Composition No. 77G is based on the whole tone scale and utilizes the eighth note as the primary language factor.  There are three basic treatments in this particular version and each treatment differs only with respect to its tempo.  The first section is medium to medium slow, the second section is fast, and the third section is medium slow.  The basic phrasing of this work utilizes a more legato type connection between events.  This particular approach gives only three possibilities for treatment—diatonic postulation, harmonic or chordal postulation (that being the use when possible of major third and augmented fifth patterns in a given idea formation) and scale changing (going from one whole tone scale to the other and back).  The actual continuum of this work does utilize conventional type development—(ie. from idea to idea a given expansion was executed with respect to what preceded it).  This composition is dedicated to the birth of my son Tyondai.

Anthony Braxton, liner notes to Alto Saxophone Improvisation 1979 (Arista A2L 8602); also Composition Notes D (Frog Peak, 1988: 210)


Composition No. 77G is a language music material complex for solo improvisation that was composed in the early 1970's.  The concept of this work came about as an offshoot of Compositions No. [blank] and [blank].  To experience Composition No. 77G is to enter a sound universe of even long sound pitch elements.  This is a perceived linear sound state context that allows for lyrical and gentle improvisations.  Composition No. 77G is a series of phrase grouping shapes and premises that can be utilized in extended improvisation.  Emphasis in this sound world is on the contour of the phrase constructions and the applied use of whole tone scale systems (in the moment to moment events of the music).  There is no notated material in Composition No. 77G at all—nor is the work even interested in moment similarities as a basis for perceived conceptual (sound) unity.  To experience this work is to travel down a track of sound that establishes its own meaning.  The whole tone scale system in this context can be viewed as a vibrational and timbral factor that colors the nature of all sound events and attitudes.  Composition No. 77G seeks to establish a smooth phrase construction context that allows for a soft and 'fertile' sound environment to actualize.  This is a perceived song-like kind of music that asks its instrumentalist to sing on the instrument (to sing a 'continuum' rather than moment).  Composition No. 77G kind of unwinds into the space of the music from the 'collective' thrust of its own material logic and moment pulse.  Ideas in this context 'roll' off given phrase tendencies and 'twist.'  The instrumentalists is asked to spin a music whose line postulate (the moment to moment actualization and implementation of a sound and/or series of sounds into a phrase and/or perceived idea fragment) keeps changing from one whole tone scale system to the next whole tone system.  The reality of this phenomenon helps to keep the instrumentalist's reaction nature up so that the possibility of a surprise can happen.  This is important.  Composition No. 77G is an open procedural context that takes its significance from its vibrational and conceptual attitude as much as from its actual directives.  The possibility of changing from one scale system to the next is the only horizontal harmonic directive in the work that gives some indication about the vibrational imprint and character of the music.  A given interpretation of the work moves to establish insight into the world of whole tone improvisation dynamics—having to do with smooth phrase construction exchanges that float into the space of the music (that can be 'followed' by both the instrumentalist and listener).  The listener is asked to sit back and relax to watch a 'process' and 'process of thinking' unfold.  Composition No. 77G is a melodic continuum of songs that have no beginning or ending.  Each interpretation picks up the thrust of this phenomenon and advances it into the forward reaches of perceived time/space (existence).  Composition No. 77G is a lyrical conceptual context that can be actualized in the cause of creative music and thinking.  All of the works from my language music material forum are conceived as a reexamination criterion that has the possibility of giving fresh insight about sound materials (and focus).

