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Single Fish is an aphoristic composition for three sopranos and hand percussion. The work explores the sounds and rhythms present inside Gertrude Stein’s poem “Single Fish” from Tender Buttons. The piece is divided into four sections, each examining a subset of the text. The singers are directed to explore a vast repertoire of theatrical characters and singing styles. The composition begins with delicate whispered and spoken phonetic textures and slowly incorporates pitched material: ranging from honky-tonk piano imitations to lush melodic lines.
The piece was composed using a multidimensional timbre model Reid developed while at Stanford University. The model is based on perceptual timbre studies and has been used by the composer to explore the compositional applications of “timbre spaces” and the relationship between reverberant space and timbre, or rather the concept of “timbre in space.”
Text for Single Fish:
By Gertrude Stein
Single fish single fish single fish egg-plant single fish sight.
A sweet win and not less noisy than saddle and more ploughing and nearly well painted by little things so.
Please shade it a play. It is necessary and beside the large sort is puff.
Every way oakly, please prune it near. It is so found.
It is not the same.
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