Compositon No. 77F is basically an open-ended ballad.  By open-ended I mean the improvisation is not based on either chord changes or a predetermined time structure but instead extends freely with respect to the stated melody at the beginning of the work.  The theme at the beginning is not a constructed melody in a completed sense but rather a set of figures which can be used in several ways for improvisation.  This particular version utilizes an increased spacial arena—from (if numbers one to ten could represent a tempo-pulse parameter) a velocity of three-to-one-to-three.  The structure of improvisation in this version accents the register of a given idea alignment.  That is: the opening improvisation is in the middle register of the saxophone and is played at a mezzo forte—the middle section is played in the low register at a pianissimo—and the third section is high register at a forte.  This composition is dedicated to my daughter Terri.

Anthony Braxton, liner notes to Alto Saxophone Improvisation 1979 (Arista A2L 8602); also Composition Notes D (Frog Peak, 1988: 205)


Composition No. 77F is a ballade forum for extended improvisation that was composed circa 1976.  The concept of this effort calls for a relaxed and flowing kind of music that floats through the sound space.  This is a sound environment structure that provides terms for open linear improvisation and 'story telling.'  Composition No. 77F consists of --?-- material fragment statements that establish vibrational and conceptual 'tendencies' in the music.  I use the word tendency rather than motivic only to accent the nature of this structure—because the overall shape of the music takes place in improvisation.  Composition No. 77F is merely 'a place to start from'—not necessarily to go 'towards' (all of these matters are left for the instrumentalist to decide).  Composition No. 77F was conceived as a light melodic phrase statements that could initiate a ballade improvisation.  In the course of a given day I hear about five to twenty quick 'would be' songs of this nature.  That is, a quick phrase statement or fragment that somehow takes on a 'life of its own' (something that kind of 'stays on one's mind').  A given interpretation of Composition No. 77F involves either starting from its written materials and proceding into improvisation or starting from improvisation and 'working' its material into the music.  Composition No. 77F is a germ idea fragment that can be made into a reality context.  My initial awareness of phrase grouping line dynamics came about through the writings of Ornette Coleman and Arnold Schoenberg.  In particular, compositions like 'Peace' or 'Opus II For Solo Piano' had a profound effect on my musical growth.  In the past twenty years (since 1965) I have always tried to maintain room in my life for special medolic line shapes (and 'references') because this is part of 'who I am' (and how I hear 'sound').  Composition No. 77F is an excuse to become involved in the wonder of ballade and perceived melodic improvisation.  When I think of the realness of Johnny Hodges and Paul Desmond—and how the beauty of their line perceptions transformed my whole life, I can only be thankful for the concept of music.  This intention is at the heart of Composition No. 77F.  Here is a material kernel sound context that asks for 'creative honesty' (nothing more and nothing less).  To participate in this work is to relax and play a song (that unfolds into the space of the sound).  There is no 'winner' in Composition No. 77F and no one version will be any 'better' than any other version.  This work is offered as a vehicle to activate one's own 'life feelings' and sound thought—an idea particle that might be relevant as a basis to extend from.  

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Anthony Braxton, Composition Notes D (Frog Peak, 1988: 205-209)