Funny Thing, Time
Violin, Viola, Cello, and Electronics
One morning as I was practicing, I had my metronome on and I began to ponder about time, our individual concept of time, and how much time musicians spend internalizing pulse so that when we perform, the music is perfectly rhythmic and tempo relationships are true to the composer’s intent. Funny Thing, Time begins with a ticking clock that gives the performers the tempo for the piece, which begins to fade away as the piece becomes complex. When the tick finally disappears, it is up to the performers to stay in perfect time so they all arrive together when the bell chimes. This piece tests the performers’ ability to stay in time and tests the listeners’ concepts of time. The piece does not simply provide a metronomic pulse in eighth notes (for example); instead, rhythmic obstacles litter the piece to give the illusion of time changes and musical interpretation.