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LISA BIELAWA

Ego sum for soprano and electro-acoustic chamber ensemble on texts overheard in public spaces

2014 SCORE in C Commissioned by the Paul Dresher Ensemble For the Paul Dresher Ensemble with Amy X Neuburg

Š2014 by Lisa Bielawa


LISA BIELAWA

Ego sum (2014) Commissioned by the Paul Dresher Ensemble For the Paul Dresher Ensemble with Amy X Neuburg

duration c. 8:00 SCORE in C Instrumentation: Soprano Solo w/percussion Clarinet in Bb / Bass Clarinet Violin Electric Bass MIDI/live sound processing


PROGRAM NOTE The title “Ego sum” oscillates between its meanings in Latin – “I am” – and in English – loosely, the aggregate of conscious beings. An incurably urban sort, I tend to find inspiration, solace and even radiant joy in transient public spaces, where I can feel the sum of so many egos around me. I become aware of myself as just one consciousness among many, flowing shoulder to shoulder through our modern world. It is no accident, then, that, long before the invitation from Amy X Neuburg and the Paul Dresher Ensemble to create a short work for inclusion in their set of pieces inspired by Diane Arbus, providing literal and musical snapshots of “intimate reflections on contemporary American life,” I had already written an entire body of work based on overheard fragments of speech that I collected all over the world over the course of 14 months. Even after creating the 35-minute “Chance Encounter” for soprano and orchestra (for performance in transient public spaces) and several other small works using these overheard texts, I have nowhere near exhausted the poetic charms of this library. In “Ego sum” I have selected phrases from it based simply on their use of the first-person subject “I” at the beginning of the sentence (and further refined the list based on the inherent charms of each phrase). On discovering Ourit Ben-Haim’s gentle yet gritty images of various “I”s assembled in public space, mostly in the NYC subway system where so many of these texts were collected, I knew I had a new context for these restless egos to which we are both drawn, over and over again, in our work. Ben-Haim says, “Lisa knows the world I found in street photography…It's such a wonderful vibrational match.”


TEXTS (overheard in transient public spaces) I won’t be staying long. I think I should take a day off. I’m losing my appetite really quickly. I don’t really understand her at all. I just can’t wait any longer. I gotta do this. I didn’t even see this the first time. I knew that, that’s what I was trying to tell you this morning. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and they’re my fault. I’m hoping to get married again – get another husband. I was thinking of you, so I was wondering if I could see you sometime today. I open my eyes, I look around: everyone is fake, phony. I feel sorry for her – maybe she was nice. I heard the news. Any idea what it means? I just talked with God. I usually don’t invite anyone to stay with my parents unless it’s serious. I owe you forty-two cents? For what? I should be home by four. I think it might have cheese in it. I think that it signifies that there’s nothing there. I’m sure you guys are all in this thing together. I got a call from your brother. I haven’t gotten any checks. I can’t believe I missed it. I’m trying to catch my breath. I met him before he was famous. I know her – well, sort of. I didn’t feel like I could give him my all.


PERFORMANCE NOTES: Accidentals hold through the measure, where there are measures, or through the box, where there are boxes, or through the phrase, where there are free-floating phrases. Arrows: - Large, bold arrows show the length of time that a boxed or repeated phrase should be played. Cue to stop is either a musical cue or, in some cases, an actual-time marking in seconds. When you hear a musical cue to end an arrowindicated section, finish playing the boxed or repeated phrase, then stop. - Smaller, dotted arrows indicate cues given/received between particular musicians that may not affect all other musicians. Boxes: play boxed phrase(s) any number of times, in any order (if there are more than one), for the entire arrow-indicated time, pausing in between. Independent Repeats: Like music in boxes, phrases within independent repeat signs can be played for entire arrow-indicated time, but without pauses in between. TECH NOTES: Three separate staves in the score represent the three tech sound components: 1. Synth vox patch: vintage-sounding faux-vox patch, controlled by Marimba Lumina or keyboard 2. Captured phrases: the yellow-hightlighted phrases in violin and clarinet must be captured, transposed up a perfect fourth, passed through a “telephone” EQ filter, and re-introduced into the mix as indicated in the “phrases” staff. These phrases can be captured, processed and triggered by any member of the ensemble, as determined in rehearsal. 3. “I” samples: six members of the ensemble should be recorded in advance, saying the word “I,” simply and naturally. These samples should be mapped in frequency contour order, to the spaces on the staff, and played by a MIDI performer on pads, keyboard or Marimba Lumina. In addition, Front of House general mix notes are given above the system in the score, always flagged by “**FOH.” Number of players, MIDI controllers and player-controlled vs. FOH-controlled mix changes can be determined by the performers.


