Composition No. 77A is designed to utilize princple information in a medium fast to fast pulse continuum.  The most apparent factor that holds this work together is the nature of how given idea fragments are mashed together in a somewhat reverse development situation.  The dynamics of this piece also utilize extreme intervallic leaps—which is to say, the idea construction of this work is both varied and complex in that the actual 'stuff' of the music has nothing to do with development but instead deals with the constant collision—or in most cases interruption—of fragmented constructions.  The principle working tools which underlie how this process works can be reduced to (1) intervallic phase fragments and (2) accented eighth note movement figures.  There are three time units in this movement—fast—medium slow (with the use of more silence)—and medium fast.  The extended use of this approach also finds the use of melody—like related material in juxtaposition to reverse development and thrust projected materials (constructed as to give the impression of more than one instrument).  This composition is dedicated to the composer Ulysses Kay.

Anthony Braxton, liner notes to Alto Saxophone Improvisation 1979 (Arista A2L 8602); also Composition Notes D (Frog Peak, 1988: 158)


Composition No. 77A is a language music structure for extended improvisation.  The concept of this work formed through the efforts of Composition No. [blank] as an extension of language music material exploration.  Composition No. 77A is a medium fast pulse context for material integration and focus that is constructed for a solo single-line instrument.  This is an open form (material) sound environment that can be put into any order and utilized for any duration.  The score is made up of visual shapes and visual construction variables that is to be translated into actual sound components—and more importantly 'a way of thinking.'  Composition No. 77A is an active structure that moves to emphasize intervallic phrase positioning and sound abruptions that 'expand' the focus contour of its forward motion.  This is a 'line' perceived sound state that contains the additional use of secondary operatives and subplot focuses.  The reality of this concept opens up a fresh basis for creative exploration and sound awareness.  In Composition No. 77A the instrumentalist is given visual imagery as a basis for interpretation.  To experience this structure is to enter a jagged line contour that creates its own logic and moment type.  A given idea in this context is presented into the space of the music—only to be interrupted in the middle of its contour (with a change of weight emphasis to 'pocket' a given idea complex—or change of direction).  The realness of this phenomenon has to do with the desire to create a language that respects the change which have reshaped creativity in the last fifty years (and some).  Composition No. 77A actualized because of the realness of post-Webern/Ayler continuance—and what those continuums have posed to the music.  The work is a series of possible sound relationships and attitudes that can be used as a language disciple (in the first degree of tri-axium exposure) for musical thinking.  There is no development of isolated material focus in Composition No. 77A at all—nor does the work rely on any one construction criterion.  This is so because Composition No. 77A is a system of thinking that gives fresh insight into the moment dynamics of sound postulation.  The reality of this process can be viewed as a Charlie Parker—John Coltrane—Albert Ayler language continuum that has been reversed and coupled with the tendencies and explorational particulars of the post-Webern/Stockhausen continuum of the music.  Composition No. 77A is a response to all of these masters of musical thinking.  This is an energetic single-line music that travels in the space of the sound from its own special 'propulsion' and tendencies.  No one will be able to guess where a given idea will end in Composition No. 77A by using present-day so-called jazz language directives (because there are no 'licks' in this sound state from the masters) and by the same token its language is completely unique in the post-Webern vocabulary as well.  This is a perceived linear-based music that directs its energies in the nature of a given forward line moment.  To enter this state is to gain awareness of how this phenomenon sustains its forward motion and from what premises.  Composition No. 77A is a thought and visual process for the creative single-line soloist.  The work is dedicated to [blank - but see above

