happy and willing to go over these at any detail people are interested in. I really, really, really want to hear some other peoples take on these and I'm very interested in how clear my instructions are. They best thing about web publishing is that I can easily update stuff and I will constantly do so.
"Please everybody, if we haven't done what we could have done, we've tried"

diederich
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Re: The Book of Musical Patterns

Post by diederich »

A lot to chew on! Thanks!

I'd still love to hear about no. 33 if only because I'm fascinated by the scores.

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hatta
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Re: The Book of Musical Patterns

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diederich wrote:I'd still love to hear about no. 33 if only because I'm fascinated by the scores.
Okay :)

No 33 is a bit different from the other Pools of Sound, it is more like a single pool with defined ripples. there are a lot of different ways you could tackle this one, but it also I think is one of the more inscrutable patterns. In my Selections I tended toward very literal interpretations, often of the more inscrutable patterns. I should emphasize that I do not think of these as definitive in any way, just one of many ways to tackle it.

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There are 12 rings in No. 33 and a drop in the center. For my purposes I numbered the rings with the outermost ring being 12. I played this with two contact mics that I rubbed together in various circular patterns. I would repeat the action that I used the number of times that corresponded to the number of the ring. I used 3 separate "techniques" changing it every 4 rings. The space between the rings is fixed so I used a fixed amount of inactivity between each ring. For the 13th symbol I used a more percussive method of playing the contact mics in an attempt to both encapsulate the previous sounds but also diverge from them.
"Please everybody, if we haven't done what we could have done, we've tried"

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hatta
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Re: The Book of Musical Patterns

Post by hatta »

As mentioned above I discovered that one page in the PDF of the complete score was out of order and have corrected that uploading a new version of that pdf. Not a huge deal but I gave the whole score a once over and found that portions of several of the Cluster Templates were cut off due to my not having set up a print region for those pages before printing them to pdf (d'oh!). These have all been replaced with corrected versions in all of the various downloadable forms. If any of you have previously downloaded the complete PDF, the archive of individual pages or the Cluster Template archive please replace those with the corrected versions which can be found here.

Also I welcome any comments regarding errors, incoherencies or other errata.
"Please everybody, if we haven't done what we could have done, we've tried"

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hatta
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Re: The Book of Musical Patterns

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I just wrote an entry on my blog about interpreting these scores that I thought some might find interesting:
Strategies of realization for the more abstract Musical Patterns.

Includes a new recording I made of No 46:
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"Please everybody, if we haven't done what we could have done, we've tried"

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hatta
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Re: The Book of Musical Patterns

Post by hatta »

Rooting around in my iPhoto library I found these photos I made whilst I was recording No 7, which I thought might be of some interest so I threw them up into the HER Flickr set.

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The setup I used for my recording of No 7 from the Book of Musical Patterns.


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No 7 working score


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No 7 score

My recording of No 7 can be freely downloaded here
"Please everybody, if we haven't done what we could have done, we've tried"

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