Composition Machine No 4:

Answer to Nancarrow

Latest version of Wandelende Tak (2013)

Text and Image

Performance with instrument inventors initiative at November Music 2013, Den Bosch, Netherlands.

Answer to Nancarrow (2013) is the latest work in a series of composition machines build over the last 6 years.
The idea of the composition machines is on one hand to exhibit specific compositional structures by giving them a physical form as mechanical machines, on the other hand to create new limits and possibilities to the composer as an alternative to to those possibilities and limitations found in the classical instruments and notation system.

Nancarrow in fascinating because he through out his life insisted in composing music with such a rhythmical complexity that no human could play it. He wrote his music for player pianos (automatic mechanical pianos that reproduce music written on rolls of perforate paper) and hereby he achieved very high rhythmical accuracy, but also very limited variety of timbre. The compositions are structurally intriguing and has become a study object for contemporary composers, but the sounding music lacks a human side as it is interpreted by machines rather than musicians.

In my answer to him, I have reflected upon some of these topics. I have replaced the rolls of paper with a new mechanical system with belt conveyors and translated one of Nancarrow's complex canons into colours, shapes, and movement.
When performers play the new machine as an instrument, the old structure is expressed with a new human relation between performers, music and audience.

KLANG - Copenhagen Avantgarde Music Festival, June 2013, Denmark.

November Music 2013, Den Bosch, Netherlands.

at KLANG - Copenhagen Avantgarde Music Festival, June 2013