From the program notes of Cursive, composed in 1962.
“Cursive” refers to the type of script in which the joined strokes and rounded angles result in expressive and contrasting curves and loops.
The cursive script represents the essence in the art of Chinese calligraphy as its expressiveness depends solely upon the spontaneous but controlled flow of ink which, through the brush-strokes, projects not only fluid lines in interaction but also density, texture and poise.
These qualities, translated into musical terms, are often found in the music for wind and string instruments of the East. In this score, the cursive concept has influenced the use of specified but indefinite pitches and rhythm, regulated but variable tempo and dynamics, as well as various timbres possible on the two instruments.
The work was composed at the suggestion of Harvey Sollberger and Charles Wuorinen, who gave its first performance at McMillin Theater, New York City. The fingerings for microtones given in the score are provided by Mr. Sollberger, who was also consulted on the flute notation.
|slap the key simultaneously with the attack of the note|
|vibrato in fast speed and narrow amplitude|
|vibrato in slow speed and wide amplitude|
|from no-vibrato increase to fast-narrow vibrato, then decrease to no-vibrato|
|lower the pitch microtonally by rolling the instrument|
|attack the note noticeably higher in pitch and then roll back the instrument to the given pitch|
|slow trill on the given note alternating with the harmonic (slightly lower in pitch) on the same note as indicated by the fingering given in the fingering chart|
|trill at normal speed with the lower neighbor microtone as indicated by the fingering given on the fingering chart|
|microtonal glissando up (or down) a semitone by rolling the instrument|
|microtonal glissando up (or down) and back by rolling the instrument|
|stop the string near the bridge|
|tap the string near the bridge|
|pluck the string with the fingernail near the bridge|
|glissando on the strings from the given note down (or up) all the strings of the compartment|
|grace note to be attacked at the beginning of the given note value|
|grace note to be played at the end of the given note value|
|slowly release the pedal to half position to bring about a swelling in volume from the vibrating strings|