few is for a person listening and responding to the sonic environment around them. Responses include: breath filtered through a variety of mouth shapes as well as tongue clicks, hums and whistles. These barely externalised sounds are an almost imperceptible trace of concentrated perceptual effort. There is often only a risk of these sounds being produced and then heard.
This piece may be performed alone, privately, or to a few others very close to the person listening and responding, in any very quiet environment.
The performance directions that accompany the score are as follows:
- Enter a very quiet environment, be still.
- Spend a short time listening to the environment.
- There are continuous and non-continuous ambient sounds (ambient sounds are sounds that you do not intend or are not responsible for creating).
- Start the score (preferably perform from memory).
- Your sounds and breath pressure should always be barely audible over the continuous ambient sounds, according to your perception alone.
- When a non-continuous ambient sound occurs, stop performing the score.
- Listen again (breathe slowly, steadily and as quietly as possible as you listen).
- Have the continuous ambient sounds changed? If so, adjust your sounds and breath pressure so that they are again only barely audible to you.
- Resume your progress through the score, beginning at the nearest ‘breath in’ before the point at which you stopped.
- Repeat steps 6 to 9 until you reach the end of the score.
(The division between continuous and non-continuous sounds is arbitrary. You must decide how to classify any given ambient sound. It may be useful to think of continuous sounds as relatively long sounds and non-continuous sounds as relatively short sounds. Exactly how you interpret these terms and divide ambient sounds will drastically alter the length of a performance.)
(If the environment changes in a way that makes it impossible to finish the score, abandon the performance.)
The score is here, if you would like to try it: http://www.charliesdraulig.com/few.pdf