visual intuitive scores

fauna obscura An early visual/Intuitive score, from the early months of the pandemic. It has been performed by three different ensembles!
October 2021. At a show in my yard in autumn, Erik Fratzke liked the open ended-ness of the score: In the group we play in now ( Troux Bloux) he sets up the context and everyone else responds.
This is one of my first steps toward the visual, intuitive scores. I drew my own staff paper, and copied it onto several sheets of stiff cardstock. The wide clef grew out of my frustration with ledger lines on the piano, and attempting to show the extreme registers. It’s not a perfect system, but the players got the idea.
Bird Myths #4

In the Autumn of 2019, I began exploring new directions in notation. I found an interesting path, a semi-thematic vehicle in using text, to guide emotionally, but to also encourage players to use the rhythm of the words to guide their phrasing.

Bird Myths #9

I can’t remember the exact moment this started, but I began to think of symbols and meaning… and started incorporating images into the scores. The images and shapes became more expansive: both realistic and abstract juxtapositioning.

I wanted to develop an open-ended system, where musicians a context, a motif/idea/image/cell to start from. I give some choices, and encourage people to go from there.

the day after earth day

In February 2020 I had one rehearsal with cellist Aaron Kerr, violinist Laura Harada, and percussionist Eric Coursen, for a March 28th concert. It was amazing…. This group took my visual and textual scores, and found compelling interpretations. We were so excited for the spring to open up these ideas.

Needless to say, the March Concert never happened, nor have any of the many other ones planned. During the onset of COVID, I found myself deep into watercolor; thanks to Joseph Abbott Maurer,( artist/ naturalist/activist) I started to go into deep, healing places that I had never expected.

City Shore birds: debut November 2019 Baltimore( An Die Musik) and WA DC. ( Rhizome) remember…….. Eat Bertha’s Mussels !

During this time I have created a huge body of work: scores that also function as art. I did not discard conventional notation, but I am writing more of it by hand.

For me, music is a deeply connective activity; socially/emotionally with musicians and audience, a dialogue with the natural world around us. Like a dormant seed, I am waiting for the right, safe time to come out and play. Meanwhile, I am on a tear.

hidden fox rhythms : each player takes an area, and interprets it.


HIdden Fox Chordal Todd Harper

Orator has permission to add embellishments. End with last phrase with musicians.

Life is interesting for a medium small predator.

You can eat a lot of mice, baby rabbits, snakes,
berries, grasshoppers, stolen eggs, dead birds,
human garbage, occasional chickens,
unwary cats-

You will spend your life going ziggity-zag across
hay fields, frozen marshes, pastures, hillocks,
streams , crossing highways at night. Quickly!

But dear fox, beware of the Golden Eagles of Mongolia, Coyotes, Grizzly Bears, Lynx & Bobcat, some farmers, pimply bored teenaged boys with guns, freeways, Walt Disney,..

And descendants of the British Aristocracy
On horseback

Marsh. Save the morning ! 15″ x 22″ 2022. un performed

Marsh afternoon, autumnal. 12X 12″ 2022

Salt Flat. 16″x 16″ 2022 unperformed.

Happy Ghosties 22″x30. performed by Troux Bloux 2022.

Waterceiling waves…. 16 x16″ recorded by Troux Bloux 2022. Composition/oration/electric keyboards Todd Harper. Bass/Erik Fratzke. Alto saxophone/Ivan Cunningham. Clarinet/Marry Harris. Drums/ Tarek Abdelqader.