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Duet for Instrumentalists Jacob Mashak

Duration is to the discretion of the performers, but not less than 7 minutes and preferable much longer.

3 sections, I is approximately 30% of the total duration of the performance, II is c.60% and III is c. 10%. The three sections should flow into one another by gradual motion.

2 performers, using a multitude of instruments, though each player is to have one “fundamental” instrument which is to be a sustaining monophonic instrument of some kind. Player I's “fundamental” instrument is to be “higher” than player II's “fundamental” instrument. Other instruments need neither be sustaining nor monophonic, though should still be pitched instruments, and may be placed throughout the performance space: on stage, in the hall, on an easily accessible balcony. Non-pitched instruments, like drums and cymbals, may be used only in certain contexts (to be describes in Part II below) and may be distributed, though probably sparingly, with the other instruments.

Part I is chorale-like, performers playing the series:

(in that order, though the performers may begin at any point in the series, and at the completion of a cycle may begin at a different rotation) with long durations, not coordination with the other performer. Part one involves only the performers “fundamental” instruments, and takes place on the stage and in a traditional performance setup. When one performer arrives at a perfect consonance with the other (a 4th, 5th or 8va), s/he treats that note as an appogitura and quickly plays the next pitch in their series, so that only dissonances or imperfect consonances are sustained. The durations should very gradually decrease until they merge into...


Part II , involving (but not exclusively) rapid movement within the series:

(with the same ordering rules as in Part I). Performers, at their discretion, may substitute a rest or non-pitched noise for any one of the pitches of the series. Performers now begin to use instruments beyond their “fundamental” instruments and may move about the performance space. They may now utilize any of the instruments in the space. When the players reunite on the stage together, after an appropriate amount of time has elapsed (c.90% of the intended performance duration), the performers move into... •

Part III , which consists of the sustained pitches:

Performers gradually decrescendo to a rather soft piano and coordinate a cutoff. Optionally, performers may make the transition into Part III more gradual by inserting the sustained pitches that make up Part III into the end of Part II.

Duet for Instrumentalists may be performed by more than 2 performers, additional performers playing different rotations of the series of players I or II. If there are 3 performers, the piece should then be called Trio for Instrumentalists, if there are 4, Quartet for Instrumentalists , etc..

Duet for Instrumentalists