Beth Anderson - Peachy Keen-O

This CD has pieces with an auctioneer, a Kentucky farm with birds & clover, a jazz dancer, a quivering, vibrating, piece full of women saying supplication, a saint dying in flames, a drum piece .A. about frustration, mother/daughter miscommunication, a pipe organ, and punk rap with overtones of yoga. Many of my compositions from 1973-1979 use words or parts of words to make either all or part of the music. Sometimes the music is derived from the words. Some of it is considered to be part of the genre known as text-sound.*

Torero Piece (1973)
The phonemic part of this text-sound piece was derived from a paint-by-numbers scroll found in a used clothing store while I was in San Diego endeavoring to interview Pauline Oliveras for EAR MAGAZINE in 1973. The vowels and consonants were chosen because they exist in the Spanish language. I had just heard ZAJ perform and since I was very enthusiastic about them and they were from Spain plus the fact that I was working with a picture of a toreador or torero, I chose what I felt were very Spanish sounds-"ny", the retroflex "th", a rolled "r", a glottal fricative "gk", and the vowels in the title "o", "eh", and "E".

I transferred the picture by hand with its numbers for colors onto graph paper and reduced all the col¬ors to their simplest numeric equivalent (73 was 7+3=10 and 1+0=1, so 73 is 1). Each color was assigned a sound. If there were two colors or numbers in one square of the graph paper version, then there had to be two phonemes on that "beat" (as in "Eo" or "rrny"). If only the background color was present, then there was a "rest" or silence on that beat. To do the entire phonemic text takes about 45 minutes so to reduce it to about 7 minutes (the duration of my mother's dramatic reading), I filtered it by skipping lines in a regular pattern to maintain the overall shape.

The instruction for the reading part is to describe the most dramatic event or relationship in your life. Each performer writes his/her own speech. In other performances, Charlotte Moorman (whom composer Edgar Varese described as "the Jeanne d'Arc of new music") discussed playing Nam June Paik's "top¬less" cello piece on the Johnny Carson Show, composer Michael Sahl discussed his father's death from cancer, and artist Alison Knowles described one summer's baseball game.

This is the complete version of the first performance. Half of it is available on "10+2=12 American Text-sound Pieces" LP#1752 from 1750 Arch and reissued on Other Minds recently, very nicely edited by Charles Amirkhanian. TORERO PIECE, in print, is in a book entitled ED VOGELSANG "VIEWS BESIDE..." edited by Fritz Balthaus, Berlin 1982. Tony Gnazzo engineered this performance at Hayward Community College in California after its premier at Live Oak Park in Berkeley, California on a Hysteresis concert. Hysteresis was a women composer-performer collective established in Oakland/Berkeley, California in 1973. To us, the word 'hysteresis' meant the exchange of energy to overcome resistance to change.

•Text-sound is the use of words and phonemes (word fragments) to make a kind of percussive music. When poets do it, they usually call it Sound Poetry. When popular musicians do it, they call it Rap. When children do it, they consider it play. People and composers have been playing with words since words began or shortly thereafter

Tower of Power (1973)
This piece is a graphic score but it has written instructions that say: "Hold as many keys and pedals down as possible, using only your body, at as loud an amplitude as possible, using both your ears and your equipment to decide, for a minimum of five minutes, using yourself and your audience to decide, changing timbres a minimum of five times, without letting any notes up, avoiding any sharp contrasts, allowing your organ to dictate the possibilities. Four rehearsals of the piece are to be taped and played back in exact synchronization with the performance through four speakers placed symmetrically around the church, taking into consideration the origination of the organ sound. All should blend. Prepare your spirit, mind, ears, body, family, but avoid any discussion of the sound."

Linda Collins did the first performance in 1973 at the Mills College Chapel where she also recorded the other four performances that were played back simultaneously in quad with the live performance. I am told that others have performed this piece but the recording on this CD is the first performance. The ideal playback of this piece would be "as loud an amplitude as possible, using both your ears and your equipment to decide". The score was anthologized in SCORES edited by Roger Johnson for Schirmer Books in 1978.

The score is 22"x31" and was created by using a wide paintbrush to draw the five line staff. The staff lines are so close together that they either indicate all the possible notes or no room for notes at all-a very black and white Franz Kline sort of score.

