Stage Matrix 1
Composed in 1983 while studying with Eric Stokes. This matrix was laid out on the floor of the Scott Hall stage at the University of Minnesota, and four percussionists, each using a different type of drum, moved through the matrix. (As I recall, one of the drums was a tympani, which was rolled around through the matrix.) I no longer have the performance notes for this piece, but I think this is how it works: There is a basic tempo established by four conductors, positioned on the four sides of the matrix, (so whichever way a performer is facing, they can see one of the conductors). The function of the four conductors could also be accomplished through the application of theatrical lighting, gently pulsing the 4/4 timing. The performers enter the matrix with their drums and play the rhythm pattern of the square they are standing in. They may then choose to move to any adjacent square whenever they like, but only on beat one of the 4/4 measure being conducted. I'm not sure what the row with the question marks was meant to indicate. It probably meant that the performer was free to improvisa-tionally embellish the prescribed rhythmic indication. So, the performers just continue to move through the matrix as they see fit. The length of the piece is determined by the performers. Individual performers stop by exiting the matrix from one of the squares around it's edge. Once a performer has left the matrix, they may not re-enter. So, this piece relies heavily on the improvisational and musical instincts of the performers. Every performance will be different. It's also very striking visually. I wish I had a video of it.
I found this in the archives. It shows one possible manifestation of the movement of performers through the matrix. I see that it shows them starting in the correct squares, but it does not show them exiting the matrix at the end. Oh well. Still kind of interesting looking.