Retrograde was written in response to Disquiet Junto Project 0416: Time Laps
Step 1: Record a short piece of live, improvised music.
Step 2: Reverse the audio recorded in Step 1.
Step 3: Record a live improvisation on top of the reversed audio that resulted from Step 2. (Do this by listening to and responding to the playback in real time.) Then flatten the two layers into one layer.
Step 4: Reverse the combined audio (both layers flattened) resulting from Step 3.
Step 5: Record a live improvisation on top of the reversed audio that resulted from Step 4. (Do this by listening to and responding to the playback in real time.) Then flatten the two layers into one layer.
Step 6: Reverse the combined audio (both layers flattened) resulting from Step 5. This is your finished piece (unless you’d like to do additional layers, continuing the flip-flopping, for as many times as you’d like).
Since recording is not a possibility for me, I replaced the recording instruction with writing. The flute begins with a theme, then that theme is played in retrograde while the oboe offers its own theme. As the clarinet enters with its theme the flute repeats what it has already played and the oboe begins a retrograde of its theme. Finally the bassoon enters as the oboe replays what it has played and the clarinet plays a retrograde of its theme.
To break things up an interlude is presented, which is then played in retrograde. Following this the bassoon plays a retrograde of the clarinet’s theme, accompanied by the clarinet playing the interlude theme. This idea is repeated as the clarinet, oboe and flute play retrograde themes of other instruments and the piece finally ends.
Much easier is simply listening to the piece for what it is without the distraction of the explanation.
Retrograde was written for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, and Bassoon.