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Alea Author(s): Pierre Boulez, David Noakes and Paul Jacobs Reviewed work(s): Source: Perspectives of New Music,

Vol. 3, No. 1 (Autumn - Winter, 1964), pp. 42-53 Published by: Perspectives of New Music Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/832236 . Accessed: 23/10/2012 16:55
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PIERRE BOULEZ

a constant showcurrently of our generation are obsessed with even by say they preoccupation chance-you might timesuch a notionhas asit. This is, at least as faras I know,the first to be sumed a place in Occidental music,and the factsurelydeserves in the idea of examined at length,forit is too importanta bifurcation to be eitherunderestimated or rejectedunconditionally. composition Is it possible to trace this obsession to its origin?Outwardly,one could suggest variouscauses thatseem to have a certainsolidity, changin with the temperament creators. The accordance of the different ing formof the transmutation of chance would lie in the most elementary adoption of a philosophytinged with Orientalismthat masksa basic weaknessin compositionaltechnique; it would be a protection against the asphyxia of invention,the resort to a more subtle poison that I would willingly call this destroys everylast embryoof craftsmanship; it the feel since individual does not be, experiment-if experiment responsiblefor his work, but merely throwshimselfby unadmitted and for temporaryassuagementinto puerile weakness,by confusion, In chance throughinadvertence. magic-I would call thisexperiment other words,the resultcomes about any which way, uncontrolled (an absence thatis voluntary thoughnot praiseworthy, through impotence), butwithina certainnetwork of probable results, forchance musthave at its disposal some kind of eventuality. Therefore, whychoosethe network so meticulously, why not leave thisnetworkitself up to inadverI have neverbeen able to clear up. The game tence?That is something is played onlypartlyaboveboard,but at least no one pretends otherwise, which is creditable. It is a nicely laid out artificial paradise where, I think, dreamsare neververymiraculous;thiskindofnarcoticindeed constitutes protection against the goad inflicted upon you by all inventiveness;it is to be observed that its action is exaggeratedly soothing, sometimesmirth-provoking, like what hashishfanciers describe.Peace to theseangelic creatures;we can be sure theyrun absolutely no riskof stealing any thunder,since they wouldn't know what to do with it. Inadvertenceis amusingat the beginning,but one getstiredofit very quickly-all the more quicklybecause it is condemnedto neverrenew itself.This being so, we incontestablyprefernatural inadvertence, whichdoesn'trequireinstruments foritsexistence."Non-art,""anti-art" . 42 *
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still take as theirpoint of reference "art." And in the search we are engaged in, what people agree to call by thisname is not at all thefocus of our efforts. Some decades have passed since Beauty was foundto be bitter.Let's put together withthat enchantress A-Beauty, Anti-Beauty, of earth. Chance will do the rest! etc., and throwa fewshovelfuls ofinHowever, thereexistsa more poisonous and more subtleform toxication.I have alreadyspokenofit on severaloccasions,forthisform dies hard and arisesonce again everytime it seemsto have been overcome. Compositionchoosesto approach as closelyas possiblethe most untouchableobjectivity. And bywhatmeans?Schematismooth, perfect, the takes of zation, quite simply, invention; imagination-an place to givingbirthto a complex mechanismwhich auxiliary-limits itself takes care ofengendering and macroscopic structures until, microscopic in the absence of any further the possiblecombinations, piece comes to an end. Admirable securityand a strongsignal of alarm! As forthe imagination,it is carefulnot to interveneafterthingsare under way: it would disturbwhat is absolute in the development introducprocess, human error into such a deduced a of fetishism ensemble; ing perfectly to and failure. We into statistical numbers,leading pure simple plunge liststhat have no more value than otherlists.In its Omni-Objectivity, the workrepresents-herewe are again-a fragment of chance thatis as as as other The just justifiable(or just unjustifiable) any fragment. difference between the formdescribed earlier and this new, equally in thisone, and is evident:thereis more trickery pernicioustemptation the spontaneousconfession ofweaknessis transformed intoa hopelessly sterile search for combinative devices, into an aggressiverefusalof that new "diabolus in musica." Paradoxically,however, arbitrariness, the resultis thatthishated and repudiatedarbitrariness is,on the conmost often when encountered most shunned. recedes trary, Objectivity at everyinstantin front ofyoureyes,likea kindofirritating and fragile miragethatexhaustsand driesup all vitalenergy;theseslicesofchance are unfitforconsumptionbecause, first of all, one wonderswhythey should be consumed! Once this overt objectivity had failed, they hurled themselves like madmen intoa searchforarbitrariness. went the for devil They looking and broughthim back with a suitable escort,imprisoned, bound by a thousand nets,in a workthat he was supposed to vivify by his omnior will not be anywhere. presence.The devil will be there,shamefaced, Were therecomplaintsabout the lack of subjectivity? There'll be some at each note,withineach structure; thisferociously dismemdislocated, is going to forceyou to take a stand,hypobered,scattered subjectivity criticallistener, to be as subjective as thecomposer. As for theinterpreter, it is up to him to transmit to you the devil's attacks;he willcompromise S43

