Peter Van Riper: scores

  1. scores

    On Scores

    The scores are word statements of the music. They follow a world music attitude toward notation where the score is only a reference to an auditory event. The Indian raga and Indonesian gamelan are oral traditions. One may see a gamelan score, but its use is to remind the student of the sounds while learning the piece. Scores are not used in performance. If I have a new piece on mbira thumb piano, for instance, I listen to audio tape rather than refer to notation in learning the work. The scores are as poems for music.

    Peter Van Riper

    The reading or memorizing of something written in order to play music is an Occidental practice. In the Orient, music by tradition is transmitted from person to person. At the present time, however, and throughout the world, not only most popular music but much so-called serious music is produced without recourse to notations. One may nowadays repeat music not only be means of printed notes but by means of sound recordings, disc, or tape. One may also compose new music by these same recording means. In none of these cases does notation stand between musician and music nor between music and listener. 

    John Cage

    Paper Piece is a performance score

    A poem

    The sound of breaking through many walls of paper.

    In performance

    A paper screen.

    Dropping Japanese doll “Daruma”

    On paper



    Three times

    Paper sound.

    FIRST The recorded sound of breaking through walls of paper

    THEN Breaking through a wall of paper


    Paper piece has a special sound element—walls of paper are made in a space. A recording of crashing through them is made. In performance the tape is played and a single wall of paper is crashed through.

    «One Note»

    Moku gyo

    Tetsu rin


    This piece evolves from instrument to instrument

    “Moku gyo” Buddhist wood bell

    is sounded “one note” at a time

    around the curve of the bell

    around the room

    “Tetsu rin” Buddhist metal gong

    is sounded

    around the rim

    Around the room

    “One note” standing wave

    Saxophone “one note”

    Played while spinning

    Produces Doppler effect.

    Image – map of trigrams from I Ching

    Reproduce hexagram

    In any environment

    With sound wire

    By tying directly

    From one object

    To a second object

    For solid lines – and –

    From one object to an intermediate object

    Then to a second object

    For broken lines

    Produce sound

    From key to identify


    Reading the larger number

    As the number of seconds

    Sound is produced – and –

    Reading the smaller number

    As the number of times

    The wire is vibrated

    6 & 9 are changing lines

    6 (- x - ) is yin all heads line

     9 ( - o - ) is yang all tails line

    H = 2

    T = 3

     - - is an even line

    2TH = 8

    __ is an odd line

    2HT = 7

    Listen while performing

    The computer-generated hexagrams were made at Jet Propulsion Lab.

    Notes on Wire Sound Score

    For Margaret Leng Tan

    The silences are very beautiful in a John Cage way—-environmental sounds can be included by the listener.

    The piece has 20 events averaging out to a total of 15’, but varying mostly by the pauses between them.


    I suggest “visualizing” the duration of each event and then “playing” the attacks. 

    I enjoy a large Japanese darkroom clock that reads out 60” with a big hand and easily resets for each event.

    Each event is to take place on a single key – the tone may chancge and, due to the preparation, will be fresh.

    December 1994 

    Paper clips for ‘tie wire’

    Play inside the piano

    «This», score for performance at The Kitchen, New York City, December 7-11, 1976

    « Song for Yana »

    Hornby Island, B.C. Canada 1975

    Hey Ya na –

    The wind comes up

                On the one side strong

    Hey Ya hey Ya


    The roots grow down

                On the other side long

     Hey Ya hey Ya

    Hey Ya na no mono

    Hey Yana 4 ½

    Hee yyy ya na no mo ni na

    Heyyeee ya na no shimo un

    Heyy eee ya na no mo no na

    No mo no na no wah!

    Cho chu cho

    Chiki chiki cha cha cha

    Samu byaku sam byo

    No na no na na na na

    Hey ya na no no no no

    Chiki chiki chiki


    Chiki cha cha cha

    Chiki cha

    Chiki cha


    Sam biyaku

    Sam byo na no


    Chi chi chi chi chi

    Chi chi chi chi chi

    Cho cho cho cho cho

    Cho cho cho

    Cha cha cha cha cha 

    Cha cha cha cha cha

    Cha cha cha cha cha

    Cha cha cha



    Chiki chiki chiki chiki

    Chiki chiki chiki chiki


    Ya /  Na /


    Piru raven


    Avoiding landing

    Whah whah whah hhhhh

    Hey ya na mo no mo na

    No ma no mo no mo no wah

    Hey when I sing

    Yes it can raise her

    «More Than One Bird»

    Martin soprano saxophone

















    L:  1

    R: 5/56/5/56/5/56/5…

    L: 1

    R: 56/567/56/567/56…


    L: ) to 11  12

    R:  5  6  7

    (little finger)


    right hand knuckle knocking

    Upper reg. Non keys


    Upper left

    Bird fly away


    L: 0/14/15

    R: 1/5/56/5/56/5