Ego sum Overheard

Lisa Bielawa

Section I

!

**FOH: simple, warm, acoustic-style mix

Voice

Percussion

Clarinet in Bb

Violin

Electric Bass

Synth Vox

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c. 6"

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A

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Freely but moving forward q = c. 96

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mp

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Trgl

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**capture A: violin

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won't be stay - ing long.

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&

( (.

mf robust warm, round, sustained

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3

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3

mp

mp

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&

((

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mp

c. 6"

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mf

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I

Crotales

Processed phrases

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Copyright Š 2014

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2

Voice

Perc.

Cl.

Vln.

E. Bass

S.Vox

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Crot.

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Vln.

E. Bass

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3

3 repeat this pattern. accel gradually from q=20 to q=96, by section II. processed phrases line up with "I"s as indicated.

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Drum

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off

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2" between each note

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C " S.Vox " phrases

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!& "I" * ! #

Voice

mp

(

think I should take

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phrases

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)(

3

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Drum

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**FOH: captured, processed samples should enter barely audible

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18

Voice

Crot.

Cl.

Vln.

E. Bass

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mp

"I"

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Perc.

Cl.

Vln.

E. Bass

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Drum (*(

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ad lib - uneven, stuttering

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quick glisses up and down, entire chord

mp

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all.

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phrases

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S.Vox

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Crotales

(hold until stuttering in cl, vln & bass stops)

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4

!

F

Voice

Perc.

Cl.

Vln.

phrases

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Section II

entrances of captured phrases, complete map: (add phrases "E" and "F")

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5

*6

5 6

**FOH: captured samples at mf

G 5 "6

37

q = c. 104

7 !

#

ad lib drumming, high-energy

5 6

#

5 7 *6- - - - - - !-

-

f

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more spoken than sung: f

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0 5 ( 6

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captured phrases

mf "I" samples

Smpls

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1 ( ( 1 1 1 $$& 3 3 ( $ ((( ( 1 $&

B

"I" samples

phrases

3

mp dolce

Continue playing phrases A-F in any order, with pauses of decreasing length in between. Amy chooses phrases; all other players follow her drum cues.

$ #

#

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%

capture F: violin

I

34

Perc.

#

#

ppp

" ), phrases "

Voice

c. 1 min.

got - ta do this.

mp

D

C

C

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Trgl

*

c. 3-5"

3

mp dolce

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Smpls

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mp

p

28

**FOH: gradually increase volume of captured samples, reaching mf at letter G

I

I

I)

. 7 !

continue 2-bar pattern, often omitting "E" and omitting others as desired

continue 2-bar pattern, adding "fills" as desired to pattern

.7 !

I

5 6 5 6 5 6


!

41

Voice

Perc.

Cl.

" 65 & * 65

7 !

/

didn't even see this the first time.

#

-

-

" 65 /

SPEAK:

8 38 8 38 8 8

PLAY:

7 !

5 "6 /

!

7 !

8

PLAY:

(made

3

- 3 88 8 8

Vln.

8

a lot of mis - takes)

(

5 "6 & 5 *6

" 65 /

- - - -

I'm

7 1 5 - ! (((( ( 6 3

5 6

7 !

#

5 6

5 6

7 !

#

5 6

( 5 - ( - ( ( - ($ 7 ( +(,( ,( 5 ( 6 6 ,( ( ( ( ! ( 3 . 5 7 5 6 ! 6 .7 5 5 6 ! 6

**FOH: gradually increase volume and grittiness of captured samples and live processed voices until start of Section III

45

Cl.

8

(try - ing to tell you this morn - ing)

0 0 - ( - ( ( - ( $ 7 )()( ( +( / 5 E. Bass 6 )( ( ( ( ! 3 f funky, punchy . " 5 7 phrases * 6 ! .7 5 Smpls * 6 ! #

Perc.