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whowillestablish as high himself ofthis priest you-interpreter-medium intellectual so? Much less than are inclined How devilry. murkily you willbecomesufficiently, butsubtly, Notation -hypocrite-to suppose. in let between to its order imprecise grid-hypothetical diagrampass the instantaneous choiceof the interpreter. and changing, moire-like You may this holdthis rest, sound,youmay accelerate, prolong youmay in ... at ... moment one has chosen henceforth to ; short, youmay any in imprecision. be meticulous back to? Constantly Do you see whatwe are getting to a refusal of choice. The first was mechanistic, automatic, purely conception thesecond butone is freed from is still choice not fetishistic; fetishistic, numbers but the One inone's to the choice transfers by by interpreter. In this is one not terpreter's. way protected, camouflaged; very cleverly, fornonetheless or rather a kindoftip-of-the-finger arbiarbitrariness, its presence. What a relief! The hourof choiceis trariness, imposes once again put off:a superficial has been grafted onto subjectivity an aggressive No! Chanceis tooshameofinitial conception objectivity. fulto be diabolical .... We mightnote,betweenbenignparentheses, that a certain kind of analyticalprocedure has taken the same blind alleys.A sortof statistical a more and more has replaced hardsmugly report intelligent ofinvestigation. method The brainis used likea photoelectric hitting cell thatpicksout the various to their components according special features: thanks to a formulation or offigures, ofintervals thevice is recordedas equalingtheversa-which, it must be admitted, is a poorlesson. As forthe composer's overwitha lack of choice,it is slurred thatis painful to behold.How can analysis be limited toan virtuosity to a rough In spite cadastral ofbestintenordinary inventory, survey? I am unableto makeout theprecise tionsand most earnest attempts, reasonfor thisfearto approachthetrueproblem ofcomposition. Perthis also is due a kind to of fetishism of numeral haps phenomenon selection-aposition that is notonly butcompletely unsound ambiguous when thework under refuses these investigation structurally procedures, which coarseand elementary. are,after all,excessively Thus in addition to chanceby inadvertence, we find a chanceby whether this automatism tries to be or is automatism, pure accompanied ofcontrolled bifurcation. since theobsession with However, by a notion whatmay takes the of should what it due is not happen place happen, to the of weakness the methods nor involved, due only compositional the subjectivity of the interpreter or only to the desireto introduce ofthelistener within thework and thus for these two a constant tocreate and obligatory instantaneous choice.It wouldbe possible to givestill
otherapparentreasonswithquite as muchjustification. And first of all, S44

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as faras the structure of the workis concerned,thereis the refusal of a the desire to construct a sort of preestablishedstructure, legitimate labyrinthwith several circuits;on the other hand, there is the wish to create a moving, renewedcomplexity, characconstantly specifically teristicof played, interpreted music, as opposed to the fixed and not renewable complexityof machines. Certainly,in a musical universe from whichall notionof symmetry tendsto disappear,in whichan idea of variable densityassumes an increasinglyprimordialplace on all levels of construction-from materialsto structure-itis logical to look for a formwhich does not become fixed,an evolvingformthat will rebelliouslyrefuseto permitits own repetition;in short,a relative formal We are getting around to thedetermining factor ofthis virtuality. research which, in my opinion, can concentrateon the necessityof structure. destroying any immanent How has this need been able to become progressively explicit?For, is the resultof a constant choice.Haven't I said classically,composition so enough myself?It means, withincertain networks of probabilities, to choosing. The being led-from one solutionto another-to refusing, intervenes to renderefficacious certainpropocomposer'sarbitrariness that will remain formless sitions of structures until, thanksto their elaboration,theyacquire a stampof experienced However,in necessity. the course of this elaboration there arises once again, and always, chance. Is such-and-such a possibility more "profitable" than another? because you have thought it so at thatpointofyourdevelopCertainly, ment. On the basis of my experience,it is impossibleto foresee all the meandersand all the virtualities containedin thematerialyou startout with. However fullof genius one mightbe in thispremonitory vision, in thisrapid effort to estimate-to appraise-it seemsto me, first ofall, that the composerwould be deprived of his mostoutstanding quality: surprise.It is easy to imagine the boredom of an omniscienceand an omnipotencethat would have nothingto reveal to you along the way. and waysof Composition ought to reserveat everymomentsurprises its own regardlessof all the rationality that must be imposed in other I thusonce more respectsin orderto attain an unquestionablesolidity. another to the irrational: so it is as come, by route, that, a resultofaskoneself one back to this obsession whichlurkseven in ing questions, gets the mostrigorousordinances.Despairinglyone triesto dominateone's material by an arduous, sustained, vigilant effort, and despairingly chance persists, in a thousand slips through unstoppable loopholes. "And it's finethat way!" Nevertheless, wouldn't the composer'sultimate ruse be to absorb thischance? Why not tame these potentialities and forcethemto renderan account,to account forthemselves? Introduce chance into composition?Isn't that madness or, at most, S45

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a vain endeavor? butit willbe a useful madness. In Madness,perhaps, to chance the turn as to weakness, any case, adopt through easyway, oneself overto it,is a form ofrenunciation thatcouldnotbe accepted without all theprerogatives and thehierarchies thata created denying workimplies.In whatrespect thencan composition and chancebe reconciled? Sincemusical is a function ofduration, ofthephysical development timeduring which it unfolds, it permits theintroduction of"chances" at several and at several levelsofcomposition. Whenall is said stages and done, the resultant of thiswould be a sequencebased on the ofchance-determined within thelimits greatest probability happenings ofa certain duration thatwouldalso be indeterminate. That mayseem absurdin thecontext ofour Occidentalmusic, but Hindu music, for a kindofstructural "formant" with instantaneexample, bycombining ousimprovisation, arrives at this kind ofproblem andprovides very easily an everyday solution forit. Obviously it also requires a completely different in an opencycle, and exists we conwhereas wayoflistening ceiveoftheformulated as a closedcycle work ofpossibilities. Let us see,however, whether certain contradictions by surmounting it is notpossible to absorb chance. We beginat themostelementary level,theone at whichone gives a certainfreedom to the performer. Let's make no mistake: if used this will be no than more a kind of somesummarily, rubato, generalized whatmore thanbefore that can be applied organized (I meana rubato to dynamics, to registers, and to tempo,ofcourse).If theinterpreter can modify thetextas he likes, thismodification mustbe implied by thetext and notmerely addedafterwards. The musical text should contain inherently this"chance"of the interpreter. in a If,forexample, certain I insert succession ofsounds, a variable number ofgracenotes, it is perfectly evident that the tempoof thesesoundswill be made ofthegracenotes, which constantly changing bytheintrusion provoke each timean interruption, or moreexactly, a rupture tenofdifferent sion.Theycan contribute an impression to giving ofnonhomogeneous time.Similarly, in thecase ofa rapidsuccession ofnotesand chords thatare ofequal rhythmical butthatrequire length very pronounced either or very farapart), shiftings (registers verycloseto one another different densities offrom twoto elevensounds), and very (aggregates differentiated and dynamics, attacks ifI ask theperformer excessively to regulate his tempoaccording to the difficulty ofperformance, it is clear thatthissuccession will not have a regular rhythmic pulsation, but thattherhythm willbe physically tiedto themechanical differentiationthat I require of him. Anotherexample: I can ask the interpreternot to slow up or to accelerate, but to oscillate around a given S46

