The Second challenge issued to us composers was titled Table Tennis. In this challenge, we were randomly paired with another composer and we were instructed to pass the piece back and forth, ping pong style.I was paired with Ryan Udairam, a fellow Twin Cities based Composer.
Upon alternating emails to figure out what process would work best for us, we discovered that we don’t live that far from each other. Our process ended up being that we would pass the piece via XML file as we both use different versions of Finale. Because of the way that we interpreted the directions (which may have been different from Charlie’s intent in retrospect), we agreed to pass the piece every 2 measures, allowing any random time signature change when it was our turn. We each picked two Instruments. Ryan picked Erhu and harp and I picked Alto flute and Crotales.
One of the main difficulties with this challenge was the fact that my current version of Finale is getting a bit ancient and was not interpreting the XML files properly.To remedy this we also began passing pdf files so that we could at least correct things visually to get a better representation. Also, I had to use my imagination a bit since my sound pallet unfortunately does not include the Erhu.
In the end, we almost ran out of time so we agreed to meet in person at an I hop in order to finish the piece. We still obeyed the rules (after all, Charlie did not specify that we could not meet in person to pull this off) by passing Ryan’s computer back and forth like a ping pong ball, making sure to use headphones. After 3 hours, gallons of coffee, and a lot of stares from people who probably had no idea what we were doing, we finished what we ended up naming Koi Fish’s Last Struggle.
Overall, it was a fun and interesting experience co creating a piece like this. Guessing at what direction another composer is hoping you will go and deciding if you will go with that or change direction is what was the most enjoyable aspect of the challenge.
This challenge resulted in some interesting pieces and I urge you to listen to the others works by following this link.