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Rokkaku td Mon Jan 1 11:23:23 2007
Rokkaku is the piece I'm working on right now for the Cornelius Cardew Choir. I wrote it because the choir, while improvising, often makes sounds that make me think I wish we could do that on purpose. So I wrote down descriptions of some of my favorites, and made up a structure to tie them all together.

The piece is organized as a parable about corporate management. The choir is divided up into a three level structure. In line with American management tradition, the names of the levels are extremely important, suggest authority way out of proportion to duties, and only peripherally relate to what the people actually do.

Upper management (the Superconductor) does strategic planning and tries to direct a corps of middle managers (the Semiconductors) to carry out the plan. The middle managers try to turn the directions they get from upper management into specific instructions for the workers (Nonconductors, i.e. the singers.)

But the managers are not really in control. They can communicate their instructions only by waving flags. The singers are given only the vaguest of instructions on how to interpret the flag waving, and in any case, the workers get to pick and choose whether to work (sing) or not at any instant, and which manager to follow.