TunePiece Score – (Joey)

by | Oct 6, 2021 | Artwork #1: Score, Projects

Pick up an old instrument

Choose a piece

Play the piece

Ask someone to twist and turn the knobs

Play the same piece

Tune the instrument.


Artist Statement

I came up with this idea while reading Yoko Ono’s book, Grapefruit: A Book of Instructions and Drawings and listening to pieces made by John Cage, most notably, his love for tinkering with instruments, such as the piano, with screws and coins. What catapulted me to make the decision of tuning the instrument at the last line of the piece was reading Keyboard Piece where the artist typed on their keyboard and then opened the computer. Their work’s meaning is different from what my meaning will be, but I felt that the processes was essentially the same. My intention behind my piece is to break the daily routines of musicians where whenever they pick up their instrument or begin to play their instrument, they would usually always have to check if they are in tune. If they are not in tune, they can still play a piece correctly but rather, they would play the piece differently. However, I truly wanted the performers to play the piece the same way but experience the unique notes that may come about with an out of tune instrument. This leads me to many questions that I wish my piece can ask towards the audience members. Would their play still be the same piece but just out of tune? Or would a newly created piece be created where the rhythm is the same but now the piece probably doesn’t have a melody or maybe it does? I wanted to create an exploratory form of expression through playing instruments that every time TunePiece is performed, the piece would be uniquely different each time. Especially on the violin where there are four different strings that all have different pitches to tune, if they are not in the regular intervals of each other, the piece that is being played would always sound different. Furthermore, just like Yoko Ono’s participatory art, I wanted the audience to be somewhat involved with the music making process. When I ask others to “tune” the instrument, I basically ask them to completely change the entire piece even though the song on the music sheet is still exactly the same. This way of modifying an instrument is inspired from John Cage’s performances but in different and much safer way. However, the eccentric music that is produced is exactly the same. My score can be repeated every single time with new combinations of notes and with new people “tuning” the instrument, implying a smaller message that everyone can compose art that is uniquely different but also allowing musicians to explore more freely the musicality of the pieces they are playing.