A Graphic Score by Peter Torpey

Most pieces of music have a score, which shows musicians what to play or helps listeners to listen. For A Toronto Symphony, my colleague Peter Torpey and I have created a score which will help us all to compose and to imagine the shape and sections of the piece that we are creating together. This score tells the “story” of the piece, shows what the sections or “movements” will be, and describes the basic way that we will collaborate to make the symphony.

Here’s the graphic score of A Toronto Symphony, and below the picture is a description of how I imagine each section. This may evolve as we share our music and discuss the project, as a medieval cathedral evolved from blueprint to reality based on the contributions of every sculptor, stonemason and bricklayer. Off we go:

And here is my description of the sections that are shown in the graphic score:

1) OVERTURE
Purely instrumental; sets the mood. Like the city waking up. [(H)ours – we’ll craft this together]

2) CITY SOUNDS
Emerging collage to be based on recordings or descriptions of the “sound of Toronto” that you send me. [Yours – please send me sounds now!]

3) CITY STORIES
Based on recordings of your stories about Toronto. I’ll try out some musical accompaniments and we can trade ideas. [Yours]

4) IMAGINING THE CITY
A return to the sound of the overture, but more meditative, like a memory of Toronto when one is far far away. [Mine]

5) IN THE CITY
We’ll zoom from place to place in the city, walking, running and exploring the details and diversity of Toronto’s neighborhoods and activities in Toronto. We’ll collect music from all over, and I’ll try to tie it together, sending things back and forth to you. [Your+Mine+Ours]

6) CITY SOARING
Now we lift off and soar above the city, observing contours, communities and continuity from a broader perspective. I will provide the overall shape of this floating/flying, and community provides many details and helps to shape. [(H)ours – we’ll craft this together]

7) TORONTO DANCES
A Finale, in which the city’s complex rhythms are knitted together into a rocking, accelerating, connecting dance. We’ll collect rhythms (and rhythm “sounds”) from all over the city, and work together to build this music. It will be like a big dance party, a kind of “Song to Toronto.” [Yours+Mine+(H)ours]

8 ) THE CITY SLEEPS
Having rocked out, the mood will slip back into reflection and dreaminess, lights go out, and things end gently. [Mine]

See how difficult it is to talk about music…..especially music that isn’t composed yet (as of June 12, 2012:). That’s why I need you to join me, so we can make all of these ideas real, following the sounds wherever they lead us.

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