As in The endless mobility of listening, the point here is to allow the pianist to explore the indeterminate materiality of the instrument. The pianist supports the agency of the piano, allowing isolated partials of the strings to emerge — according to Pickering's dialectic of resistance and accommodation (1995: 51) — between the player’s actions and the materiality of the piano. The piano strings can be explored in several ways. EBows are generally left in one position to allow the string vibration to settle into a stable pattern, then they can be moved to different positions of the string to allow other partials to emerge. The score directs the player to seek out metastable multiphonics, but allowing other sounds to emerge along the way. Multiphonics can be found by searching different positions on the strings and moving to a point in between different partials; this sometimes also results in the slow transition from one partial to another, or may even reveal a new partial.
Exploring the strings is a continuous process during the piece. The player balances several explorations across simultaneous soundings of two or three EBows and the resonator. The exploration is structured around changes of environment (i.e. altered harmonic spectra) by moving the piano preparations (a long screw or bolt) to alter harmonic spectra and available partials. This is comparable to the process in The endless mobility of listening, where strings are retuned in each cycle, altering their material behaviour and agency. Movements are carried out both discretely and continuously. Discrete actions are carried out on a muted string by silently moving a preparation to an arbitrary new position, usually while other EBows are droning. Continuous actions can be carried out‚ if conditions are favourable, by carefully grasping the preparation between fingertips and gently pulling it along the string while still sounding. Since the preparation is coupled to the sounding string, this could result in immediately silencing the whole string; however, if the vibrational node of the preparation is grasped then the screw will continue to vibrate while being moved. Moving a sounding preparation is used sometimes as a fast gesture with structural/phrasing implications, while a very slow glissando can be used to search for resonant points of the string, which, once the preparation is in the new position, can be further explored by moving the Ebow or resonator.
In contrast to The endless mobility of listening, there is no fixed anchor pitch to structure this piece around. Instead, the piece uses relative pitch-matching to create moments of coherence at structural points. The player can choose to move sounding preparations to a target position that makes an octave or unison harmony with another drone. The player can also choose to interrupt the glissando at a point where there is strong resonance, regardless of the sounding pitch at that position. In this way, the structural points of the piece can be moved around to suit the material responses of the instrument. Conversely, the agency of the piano can interrupt the human by offering an irresistible resonance.
The piece exists as an epistemic object, a set of relationships and practices that elicit Pickering's dance of agency, but in various relatively fixed (notated) versions. The initial trace of the object was a text-based score, with clear instructions based on the processes we had refined in the workshops. Each main process was divided into modules. Originally, a multi-branched structure was devised, so that the modules could be played and repeated in different ways for performances of different lengths.
An excerpt of this score is shown below: