Braiding: Lessons from Braiding Sweetgrass

Page 1

Notes to Performer

Program Notes: Lesson 1: Gratitude… for gifts from the earth; reciprocity… through attention and care for the gift-givers. Lesson 2: Listening, paying attention… to our fellow Earth dwellers, the birds, insects, animals, trees, wind, water… a democracy of species. Lesson 3: Animacy… of the wind, asserted by wind chimes… “to be the wind” I thank Robin Wall Kimmerer for her beautiful and inspiring book Braiding Sweetgrass. I thank Sara Fraker for her collaborative spirit, wonderful imagination, and immense hard work to bring this project to fruition. This work weaves us together as three strands of a braid.

Speaking parts: This piece asks the performer to speak a few passages. The passages between 5:41-8:04 are taken directly from Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass with the publisher's permission; therefore, these must not be changed. The first passage at 0:52 was composed in collaboration with Sara Fraker, with specific references to the Dalbergia genus, from which all oboes are made. Performers can feel free to replace this with their own text, as long as it still conveys a similar message of giving thanks and giving back with this musical offering.

Electronics notation: Right arrow: the specified sound continues on for awhile Left arrow: indicates that the specified sound has been going on Double arrow: indicates that the specified sound is ongoing No clef staff: noise-based sounds, percussive or inharmonic or unpitched Treble staff: pitched sounds

Technical requirements: I. Microphone, preferably dynamic or condenser, to amplify the oboe and pick up spoken text II. Computer playback from stage. A performer can use a stopwatch or download the Max patch associated with this piece to assist with timing. III. Mixer and PA • Balance the computer playback with the oboe microphone IV. Sound-check suggestions • Check the sound at around 4:20. The computer playback should be the fullest and it is okay for the oboe to sound slightly under or inside the computer sound. • Another good spot to check is around 3:45. • Check the bass response at 2:11 (tree thud). This should sound full but not overwhelming. • Check the air sound and gesture of the oboe at 6:57. The electronics will be louder than the oboe's air sound. The oboist's movement can be very dramatic before approaching the mic and then the oboist can blow air and slow the movement down once in the vicinity of the mic, in order to maximize the volume of the air sound. • Once these areas are set, no other adjustments should be needed. The piece opens and ends very quietly.

Braiding Lessons from Braiding Sweetgrass Asha Srinivasan





Now more reflectively As a call to attention q=60 Oboe


> #œ œ

3 3 ‰ j œj œ œ œ œ# œ œ ˙

∑™ w





° ¢&

j œ ‰

œ w



w pitch resonance with shifting timbres


39" 3

(no breath) 3

& ‰ ™ œr œ œ œ

j œ ˙™ . œ œ œ œ #œ ‰ œj J

œ ‰ Œ J

œ #œ œ œ œ œ œ ‰ œ œ œ #œ œ

p ppp sub. lontano


° ¢& w pitch bends


49" molto vib.



œ J



f (wait 3-5 seconds before speaking) with great emotion, a most beautiful oboe note

° ¢&


52" (30s)

∑ & speak: "We give thanks to the Dalbergia Nation. We are grateful for their gift of resonant wood. We give thanks to those who care for, protect, and sustain Dalbergia tree life. In humble exchange, we offer this music, with gratitude and respect."

° ¢&

∑ (resonances continue and then fade out, electronics tacet)