Signatures (bassoon concerto)

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One’s identity can be contained in one word: one’s own name. When signing your name, you sign an idea of who you are, so when other people read your signature, they instinctively conjure up images or memories of their perception of your identity. Your signature becomes not just a name, but rather an idea or conception of your identity. It is inescapable. Signatures is an autobiographical biography based on perceptions of my signature.

This one-movement bassoon concerto uses a mathematical process to reduce my last name�Eismeier�into music pitches, so that each letter in my name "E, I, S, M, and R" has its own set of pitches based on the spelling of Eismeier. The result is five different sets of name-spelling pitches, each of which spell my name differently. The concerto is in nine parts, of which the first eight represent each respective letter in my last name in order. Along with its own unique set of pitches, each letter has its own musical character, but never can the music stray from the process that invented its pitch identities. The music is bound to my name just as my identity is bound to my signature on the music. The final part of the piece is labeled "set free," and marks the final transcendence of identity that can only occur in the eternal life that follows, and the music becomes free from all of the constraints that defined all of the music before. The bassoon is the featured soloist because I am a bassoonist, and it is part of my signature. The very first thing played in this piece is my name, and that same motif appears in every part of this piece. It’s my signature; it’s the story of my life.

Score ID
Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
21 minutes
Concert band / wind band
Modern classical music

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