for ichigenkin, Noh actor
or any other performer
The ichigenkin is a one string Japanese zither, which I have studied for many years. Ichigenkin philosophy reflects both those of Zen and Shinto. Noh is a form of Japanese drama.
The Japanese concept ma is an underlying element of this score, and both the practice of ichigenkin and Noh make extensive use of ma. Ma is emptiness that is full. It is the white space around a Japanese painting. It is the empty space in a flower arrangement. Ma is an extended pause in Japanese music that is full of tension or anticipation. Ma is the small recessed section of a traditional Japanese room used for hanging a scroll, or placing a plant.
The Notes to the Score:
1. Express one sound, one step, of any duration in one second, minute, hour, day, week, month, or year.
- The score displays the number one written in traditional script. One is the second theme of this score and forms a paradox with ma. Ma needs two opposing elements, a duality: something and nothing, sound and silence, form and formlessness. One is singular. In Taoism and Zen, dualities form a pair linked in their opposition, and together become one. Hence there are two participants indicated and one action. There are further dualities in the suggested participants: one who sits – one who steps, one that is silent – one that creates sound, etc.
- Time is of no consequence in this score, although it is an integral element. The suspension of time carries the ma in movement and music. Yet the duration of the ma is not specified and can in essence be held indefinitely.
2. No essence of being or the absence of being should be left unexplored.
- The score incorporates everything, and nothing, combined.
3. No aspect of sound and silence, nor the absence of sound and silence should be left unrealized.
- The duality of sound and silence create a pair, in mathematics a set. If we can define a set, then there is an absence of the set that defines it. That absence can be full of ma.
4. One is exclusive, inclusive, both, and neither.
- One is exclusive: there is only one. One is inclusive: all is one. They can integrate, or negate each other, or both.
5. Existence should be neither regarded nor disregarded.
- This might be self-evident. Whether or not the score, participants, this discussion or this world exists or not is inconsequential. However keep an eye on it nonetheless.
Premiered Aug. 10, 2014
by Redshift Music, Vancouver, Canada
Colin MacDonald – Baritone sax