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tempo, within more or less strict limits. I can also make certain caesuras depend rather freely on the dynamic level but without a rigidlimitto the ad libitum. In thisway I introduce defining by means of the text a necessityof chance in the interpretation-a directed chance. A word of caution: thesewordsrubato,ad libitum are used here facilitate since the to notions thus introduced forthe only expression, first time in composition have nothingto do withthe conceptions that these terms generallyreferto-conceptions, that is, which are connected simply with flexibility of articulation (we may associate with them the fermata and the pause, of which usage has completely changed the meaning).I have takenhere the case ofa singleperformer, but it is easy to surmisethe kaleidoscopeoffered to the imagination by several performers or several groups of performers. For then,one will be free to utilize an interchangebetween the two dimensionsof the text, one rigorous,the other interpreted.In so doing, one entersa or pragmatic realm that deservesexamination,since the performance conductingof such pieces of music presents completely unprecedented problems (notation has its role also in what is implicated here); but experience has already proved that scores conceived in this way are ourselves practicable. We will come back to thissubject later,limiting forthe momentto the "theoretical"aspect of the question. However, even though implied by the musical text,this"chance," let us repeat,occursat an elementary level. It alreadygivesappreciable of of the it seemsto repossibilities aerating, liberating, interpretation; solve the dilemma betweenstrict and free interpretation interpretation. needs more boldnessthan before to "fitin" Perhaps now the performer withthe composer'sinvention, but-without excessive optimism-good resultsfromthis more effective collaboration can be hoped for.However, let us rememberhow much this libertyneeds to be directed, projected,forthe "instantaneous"imaginationis moresubjectto lapses than to illuminations. is exercised not,strictly Consequentlythisliberty on the invention but the on of the invenitself, speaking, pragmatism tion. I thinkeveryone will admit the prudenceof thisposition. At the level on whichthe structures themselves are called into play, I believe that one can firstabsorbchance by establishinga certain automatism of relationshipamong various networksof probabilities drawn up beforehand.But, someone will remindme, you are in conwithyourinitialstatement, tradiction in whichyou refused thisautomas a fetishism of numbers. I naturally expect atism, this objectivity, that thisautomatismshould not take in all creativethought, but that it may play a role in such thought as a particularly efficacious means at such-and-such a givenmomentduringthe elaboration ofa work.There is nothinglike it to give an impressionof nondirection, of weightless. 47"

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want to integrate chance intothenotionofstructure itself in an oriented and introensemble, we must call upon more subtle differentiations S48

thesensation to impose ofan undifferentiated universe. ness, However, on whether thisautomatism is moreor lesspreponderant, depending one will have a moreor less tempered solution of chance.The prooftheseautomatic liferation willhave to be watched structures over withcare ifone does notwanta seemingly to comordered anarchy eat away thecomposition and so to deprive it ofitsprivileges. pletely or lesser strictness to thenetworks Dependingon thegreater assigned of probabilities, one will obtain a single encounter or multiple encounters at different or a multiple chance. is,a single degrees-that In practice, how willwe translate that?Let us suppose thatI choose and dynamics series ofdurations and that, thattheresult of assuming theencounter ofthesetwoseries I wantto applyit to a series is fixed, If I giveto theseries ofpitches. ofpitches definite it is clear registers, thatthere willbe onlyone solution for a given note-thatis tosay,this notewillbe ineluctably in itsregister fixed in its (absolute frequency), in the its duration: chance encounter of of these three dynamic, unique at this"point"ofsound.But,supposing thatwe keepthe organizations sameseries ofsounds without a imposing register uponit,and thatthis left the is to of we will have register improvisationwriting, immediately a "line" ofregisters, ifI mayuse theexpression, thegeometrical meetthatsatisfy thethree other characteristics: ingplace ofall the"points" duration. relative, generic frequency; dynamics; By assigning progrestherelativity oftheregistration I to duration, thento dynamics, sively willhaveobtained a determined "volume," "plan," thena determined in whichmy "point" of sound will finditsjustification. If I have it is simply in orderto have a convention, adoptedthisgeometrical termof comparison and not in orderto refer to an exactly similar situation. For the different combinations ofcharacteristics, there are therefore fields in which ofencounter liesthechanceofthedefinitively fixed musical event. Such a manipulation ofcombinations a complete absence of requires choicein theexecution, choiceintrudes moreand more as although In thisway thefollowing arises: probabilities multiply. phenomenon thelessone chooses, thegreater is thedependence oftheuniquechance on thepurehazardoftheencounter ofobjects; themoreone chooses, thegreater is thedependence oftheeventon thecoefficient ofhazard the It is the ofinterimplied by composer's subjectivity. varying degree between the terms of this that will in arouse interest change antinomy a passageofthework so composed. We havebeencareful to point outthatthepreceding case concerned themost of not Ifwe automatism, elementary stage purposely oriented.