Composition No. 77A is a reality context of visual sound shapes and emphasis.  For the most part the work seeks to forward the use of (1) intervallic shifting, (2) 're'-attack points in the contour of the line, (3) reverse development (or perceived development), (4) idea separation, (5) lyrical to razor's edge grouping connections and (6) perceived line stretching.  The intermixture of these variables moves to fashion a unique sound context for the creative instrumentalist and listener.  The use of intervallic shifting in Composition No. 77A has to do with the use of great sound register changes as a means to find a new path for line extension.  Register shifts in this context are perceived in a more unified sense than in Composition No. [blank].  This is not a static line contour environment, nor are ideas in this context formed as a response to one given operative.  Intervallic shifting in Composition No. 77A can be viewed as a 'material ladder' that allows the instrument to extend a given perceived sound line statement.  The use of this device is connected to the 'material splice' of the total perceived line formation (idea) rather than as an isolated process in itself.  Composition No. 77A is constructed as a phrase emphasis context—rather than as a principle operative discipline that establishes its own effect (although not in each perceived action—'creating an effect' rather than a series of conscious 'acts').  The concept of re-attack points has to do with emphasis as a means to change the perceived shape (and hence focus) of the line.  What this means is that rather than plant isolated sound attacks into the space of the music (in between its line constructions)—as a device that can dimensionalize the sound result of the music, Composition No. 77A instead applies this device in the 'insides' of a given line statement to create a point of 'focus' change.  The use of this technique gives a fresh sense of pulse momentum to creative music.  This is not a post-Webern reality context (and initiative).  Composition No. 77A is a series of position line statements that contains unique tendencies.  The forward thrust of idea postulation in this context involves repositioning a given idea fragment (or grouping) as a means to establish a fresh result (that being the same idea but a different form sequence).  This is accomplished by executing the middle or end part of a given 'perceived' idea or strategy and ending with the beginning of the idea (or, if need be, dropping the beginning entirely).  The realness of this phenomenon is what I call 'reverse development'—that being a conscious attempt to change the phrase to phrase 'hook-up' logic of a given 'perceived' idea as a means for fresh creative initiatives.  The reality of this phenomenon is not separate from a way of perceiving sound and 'moment formings.'  In Composition No. 77A there is only the forward rush of line materials (particles) into the forward spread of the music.  There are no central intervallic or linear construction materials to develop or amplify.  Instead Composition No. 77A is a sound continuum that allows for the use of alternative material directives.  To experience this phenomenon is to enter a space that contains its own way of being (and presence).  The fourth conceptual criterion of Composition No. 77A involves the use of idea separation as a basis to generate moment formings (in the actual invention lining of the music).  By the term idea separation I am referring to the practice of executing one part of a given idea focus (or perceived idea focus) and inserting another opposite-like idea (focus) right into the direct line thrust of that idea line (time) space—and afterward executing the second part of the original line.  Visually the reality of this phenomenon can be viewed in these terms (figure [blank]).  The fifth operating criterion of Composition No. 77A involves the use of lyrical phrase grouping construction tendencies—as a means to clarify the new-found gravallic implications of this fresh language state.  This is a smooth phrase sound continuum intermixed with the use of multiphonic and harmonic shape directives (only it doesn't seem to be apparent on the surface).  In actual fact Composition No. 77A transmits a lyrical-like phraseology that contains interruptions in its line contour.  The reality of this phenomenon moves to solidify a fresh context for sound awareness and construction dictates.  This is a song moment forum that is sucked into a vortex of 'changing weights.'  To experience this phenomenon is to enter a way of sound perception (and 'feelings').  The last conceptual operative of Composition No. 77A is the use of perceived line stretching—as a means to create a basis for non-fixed creative solutions.  'Line stretching' in this context refers to the moment to moment length of a given long sound line (phrase) component.  In Composition No. 77A the instrumentalist is asked to hold a given line (duration) for longer or shorter than what it was originally perceived—in its moment source initiation (realization) sense.  What this does is create a systemic way of not relying on any one variable to 'create invention.'  The concept of line stretching (or 'contraction') is a way of allowing for something else to happen in the music space—or a technique to help 'it' ('reveal itself').  This is really what we want in (and from) creativity.

Composition No. 77A is a visual continuum of language music shape particles and line formations.  The work consists of [blank] pages of visual line constructions that is laid out in sequences.  Each of the sequences in this context comments on a way of 'sound occurrences' or 'line changes' that can be used as a guide for the soloist.  This material is only a way of looking at the concept and can be discarded at some point.  Composition No. 77A is 'an attitude' about sound construction and moment forming that transcends any one application or focus.

The actual material constructions that make up this work come from my language music series of integrated sound shape components.  Emphasis in this context centers on the dynamic implications of shape tendencies (SDCDM=  ) and line movement through space.  The material nature of Composition No. 77A contains [blank] different idea regions that give the music conceptual dynamics (and allows for the music to breathe).  A given interpretation of this structure must contain a strong active section (that emphasizes strong line statements and energetic propulsion) and a light sound state section (that relaxes the rate of information in a given idea continuum and contains more space—silence—in the fabric of the music).  This is landscape of sound lines that gives insight into the nature of 'sound connections' and tendencies (which is a basis for language).  Composition No. 77A is a vibrational disposition that is translated into visual principles so that it can be 'actualized' in sound.  The use (awareness) of this material and procedure state—in conjunction with the composite sound shape pool of language music materials—is not separate from a transformational understanding of sound (or the discipline of sound as a medium that opens doors into self realization and increased awareness).  All of these matters are really cosmic and spiritual matters that concern how events are (or can be) unfolded (and what that information could mean to 'the reality' of this—living—experience).

Anthony Braxton, Composition Notes D (Frog Peak, 1988: 158-166)