Teeth: performance materials

You’ll need:

The score, available from Subito.

Overview on assembling a performance – download the pdf:

The audio files

It is useful to have several versions on the audio for preparing performance.  If you don’t see the one you need, please contact the composer. Here are three: 

  1. A version for practicing — mixed down to two channels of the fixed audio and a click-track . No piano realization, no inside-the-piano, no spoken part, just the fixed media and a click track. Here.
  2. A realization of the piece including all the parts, with the keyboard piano part played on Sibelius sounds, the ‘inside the piano’ sounds and spoken part pre-recorded, and of course, the fixed media.  This version is a useful representation of how the fixed media and live sounds are synchronized and how the timbres can merge.  Here.
  3. A version of the realization with a click-track
  4. In performance it will be best to playback from the Reaper files. This will allow the click track to be fully isolated, and will make distributing the various sounds around the performance space easier.

Libretto and Dramatic Notes

please download the pdf here.

Piano preparations and techniques

Teeth includes eleven extended techniques, described below. Most of the techniques require that the damper pedal be depressed for the effect to work.  These are noted below and do not have damper pedal notations in the score.  Some of the descriptions include a link to a video demonstrating the technique for this particular work.   Since the videos demonstrate how to produce the sounds on one specific piano – an old baby grand — the performer will have to adjust the technique for whatever instrument she is performing on. 

Note that audio recordings of many of these sounds are in the fixed media, with the intent of linking the fixed media sound-world to the live piano.  Part of the performer’s interpretation of the work includes to what extent she chooses to match the sounds.  In some cases, the fixed media sounds have obviously been filtered or otherwise processed and of course there is no need to try to match those sounds. 

Here are the techniques: 

  1. Notes played on the keyboard are marked ‘ord.’   Some have pedaling marked.  Where pedaling is not marked, it is the performer’s option.  Regular notehead.
  2. Notes played on the keyboard, with stopped string.  Place the hand which is not playing on the keyboard on the string and stop it to produce the desired overtone, often a bell-like sound.  Press the damper pedal.  Mm. 32-34 and other places.  Regular notehead with ‘+’.
  3. Autoharp:  press the keys down on the keyboard and strum the strings for those notes (and all in between), using either your finger or guitar pick.  The goal is a soft-edged, loud-enough sound like that of the lap-held autoharp instrument.  Do not depress the damper pedal.  Mm.  12; m 27-31.  42-43; 52-53; 54; 56-58; 59-61; 66-67; 138.  Diamond notehead.
  4. Scrape edge of keys with guitar pick or credit card:  It produces a clicking sound like a quiet guiro.  Since this sound is not inherently loud and doesn’t project well, do this as loudly, energetically and effortfully as possible (theatre element).    mm. 78-80.  No notehead. 
  5. Pizz.  Means pluck the notated string with either your nail or a guitar pick.  Press the damper pedal to extend the resonance.   Regular notehead with ‘pizz.’
  6. Scrape bass string with a guitar pick.  This should be done on a single-wrapped string.  The easiest to access may be the bottom one, A.  Damper pedal should always be pressed down.  m.  6-8, 13 – 18, 37-38. Downward facing triangle notehead. 
  7. Glissando on strings – strum the strings notated with the indicated tool.  Almost all of these are in the upper / top register.  See the notation.  They all need the damper pedal depressed to let the strings resonate. X notehead. 
    1. Guitar pick, credit card:   loudest sound, metallic.  m 22; m 76-77.  80;82-83; 135 – 136.
    2. Ping-Pong ball:  the ball produces a glassier sound than using a finger, and less pointy than the sound produced by a guitar pick or credit card.  M 65-66; 143-145.
    3. Tuning rubber: use the wider end.  This produces a softer sound than guitar pick or credit card.   m 74.  81-82; 85; 108;
    4. Ping-pong ball on upper strings:  roll or lightly scrape a ping pong ball across the strings around where the pitches are notated.  Press the damper pedal.  M. 31- 32; 58-59.  X notehead.
  8. Bowed strings:  See video (to come) about which fishing line type to use, which rosin type to use and how much to apply (generally as much as possible and more if the air is dry).  The two bowings are put in place in advance and don’t change during performance.  Depress the damper pedal for both to support resonance.  Square notehead. 
    1. upper strings:  The string is woven between the strings of a few notes.  The exact notes probably don’t matter since the goal is a highly variable, but generally sharp screeching sound.  M. 35 (reh B).
    2. Bowed Ab3.  The bow is on just the Ab3, none of its neighbors.  Moving the bow closer to and away from the pin block produces different overtones.  The Ab is generally audible. M. 36; m. 49-51; 130 – 134.
  9. Knock on metal frame with glass bottle.  Bottle can be the liter size, such as for sparkling water.  Use pedal to support resonance.  M. 44-5.   No notehead.
  10. Slide glass bottle down and up strings. Depress damper pedal.   M. 63-65.  No notehead. 
  11. Squeak a Tuning rubber on upper strings.  Depress the damper pedal and press a tuning rubber down the notated string to produce a random, variously pitched squeak. Pressing harder and moving faster creates a crescendo.  M 70 -73; 83- 84; 86-87; 89—91; 130-131.   No notehead.