Each Thursday at the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate.
This assignment was made in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, November 7, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, November 11, 2013, as the deadline.
These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):
Disquiet Junto Project 0097: Ford Madox Ford Page 99 Remix
This week’s project takes as its source a comment attributed to the author Ford Madox Ford: “Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.” We will convert text from page 99 of various books into music.
Step 1: Pick up the book you are currently reading, or otherwise the first book you see nearby.
Step 2: Turn to page 99. Confirm that the page has enough consecutive text in it to add up to 80 characters.
Step 2a: If the page is blank or otherwise has no text, turn to page 98. Continue this process of moving backward through the book until your find an appropriate page.
Step 2b: If you are reading an ebook that lacks page numbers, or a book that happens to lack page numbers, then use the first page of the main body of the book (i.e., not the Library of Congress information or the table of contents) or flip to a random spot/page in the book.
Step 3: When you have located 80 consecutive characters, type them into a document on your computer or write the down on a piece of paper.
Step 4: You will turn these characters into music by following the following rules:
Step 4a: The letters A through L will correspond with the notes along the chromatic scale from A to G#. To convert a letter higher than L, simply cycle through the scale again (i.e., L = G#, M = A, etc.). Capital letters should be played slightly louder than lowercase letters.
Step 4b: Any spaces and any dashes/hyphens will be treated as blank, as a silent moment.
Step 4c: A comma or semicolon will signify a note one step below the preceding note.
Step 4d: A period, question mark, or exclamation point will signify a note one step above the preceding note.
Step 4e: All other punctuation (colon, ampersand, etc.) will be heard as a percussive beat.
Step 5: Record the piece of music using a digital or analog instrument.
Step 6: Set the pace for the recording to between 160 and 80 beats per minute (BPM). In other words, the track should be between 30 and 60 seconds in length.
Step 7: Add any desired underlying music or sound bed, and any additional instrumentation, but the melody resulting from Step 6 should be the most prominent sound.
Deadline: Monday, November 11, 2013, at 11:59pm wherever you are.
Length: Your track should have a duration of between 30 and 60 seconds.
Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Name the book and share the 80 characters that were the source of your melody.
Title/Tag: Include the term “disquiet0097-page99remix” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.
Download: Please consider employing a license that allows for attributed, commerce-free remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).
Linking: When posting the track, be sure to include this information:
More on this 97th Disquiet Junto project, in which music is decoded from a phrase in a book, at:
More details on the Disquiet Junto at:
Image via wikipedia.org.