Peachy Keen-0 (1973)
This electro-acoustic piece is for female voices, organ, electric guitar, vibraphone, large membra-nophones & metalophones, improvisatory dancers, peach light and pre-recorded tape. The recording on this CD is the first performance. It is what my mother called "haunted house music". It is soft and full of vibrating and diddling and women saying "supplication" among other things. The other words include an hallucinogenic, punning cheer ("One, Two, Three, Four. Who ya gonna YELLow Faure? <yell for>), two questions ("When ya gonna leave me Henry, huh?" and "What do you think of Elliott Carter?") and the score leaves room for other improvised questions and utterances.

I made the 22" x 31" graphic score in 1972 and hung it on my wall and thought about how I would like it performed. In 1973 a group of women composers and performers got together at Mills College, formed a group we named Hysteresis, and talked Bob Ashley and the Center for Contemporary Music into letting us do a concert on their series on March 3,1973.

I began the organization of the performance by asking friendly musicians to come and play the piece without any discussion and I didn't like what most of them did. So with great embarrassment, I had to ask some not to play. I was so shy that I made a recording of myself giving instructions as to how I would like the piece performed. After I had chosen the three players most in tune with my aesthetic (plus myself) I put them in a room with the tape running and I left. After they had heard the taped instructions, I came back and we performed the score and this time I liked the realization.

The underlying tape was a mixture of the creek down behind the house in Kentucky, a mechanical Santa Claus singing "Jingle Bells", my family talking during the 1972 Christmas season, my best friend's Jewish family talking on the day after Christmas, and Ana Perez and me singing old-time hymns in two part harmony while I played my grandmother's pump organ. The dancers were asked to wear white leotards and to improvise something slow and smooth that went with the music. The musicians were in the gloom on stage behind the peach lit dancers.

The score was published in the fifth issue of EAR MAGAZINE in May 1973.


Ocean Motion Mildew Mind (1979)
This is a Punk realization of "ommm". The words begin "ocean, motion, mildew, mind" and continue "wishin', Titian, swishin', swine." The ordering of the words after the first line was created by using a "magic square", so there are fewer and fewer words until we reach the center of the square. The last word is the center. Consequently its form is subtractive. Michael Sahl helped produce this recording. I put this one out on my private label on a 45 RPM and it was part of "Poetry Is Music". "Poetry Is Music” was a National Public Radio series of eighteen eight minute programs designed to be used as drop-in for 'magazine shows' each one presenting a different text-sound* artist and his/her work. I created this series using a Satellite Program Development Fund grant.

Country Time
This piece is a cut-up of an additive description of a walk around my family's farm in Kentucky one early summer with a poem I wrote about other experiences in Kentucky. It is for voice and percussion with or without birdcalls. Michael Sahl and Eric Salzman helped produce this recording and it was part of "Poetry Is Music".

Yes Sir Ree (1978)
This text-sound* piece is based on phrases used by Richard Levy and things his students mumbled about him. He is a jazz dance teacher for whose classes I played piano accompaniment at The Clark Center. He used to scream various encouraging words and compliments at his students in the process of teaching his class and his philosophy seemed to be that dancing was to be enjoyed massively. "Hee", one of the phonemes, "becomes" the sound of maracas.

An audio version of YES SIR REE is in a book entitled ED VOGELSANG "VIEWS BESIDE..." edited by Balthaus, Berlin 1982 and it was included in the radio series "Poetry Is Music" and recorded for the WDR-Cologne. Michael Sahl and Eric Salzman helped produce this recording.

I Can't Stand It (1976)
When I first moved to New York I had a hard time getting used to how things were here and this pii is a direct response to that frustration. I had difficulties finding performers to play my music, gaining access to a music library and an electronic music studio, traveling via the subway system, and I was prepared to be as assertive as living in New York City required. Feel free to give it your personal interpretation regarding whatever bothers you. I used to perform it without drums, asking the audience to ferociously stomp on the beat. For a while I played drum set and performed the words simultaneous was conceived for voice and drum set and various versions have been recorded and released on Dial-A-Poem Poets LPs and my private label. It was also part of "Poetry Is Music". Michael Sahl helped produce this recording. The words include: "I can't stand it... I can't take it...I can't say it...I can't fight it...I can't avoid it...I can't write about it...I can't stop it." And so on. About 80% of the way through there is a "deceptive cadence" and then the rant continues.