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duce such notionsas thoseofdefinedor undefined structure, amorphous or directional or convergent structure. It is undenistructure, divergent able that this developmentof chance in compositionwill create a universe decidedly more differentiated than beforeand will mark a more acute developmentof a renewed perceptionof form.In a conducted ensemble,thesevariousstructures conoughtto be obligatorily trolledby a general"phrasing," an have initial to and oughtnecessarily a finalsign,oughtto call accessorily of kinds of bifurcaupon platforms tion-all this in order to avoid a complete loss of the global senseof formas well as in orderto steerclear of an improvisation withno other than free choice. as we said the For, earlier, necessity liberty-or the liberation-of the performer changes absolutely nothing about the notion of structure, since the problem is actually merelyput off until a little later and since the solutionsstill remain to be found. I think that a well-founded objectioncan be made here: doesn't such a form Aren'twe carrywithit an enormousdanger of compartmentalization? goingto be guiltyof one of the faultsthat have done the mostharmto composition as it has been understood-the fault which consistsof juxtaposing "sections," each with its own center? This argumentis ofa generalform but justifiable onlyin case one actuallydoes not think develops, if I may use the expression,step by step. In order to cover one ought to have recourseto a up thisdisappearance of composition, new notionofdevelopment that would be essentially but discontinuous, in a predictableand foreseen discontinuous way. And fromthiswould followthe necessaryintroduction of the "formants"of a work and of the "phrasing"that is indispensableto the interrelation ofstructures of variouskinds. It would accordingly be possiblein such a form to conceivejunction of bifurcation, kinds of mobile elementscapable of points, platforms that would be written adapting themselves (with certainmodifications in as possibilities)to eligible fixedstructures in an arbitrary way,but withthe restriction that,in the "course" of the development, any given happening could occur onlyonce. Finally,in orderto oppose the horizontal and the vertical by means of an enlargementof this simple would be juxtaposable or superposable, notion,certainstructures either or that is to say, eitherbeginning at a givenjunccompletely partially; tion point or until one is reached-with the positive or negative criterion that the necessity or the absence of superposition will impose the written text. We are faced once more with the deupon thereby mands of writing:how indeed are the requirements of thesestructures going to manifestthemselvesin their actual realization? Obviously, of all in the timbres, whichare themosteasily theywill be evidentfirst to instrumentalgroups or, less perceptible phenomena; by referring S49

