What's in a mystery system?

17 April 2023

I have been deep in communion with the work of Anthony Braxton for the last six months. Seeing an example that resonates cues me to try the example myself - whether it's me writing in the voice of someone I read recently or hearing someone's instrument in my head when I play. I don't think of it as true inspiration until I get past this initial "trying it on" phase, and that's where I'm at with Mr. Braxton.

Last fall I went deep on distilling my own notation system, aiming at 2 goals:

  1. Describe how to play my Circular 4 Track (C4T) live recording instrument
  2. To frame the initial constraints for a set of C4T pieces for guitar, which I played in October for a big crowd of friends at the Chapel.

Notation is inherently flawed in many ways. One limitation lies in the fact that it's a balancing act between 'directions for players' and experienced sound. There's always something implied, not explicitly said on the page. This is the mystery I'm chasing in my writing and in this excursion into my own notation world - my own mystery system.

Here are some scans from my notebook with annotations. To be refined in future posts.

Notation Key

Notation Key 2

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