Discontinuous Probability Field #5

This is one of a series of piano works featuring a predominant use of random procedures (“probability”) in its composition. Parameters (“fields”)–pitch, dynamics, and duration–are chosen arbitrarily and manipulated within very narrow, suddenly-changing (“discontinuous”) bands of possibilities. As a result, the listener is confronted with the nature of the sounds themselves, rather than by the musical structures and relationships which usually swallow them. The material of this piece was taken from the descending notes (C-B-A-G-F) found in the bass line to “America” by Paul Simon, and shared by many other sentimental tunes. The notes were transposed to nine keys, given separate durations, and superimposed to produce 159 slightly different nine-note chords. These were filtered randomly (most notes were deleted), and dynamics and durations were added (again randomly). The closing section comes from the same chords, but filtered differently, and with new dynamics and durations.