I've been continuing with the vocal parts that enter around 6:00. The previous post explains the order of syllables in each soprano part. I began by writing out the first iteration of the text (i.e. the first column on each spreadsheet above).
First iteration of text in three soprano parts. NB: the notes are
placeholders, not actual pitches yet. Rhythms are precise, however.
I clocked it at about one minute, and then realized that it could take up to 18 minutes to get through each iteration of text if I maintained that pace. That's longer than I had planned, so I began to look more closely at pacing. Eighteen minutes of a linearly progressing pattern is not what I had in mind for this piece (I want to avoid the perception of process music--that's too big an issue to discuss here, though).
The image below shows my notes scribbled along the top of the 1st and 2nd soprano spreadsheets. First, I broke up the part: there's a break between iterations 7 and 8 (big check), and another between 14 and 15 ("railroad tracks"). Iterations 13 and 14 have the letters O and K, which indicate only vowels (O, open) or only consonants (K). I mean "only consonants" literally--just aspirated consonant sounds. The final four iterations contains the culmination of the process that reveals the text as having linguistic meaning.
I feel like this gives the process some shape. It is still goal oriented, but the movement toward the goal is nuanced--sometimes moving linearly, sometimes faster or slower, sometimes hesitating, etc. This is what form does--it gets you from the beginning to the end. Now the vocal parts have an independent, fully operating form, even though in the finished piece these parts will constitute only a portion of the form.
More on the composing out of the vocal parts
Below are the next iterations of the soprano 1 and 2 parts, the text simply written, not notated. Now consonants are coming into the mix. Soprano 1 begins to add consonants to the beginnings of certain syllables while soprano 2 begins to add consonants to the end of certain syllables. The intended effect is that of composite syllables becoming intelligible to the listener. The soprano 3 part will join the other two parts in a similar way--French nonsense and English nonsense being equal after all.
More on the text later...