as a measurement of entanglement (2013)
For 2 pianos | dedicated to Leo Nicholson | duration circa 15 minutes
as a measurement of entanglement [the shape distance 10] extends the recent set of unsynchronised works the shape distance, a series of seven pieces constructed somewhat akin to ‘Russian Dolls’ in that each contains the same or similar core material that is ‘enclosed’ by other layers of material. as a measurement of entanglement differs from the shape distance [1-7] in as much as the music is devised through the superimposition of two idential pieces of music [one being transposed a whole tone higher than the other], presented as a two-part unsynchronised canon.
The pianists play independently of each other. Music is cued to begin only, with no ‘fixed’ synchronisation between the players. Whilst the relationship of each instrument is flexibly placed against its neighbour, care has been taken to calculate potential outcomes of coincidence and variability. To this end it is vital that metronome markings are adhered to as accurately as possible although the composer appreciates that it is the various interpretations and practicalities inherent in the realisation of tempi that contribute to the richly unique nature and interplay of each performance.
There is only one instructions to the players; to begin where indicated and play until their material is finished.
The score and parts
I have not produced a score for this piece as difficulties and variables associated with displaying the musical material in vertical alignment as represented in real time are considerable. Each performance will yield different results, interplays, gestural and harmonic references and outcomes. As a result, the material contained within the piece can only be read via the two piano parts. Consequently there is no ‘definitive’ performance of this music – each performance will be unique.
Music in as a measurement of entanglement can only be realised through performance [as opposed to comprehended by reading through a score]; this is the nature of the music – it has to be experienced to be ‘known’.
The title: Entanglement, non-locality and hidden variables [quantum entanglement].
There is much confusion about the meaning of entanglement, non-locality and hidden variables and how they relate to each other. As described [above], entanglement is an experimentally verified and accepted property of nature, which has critical implications for the interpretations of quantum mechanics. The question becomes, “How can one account for something that was at one point indefinite with regard to its spin (or whatever is in this case the subject of investigation) suddenly becoming definite in that regard even though no physical interaction with the second object occurred, and, if the two objects are sufficiently far separated, could not even have had the time needed for such an interaction to proceed from the first to the second object?”
More simply and perhaps relevant to the piece, the entanglement of material from the two pianos can never be calculated as a constant relationship as each performance will yield different relationships, harmonic and rhythmic variables as the combination of both musics will generate a third state of sound; that which becomes the sum of the parts. Human inaccuracies and interpretation will always generate somewhat different results. Compounded across the duration of the piece these variables may be slight or profound. As such, the ‘entanglement’ of the two pianos and the hidden variables that are produced can only be ‘measured’ or known through experiencing that particular performance.