Rei MUNAKATA: Pleats (2016) for string quartet

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Rei Munakata Pleats (2016) for string quartet

Introduction Pleats (2016) for string quartet is commissioned by NeoQuartet and its international project NeoArte. First performance: NeoQuartet, July 9th 2016 Randfestspiele Zepernick, Berlin GERMANY

Instrumentation 2 violins 1 viola 1 cello

Program Note Pierogi are delicate Polish dumplings based on unleavened dough filled with variety of ingredients, and are the timeless symbol of families and friends gathering together. Every pleat and corner of the pierogi sealing seem to have folded in something familiar from the past. Intimate and fragile — almost Chopinesque.

Performance Notes

Bow The bow position, movement, and pressure are important elements of Pleats, and are notated graphically.

The placement of the bow is indicated in 5 different positions as shown in the diagram.

In general, move the bow in curvy or circular motion throughout the piece as much as possible otherwise indicated. Hold the bow always perpendicular to the strings, but constantly change the contact point of the bow and the strings by ¨drawing¨ or ¨brushing¨ a curved or circular line. The balance of the curvy and sideway movement of the bow and the curve direction should be determined by the performers depending on the phrasing and expression of the music. More curvy movement creates richer noise quality, and more sideway movement (conventional up and down bows) stronger perception of pitches. Avoid complete vertical movement of the bow even with a very short phrase. Always try to move in a curvy motion. The most important is to create an unstable movement and phrase to enhance a richer sound palette based on the bow movement. Rather than trying to follow exactly the bow position or the curved velocity indicated, follow the graphics more as a graphical notation as if you are ¨brushing¨ a calligraphic text or picture.

Curvy movement

The example indicates the bow traveling from ord. to m.s.t. in a stretched ¨S¨ shape. The thickness of the line indicates that the beginning and the end should be more bow pressure that in the middle.

Circular motion

The example shows series of circular motions of the bow. The notation is a symbolic representation of a ¨circle¨ rather than a literal graphics. One ¨circle¨ indicates one circle movement, thus, there are 6 circular ¨brushing¨ during this phrase.The performer decides the direction of the circular motion.

Repeated Brushing

The example shows repeated ¨brushing¨ of the bow. Brush the bow repeatedly (retake) with very small curvy moment. Keep the bow stroke small and compact.
 Avoid ¨hitting¨ the string.

Half circle motion

¨Draw¨ a half circle each eighth note in strict rhythm with great bow pressure. Two-eighth notes create one circle (but with 2 accents each half circle). The rhythm of the bow should be independent from the left hand movement.

Up and down bow

Ordinary up and down bow with great pressure. In this example, it is important that the bow is placed extremely close to the bridge with the greatest bow pressure possible to bring out high shrieking complex overtones.

Note head Black note head (¨●¨) Cross note head (¨x¨) Diamond note head (¨◇¨)

Normal playing with pitch. Let it ring. Damped with the palm. Do not let ring. Harmonics. Let it ring.

Choreography Pleats (2016) is scored for a string quartet performing on an ordinary concert stage, and the performers are placed like an ordinary string quartet. However, the conclusion of the work consists of a new choreographic element. Viola and Cello: After fading away the long held circular motion, slowly reposition yourself (Viola: place the instrument on the lap vertically) and raise arms in slow motion. Carefully and softly give a warm hug to your instrument. Be sincere to your instrument and keep holding without movement until the end of the work.

Violin I and Violin II: Violin II: After fading away the long held circular motion, slowly stand up (with the instrument in hand), and start walking towards the back of the Violin I player. Violin I: Keep playing. Violin II: Carefully start wrapping the violin I player with the whole arms to give a gently hug. Be careful not to hurt any of the instruments. Violin I: Stop (not mechanically but organically) playing when the Violin II player gives a hug. Do not move or try to hug back. Sit there quietly and comfortably while being hugged. Stay in this position until the end of the piece.

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