Joan (1974; 1977)
In 1974 Dennis Russell Davies arranged for me to have a California Arts Commission grant to compose a new piece for the Cabrillo Festival in Aptos, I asked him what instrumentation I could use and tie said I could write something small or use everything the festival had. I chose the latter and made an oratorio about Joan ol Arc using the translation of the text of her trial as the basis. I decoded the text into pitches and used a modulating coding system with instructions and free rhythm. The score's parts were typed pitches with an instruction sheet. The concert performance was amazing with four vocal soloists, lull orchestra arranged in the audience and on stage in the shape of a cross, Quad tape, live electronic mod¬ulation, a dancer on scaffolding high above everyone, and lighting cues instead of a conductor.

Anna Carol Dudley was the coloratura soprano who sang the saints' part and her words included: "Take up the standard in the name of the King of Heaven." At her trial Joan said that this is what the saints had told her to do. The first time Anna sang the word "take", she sang it on the melisma "f,a.d,e" because the code included ABCDEFG and "t" was decoded as "f", "a" was "a", "k" was "d". and "e" was "e". The second time she sang the word "take" she sang it on the melisma "b.a.e.e" because the code now only included ABCOEF, so "t" was decoded as "b", "a" was "a", "k" was "e", and "e" was "e". Each time she sang the word, the code changed in a subtractive way, so that the sixth variant was a code of AB and she sang "take" on the melisma "b,a,a,a" because "t" was decoded as "b", "a" was "a", "k" was "a", and "e" was "a". Eventually all sound returned to A-440 which in the original performance was the first and last sound and the continuing drone heard via the quad tape/electronics The other vocal soloists were Victoria Bond, Philip Kelsey, and Thomas Buckner with Margaret Fisher, dancer, and Robert Hughes, the conductor who prepared the ensemble.

However I was not able to hear my modulating coding system clearly in all this, so I made the version of the piece that is on this CD. This fifteen-track all piano version of only the pitches was made in January 1977 at the State University of New York at Albany. It had fifteen tracks because there were five orchestral divisions and each division had a wide assortment of instruments and its own text which went along with either a soloist's or the dancer's text. In order to "duplicate” the ranges of the different orchestral instru¬ments of the five orchestral parts, I played each series of modulating codes three times using a low, then a middle, and finally a high range (5x3=15], These were all laid on top of each other and mixed.

Ode (1978)
The auctioneer is Spec Edwards who was recorded in the Ml Sterling, Kentucky tobacco warehouses in December 1972. I was accidentally recording when tobacco went up to a 1 dollar a something. For many years it had been 70 or 80 cents a something. Now it is up to S1.80, but in 1972, this was a breakthrough. This piece is the companion piece to TORERO PIECE and it is dedicated to my father who was an auctioneer, among other things. Spec was his buddy.

"Ode" was created and mixed at The City University of New York Queen's College electronic music stu¬dio with help Irom Sorrell Hays, at the Wesleyan University electronic music studio with help from Marc Grafe, and finally at ZBS Media with help from Bob Bielecki. In the late 1970's it was released on the cassette tape "Poetry Music Quilts", an anthology of my work (and that of Gayle Hanson) of Widemouth Tapes (#8619) and it continues to be available in that format despite the odds. It was heard in concert at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia and at The Kitchen in New York City.


Thanks to Gregory Reeves for copying these pieces onto cassettes and to Kathy Otterslen for copying the cassettes onto CDs for rue before the reel-to-reel tapes disintegrated. The National Endowment for the Arts made it possible for me to make some of this music because of the Career Development Grant awarded to rne in 1975.1 am very grateful to all the performers, sound technicians, light technicians, engineers, producers, performance space and festival administrators, grant agencies, critics, editors, teachers, dancers, librarians, electronic music studios, friends, and family involved in each of these recordings, most of whom are listed by name in the notes including National Public Radio's Satellite Program Development Fund. I am also grateful to my precious husband, Elliotte Rusty Harold.

Cover design: Matthew Schickele

Mastering: Tom Hamilton

Back booklet cover: from the score of Peachy Keen-0

Under the CD tray: from the score of Tower of Power