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Dick Higgins

Ten Ways of Looking at a Bird for Violin and Harpsichord (Book)

Label: Printed Editions

Format: Book

Genre: Sound Art

In stock


Rare original artist' book - Music scores and instructions for performance Ten Ways of Looking at a Bird (1981)...is a playful variation on the name of a poem by Wallace Stevens whose work I have always admired, though, goodness knows, there is no modern poet more different from myself. This is a piece for violin and harpsichord; the harpsichord part is developed in “live time” (that is, during the performance) from what the violinist is doing, according to a set of rules. The violinist uses musical staves set over a set of ten blue photographs of the same model that I used in celebration; each movement uses a different gamut, or set of up to seven notes, which he may use in any octave or transposition, but which are the only notes he uses in any performance of that movement. Just what notes he uses is determined by his own skills and unique abilities—no “fully composed” realizations could take advantage of all the skills of all violinists—but there are also rules for using the photographs. 

 "This violin and harpsichord work uses photographs as graphic notation underlying conventional staves, all interpreted within the limits of a series of sets of up to six tones for each of the ten pieces in the cycle." D.H.

Cat. number: 0275E
Year: 1981

Music scores with instruction for performance (ten movements)
pp. 20, 28 x 21.5 cm.