5 - 6 -

0 5 ( 6

%

improvise phrases, emphasizing noise over pitch, imitating speech from previous measure (example only):

I've made a lot of mistakes and they're my fault.

Voice

8

7 !%

#

improvise phrases, emphasizing noise over pitch, imitating speech from previous measure (example only):

SPEAK:

'

5 6

#

7 !- -

I knew that, that's what I was trying to tell you this morning.

Vln.

5

**FOH: ON ALL 3 VOICE FEEDS: DELAY & opt. bend delay trail up or down as desired

7 !

/

hoping to get married again - get another husband.

f SPEAK:

#

#

5 6

I open my eyes, I look around: everyone is fake, phony.

SOLO: continue, ad-lib:

7 !%

%

0 5 ( 6 I

7 5 7 1 !- - - - - 6- - - - - - !( ( ( ( ( 3

7 !

PLAY speech-like phrases as before:

7 !

G

5 6

5 6

7 !

#

5 6

5 6

7 !

#

5 6

I was thinking of you, so I was wondering if I could see you sometime today. PLAY speech-like phrases as before: f SPEAK:

" 65 /

#

D

B¨ / 5 7 5 7 E. Bass 6- - - - - - !- - - - - 6- - - - - - !.7 .7 " 5 5 phrases * 6 ! 6 ! .7 .7 5 5 Smpls * 6 ! 6 ! #

-

B

5 - - - 6 5 6 5 6


6

!

**FOH subito choke all captured phrases

PAUL gives cue to go on H REPEAT 3-4x to Section III. DRUM and SPEAK improv ad lib using any of the phrases given 0 5 7 5 7 $ $ " 6 - - - - - - ! - - - - ( 6 - - - - - - ! - - - - ( $$

49

Voice

Perc.

Cl.

Vln.

I feel sorry for her - maybe she was nice. I heard the news. Any idea what it means? I just talked with God. I usually don't invite anyone to stay with my parents unless it's serious.

(omit last x)

I

5 " $$6 " $$65

7 !

5 6

I owe you forty-two cents? For what? I should be home by four. I think it might have cheese in it.

Alternate rapidly between speaking and playing, using any of the phrases given:

7 !

I think that it signifies that there's nothing there. I'm sure you guys are all in this thing together. I got a call from your brother.

5 6

$ #

I

* $$65 - - - - - - !7 - - - - - 65 - - - - - - !7 - - - - - $$ Alternate rapidly between speaking and playing, using any of the phrases given:

c. 5"

7 !

$$

7 !

$$

$ # $ # $ #

PAUL: set a steady quarter-note feel, q = 96

/ $$5 7 5 7 9 6 - - - - - - ! - - - - - 6 - - - - - - ! - - - - - $$ !( ( ( ( poco a poco cresc. 02 2 2 2 LAST TIME: omit "E" . . $ " $5 7 5 7 $$ # phrases * $6 ! 6 ! B¨

G

D

B

E. Bass

Smpls

'

$5 # * $6

poco a poco cresc.

poco a poco cresc.

**FOH: Chorus on AMY 54

& Voice " % !

mp

**FOH: original acoustic-style mix on instruments

&

"

mf

have - n't got - ten an - y checks.

#

ad lib groove:

#

$ #

( ( )( ( ( ( ( (

#

"

8-10"

mp

) ( ( ( ( ) (2 (. (2 (.

mp

((( (( (

/

mp

(2 (2 (2 (2 ( )(

ad lib

0( ( +( 0(4 ) ) ( ) ( ) ( ( ( ( ( ( ( )( )( ( ( )( ( )( )( (

ad lib groove, use these phrases or others using these pitches: E. Bass

$$

Strict pulse, no meter q = 96

I

Vln.

. 7 !

5 6

Section III

I

Cl.

. 7 !

$ #


( $ ( )( $ ( )(

58

Voice

& !" I

Cl.

Vln.

"

can't be - lieve I missed

+(( $$

"

(2 (2

sim.