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instrumental we willmakeoutto certain combinations, categorically, clearto thelistener theintercrossing and multiplicity ofthe standingly thiswillbe one ofthe mosteffective developments; waysofmaking themcome alive,ofhavingthemconstantly reachour senseunderButifonedoesnotwantto havetimbre as a principal basisstanding. it mayhappenthata concern with is all-important-the monochromy either fixed or changing, willbe made to intervene as thepretempo, in it the at which a dominant structure characteristic;is, effect, speed unfolds sometimes less that contributes most variable, (sometimes so) I toward it. in have of notably just spoken, sum, two characterizing thethird, simi"enveloping" phenomena, namely tempoand timbre; will the kind I be which of larly"enveloping" phenomenon writing, by meantheexternal the in of itself its horizontal, vertical, aspect writing or obliqueconception. Realized in thismanner, and limited bythese threeexternal a structure to the characteristics, oughtto correspond thatwe developed nomenclature earlier. We havespoken ofdefinite and indefinite ofdivergent and structures, these terms characterize two families that are ones; convergent to each other. the to we dialectically opposed Returning comparison in connection made earlier withtheprobabilities ofa musical "point," we can extend it to thestructure itself. One willmovefrom theindefiniteto thedefinite, from the amorphous to thedirectional, the from to theconvergent the to or lesser of divergent according greater degree automatism one leavesto thefactors ofdevelopment, on the depending thatone opposes, in greater or lesser tothelimitless number, negations oftheir One thusmoves from freedom expansion possibilities. complete to strictly limited which is a classical thathas always choice, opposition severe from free If I have chosen to use these distinguished style style. different it is in order to underline theimportance I attach expressions, notonlyto theinternal constitution ofa structure, butalso to itspossibilities ofbeinglinked to other whether or structures, byisomorphism one unitofdevelopment or from to thenext.It is unpolymorphism deniablethatthese fit musiconlyapproximately and that, expressions in the absenceof moredirectly terms appropriate (it will be up to of thefuture to discover we mustmakedo witha musicology them), whose scientific elements run the risk ofbeingmisundervocabulary stoodbecausetheir will not be Wemust, however, meaning transposed. this in risk order to notions in thatare still accept temporary clarify their One how the "formants" of infancy. sees,consequently, compositioncan linktogether in families these different ofstructures more types the than circumstantial I of which intrinsically "envelopants" spoke earlier are able to; one also seeshowa general ofphrasing notion can in a way,thedisposition and agogics ofthese in structures foreshadow,
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the composed work. Beginning with an initial, principial sign and ending with an exhaustive,conclusive sign, the compositionmanages to involve what we were lookingforat the beginningof our investigation: a problematical"course," depending on time-a certainnumber of aleatory happenings inscribed in a mobile period of time-but an over-allsense of direction-withthe having a logic of development, of either silent ones or platforms ofsound-a course possibility caesuras, from a to an end. We have going beginning respectedthe "finished" the Occidental its closed of work, aspect cycle,but we have introduced the "chance" of the Oriental work,its open development. However,what we have just describedapplies, in a way, to a homoof time,of intervals.If we attempt to geneous sound-space of timbres, achieve a total variabilityand relativity of the structure, we mustuse a space that is not homogeneous,particularlywithregard to itstime and its intervals.In its development,today's music provesthatit calls increasinglyupon notions that are variable in their very principle, in evolution.That is whywe have alreadyseen the obeyinghierarchies seriesof twelveequal soundsreplaced by seriesofsound-groups, always of unequal density;that is why we have seen metricsreplaced by the seriesof durationsand of rhythmic cells or combinagroups(rhythmic tions by superpositionof several durations); that is why, finally, we have seen dynamicsand timbreno longerbe limited to theirdecorative and emotive qualities but acquire, in addition to these privileges, a functionalimportance that reinforces their powers and their dimensions. Thanks to electro-acoustical means, and even to various instrumental techniques,we can break the homogeneity of the sound-space in the changingdistribution ofits frequencies, eitherby creating various forms of temperament or by completely In the excludingtemperament. same way, the continuity of the machine and the discontinuity resultat itsverybase ing fromthe innerpulsation of the interpreter destroy the homogeneityof musical time. It is not our aim in this articleto show how these nonhomogeneousspaces are arrived at; accordingly, we shall do no more than call attentionto the factin order to make it can have on the notion of structure; it apparent what repercussions this in notion its a new "chance"-one that is imposes upon principle the most certainly discrepant. The danger of theseinvestigations, iftheyare turnedaside by weakness or inadvertencefromtheir true goal, consistsin the composer's in his shirking the choice inrunningaway fromhis own responsibility, herentin any kind of creation.Even on a superiorlevel, the ossiacannot be the last word of invention.But, on the otherhand, the possibilthe notionof the seriesitself, ityof adapting to composition by whichI mean the possibility of endowing the structure with the more general S51