Composition No. 77G is a linear phrase construction context that can be viewed through the nature of its operative directives.  A given performance of this work should establish (1) a medium pulse constant application field, (2) a fast pulse context, (3) a horizontal perceived emphasis, (4) a vertical emphasis, (5) a pianissimo section emphasis, (6) a diminuendo and crescendo long sound emphasis and (7) the use of silence as a structural consideration.  All of these variables are directly relted to the nature of Composition No. 77G and its idea focus dynamics.  It is important to elaborate on what each variable means in both its separate and composite sense.  By the term medium pulse emphasis I am referring to the use of an overstructure perceived medium pulse tendency that serves as a factor in the normal fabric of its invention particulars.  Investigation in this context involves the forward spread of line formations that moves into the space of the music.  The reality of this phenomenon becomes a process unto itself and a focus for perceived moment decision making.  Medium pulse tendencies are not used as a checking factor that directs the use of every given sound or moment, but rather as an over-directive that solidifies the composite forum of the music.  It is expected that other pulse options will also naturally occur in the space of a given improvisation—so that the music can breathe (and react to the moment).  The concept of medium pulse moment continuance has to do with the overall velocity dynamics of the music—as a living entity rather than as a 'brick.'  The second operative of Composition No. 77G is the use of a fast pulse emphasis section—which can be viewed from the same context as operative number one.  That being:  positioning a fast pulse adaptation of Composition No. 77G's variables in a given section of an improvisation so that the forward thrust of one's improvisation can move into different 'emphases' or sound objectives.  It is important to not confuse language improvisation with open improvisation because the challenge of Composition No. 77G is not separate from what it poses as a structural and material entity.  To really interpret this work is to approach its variables with respect to what a given function poses to the conceptual fulfillment of the music as well as the structural science of the music.  The use of a fast pulse procedure context as a conceptual process objective must be viewed as part of the composite identity and challenge of Composition No. 77G.  All of these operatives are intertwined with the very success and identity of Composition No. 77G.  Fast pulse occurrences in this context have to do with establishing a 'sleet' music state that contains 'whispery-like' quick line passages that appear to dissolve into the sound space.  This is a music of soft impressions.  The third operative of Composition No. 77G is the use of horizontal line emphasis as a basis to approach the conceptualization of the music.  In this context—that being in the actual moment to moment act of invention—the instrumentalist is asked to create sound moments that 'curve' into being through the perceived manipulation—or use of—a whole note scale (line) or scales (lines).  What this means is that perception logic in this context relates to a given idea with respect to how its 'appearance' is actualized from (or in conjunction with) the use of horizontal perceived event directives.

In the fourth performance operative the instrumentalist is asked to establish an intervallic emphasis section that gives insight into the nature of the work's material mix.  Intervallic emphasis in this context involves the use of given augmented triads as a material factor that can be inserted into the music.  What this means is that the use of this device can found a conceptual and language focus type that allows for a fresh improvisation (and music result).  For the most part intervallic phrase constructions in Composition No. 77G are used as a passing objective—that leads the 'thought' of the music in a given direction—rather than as a process of 'arpeggios.'  The use of this objective can be applied to the contour of a given line (phrase construction thought) in the 'folds' of the music.  For the most part I have confined the use of this directive (intervallic specifics) to its ability to establish 'phrase pause'-like statements in the sound (that being, slow passages that 'lite' on a given 'leaf' of the music—the real music continues because the real thought is not about how that passage ended but rather what it signifies about the whole process of its reality and science).  In the fifth operative of Composition No. 77G the instrumentalist is asked to create a pianissimo emphasis section that transforms the music into a 'shadow.''  Sounds in this context whisper in the sound space.  This is a music of nuances and subtleties that is positioned inside the forward spread of Composition No. 77G.  The reality of this operative can be utilized as a structural block parameter that establishes a unique context inside of the total form spread events of the music.  The realness of this operative also can serve as a rest point marker for the instrumentalist.  All of these matters are related to the success of the composite experience.  The seventh operating criterion of Composition No. 77G involves the use of crescendo and diminuendo sound changes as a factor that explodes the context of a given line.  To experience this phenomenon is to experience a line continuance that quickly changes its volumes in the course of a given construction (figure [blank]).  The reality of this phenomenon moves to give a brilliant example of line construction dynamics and sound changes.  On the alto saxophone (which was the original instrument that established all of the language music structures—matrices) the use of dynamics in this matter can give a fresh 'glow' to the music (as well as what devices it establishes for the tone dynamics of the instrumentalist).  With this device it is possible to make the instrument sing in a very gentle way—even though the process 'awakens' the listener's interest.  The final operational ingredient of Composition No. 77G is the use of silence as an integral factor in the composite strategy of the music.  A given interpretation of these variables can be loosely applied throughout the composite moment spread of the music or 'blocked' into a given structural parameter and treated as an operating concept.  In the case of the first operative the use of silence can be approached as a factor to position the thrust of the music in its idea to idea sequence sense or in its greater operating criterion form block sense.  All of these matters are of course left to the instrumentalist to decide—either before or during the act of the music.

Composition No. 77G is a language music sound form that establishes terms for creative exploration.  A given performance of this work can be for any duration and focus.  The reality of this forum was conceived as a context for material and conceptual exploration—as a basis for forwarding fresh perspectives about sound and music.  In its original construction the work was conceived as a concept forum for one soloist to take and actualize.  The work however can be performed by any instrument and/or numbers of instrumentalists.  All of these matters can be discussed (attempted).

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Anthony Braxton, Composition Notes D (Frog Peak, 1988: 210-220)