E. Bass

/

'

S.Vox

'

+(. $ (+( $

mf cantabile

( )( (2 (2 4

)( ( ( )( (

( )( )( ( 4 ()( (+(

(+(,()( 0

try - ing

+(+( ( ( (0

% $$

"

(

&

(

$ & $&

( % $$ (

& &

( (

& & $$&

( % $$ (( (

&& & &

(( ( (

&& & $$& &

f

"

f

(use open G)

/

f

" #"

mp

&

to catch my breath.

bass gtr begins, all others join in rhythmic unison

( % $$ ( ( ( f

& & & &

( ( ( (

occasional interjection:

.(

.( $ ( ($ ( (

( - ($ -( - ( ( ( ( ( 0 0 0 0

& & $$& & &

2 2 2 ( ( ( (( (( mf

" % $$ +( ( ( ( $$& 2 2 2 2 mp

met him be - fore

% $$

he was

$ )(2 (2 (2 +(2 $&

(

fam - ous.

% $$

" % $$ +(2 (2 (2 (2 $$&

% $$ )(2 (2 (2 (2 $$&

+(2 (2 (2 (2

play steady eighths, using these patterns in any combination:

mp

$ %

&$

play steady eighths, using these patterns in any combination:

spicc.

(.

occasional interjection:

8-10"

K

' Voice " !

Vln.

.&

$ #

( +( : ( ( : ( (

65

Cl.

((

(( ( (2

f

I'm

E. Bass

.(

8-10"

& Voice " !

Vln.

it.

J 60

Cl.

($ ($

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&

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7

8-10"

$$&

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use this pattern last:

% $$ ))(2 ((2 ((2 ((2 ( $$& use this pattern last:

I


8 **FOH: wet reverb on cl & vln

8-10" rit.

67

Voice

L

$ #

!"

Vln.

E. Bass

S.Vox

"

,(

"

+((

f

I

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&$

,&& $$

%

f

(

&$

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&&&$ & $$ ((((

%

**FOH: Chorus off

)( $ )& $

$ #

($

.( ( 4

($ ( ( 4

).( ( ) (. $ 4

(< $ ( ( ($ ( ( 4

mp

,& ,( ( %

know her.

%

f

/

ff

&

do not align rhythmically with one another, rest between boxes:

Cl.

very slow and free

mf

%

Well, sort of.

$ & I

,( ( $ ' pp

$ ( )( )'

; ! ; !

pp

$ #

; !

; !

($ ( ( )))((( $$$ (((((( ))+(((( $$$$ (((((((( 4 4

$ #

; !

f

' **FOH: reverb off

M Heavy q = 54 ; ( Voice " ! ! )( ( $ )( 70

did - n't feel

Cl.

( +( (

like

3 ( ' ( ( ,(

I could give him my all.

solo )(. .( .( )( ( ( ; )(. ( ( "! . .

(

mf cantabile

Vln.

E. Bass

S.Vox

; "! & 0 )& mp 0 )& /; & !

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,&

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)+&&&&

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,(

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<< ((((

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((

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ad lib spicc. ad lib sul pont.

(

(

fatten sound, alternate between octaves as desired

&& &&

,' ' ''


9

Perc.

!

Cl.

Vln.

E. Bass

f

" *

" "

( ' ( ( ,(

( ( ( ( )&$

Ah

Ah

3

/$

#

ad lib multiphonics (overblow, add trills if desired)

+( ,( ,( ( +& $

3

Ah

#

3

( ' () ( + ( 3

Ah

#

#

" add chorus/reverb fx as desired % $$ && S.Vox " & ,' && '' && & ' ff

ff

"

mp

$ #

$ #

ad lib distortion effects on A:

' $$$ ' ' ' $ * # ' ' $$

'$

Crotales

$ #

/ '$ '$ ff

$ '$

use this phrase last:

ff

ff

phrases

**FOH: After c.10" reduce volume of samples slowly to end

sing any of these phrases in any order, as desired, or similar ones.

73

Voice

c. 20"

**FOH: Bring in all samples at maximum volume, at one time.

N

% $$

,' '' '

& & & & & &

$$& $$&

ad lib re-articulate samples as desired

$ # last two samples:

D

&

E

&

let "E" play to completion

$ #

Ego sum  

Lisa Bielawa: Ego sum for soprano and electro-acoustic chamber ensemble

Ego sum  

Lisa Bielawa: Ego sum for soprano and electro-acoustic chamber ensemble

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