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notionof permutation-apermutation withlimits that are strictly definedby the restriction of the powersimposedupon it by its is a completely self-determination-such a possibility justified, logical evolution since thesameorganizational rules both principle morphology and rhetoric. Fromthe practical whatdo theunpointofviewofperformance, usual dimensions of a workcreatedin suchan esthetic and poetical context Is it evenpossible oftheinterpreter? to bring intoacrequire cordthework and theinstrumentalist or thework and theconductor whois supposed to direct it?Assuredly, arealready yes;there examples to proveso amongthose works thatusherin thisnewform ofmusical is onlyone performer, there is no difficulty, itbe unless being.If there thathe musthavemoreinitiative thanbefore, sincethisinitiative, this is the A number certain of collaboration, required by composer. signs, different willserveas sureguidesto the characteristics typographical in thechoices thathe willhave to make.(Let us notforget interpreter thatthischoiceis notnecessarily a selection, but can be limited to a variable freedom ofexecution.) Whenthere are twoinstrumentalists, twopianos,forexample, the remains the with the problem practically same, supplementary adoptionofsignalsand guidemarks in common. a fixed If,forexample, on a variabletempofortheother tempoforone piano is superposed it for will be enough to indicate themeeting accelerando, (an instance), and the two arrival-of cowhose structures, places-departure points thecomposer ordinates willhave calculated withthegreater or lesser amount ofprecision he requires at thatparticular moment. It mayeven once thecomposer has chosenappropriate the happenthat, registers, twotimestructures in which case he will maybe entirely independent, indicate within whatinterval oftimehe wishes suchsequences merely to be played. familiarization with these and signals Simple guidemarks effaces theimpression one mayhaveofbeing"abandoned" quickly by one's partnerwhen one is no longerlinkedto him by a strictly metric. synchronous whenone directs a pieceofmusic in this conceived Finally, way,the roleconsists conductor's in giving which a convention essentially signals, understood willseparate into clearly byhismusicians specialized signals to indicate thedeparture from theprincipal thereturn to this tempo, or theperiodical coincidence withit. If themusicians deviate tempo, from the general the conductor the "centralizes" individually tempo, so to indications, speak. But when-withan orchestra-agroupof musicians is supposed to adopt a variabletempo, either a first-chair
conductorwill be called upon, and he willrelyon playeror an assistant the principal conductorforall fluctuations. These problemsof group S52

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fromthe difficulties actually are not radically different performance in the their solution is relatively encountered theater; everyday simple. The only obstacleto be overcome, is seeingto fromthe verybeginning, it that the musicians feelfreewith regard to the conductorand not "abandoned" by him; it is essential,therefore, to make themaware of theirindividualtempoin relationto the individualtempoofeach ofthe others. When this is accomplished, the divergences blend into a balanced whole. It is certain that one cannot go "toward this supremeconjuncture withprobability" withan unalienable sense of security. In thisconnection people will not fail to put us on trialonce more for"dehumanizathat are passed around on thissubject tion"; the high-flown ineptitudes are inexhaustibly low monotonous;theycan all be reducedto a signally what is meant "human." A of a conception by lazy nostalgia, predilection forpots-pourris that are sometimes called syntheses, (verypourris) such are the "heartfelt" of these We can longings vigilantdisparagers. that far from or answer,on the mostelementary level, denying annihiwe the creative circuit to the who fora him, lating reopen interpreter, numberofyearshas been asked merelyto play the textas "objectively" as possible.Why,what we wind up withis actuallya glorification ofthe And not at all an of interpreter! interpreter-robot terrifying precision, but an interpreter who is involvedin whathe is doingand is free to make his own choices. As forthosewho mightbe worriedby thisdynamiteintroduced into the heart of the work,by this chance that resists "composition"-and who would pointout to us thathuman poeticsand extra-human chance are inalienable,irreconcilable enemiesincapable ofproviding any positive resultby being amalgamated-we will quote fortheirbenefit this "In short, in an act involving paragraph from Igitur: chance,it is always chance that accomplishesits own Idea by asserting or denyingitself. come to noughtin the faceofitsexistence. It Negation and affirmation contains the Absurd-implies it, but in a latent state, and prevents it fromexisting:and thismakes it possible forthe Infinite to be." Pershrouded haps it is reckless-and insolent-to embarkupon thisvoyage, in uncertainty, but isn't it the only way to trytofixtheInfinite? Such is the unavowed pretension of anyone who rejectspure and simplehedoin a creativeuniversethatis overwhelmed nism,limitedcraftsmanship, with its burden of humble frauds.Any dilettante will findhimself torn to pieces by a responsibility thatlies beyondtheseschemes, any toilernotion-will be reduced to nothing the vacuity frightful by the inanity, ofhis labor. In the end, would thisnot be the onlyway to killtheArtist? [Translated by David Noakes and Paul Jacobs] S53

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