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A K A S H A

for string quartet


(2015)

TREVOR BAA
PREFACE
Akasha is a music of invisibility, electricity and the open expanse of the sky. The title is the Sanskrit word for the ther, a concept once understood as an unseen force present in all things in motion in the world.

Scordatura. The violins are tuned as usual. String IV of the viola is tuned down a minor third to A\2; string IV of the cello is tuned down a minor third to A\1.

Accidentals. Accidentals govern only one note. Because of this no natural signs appear in the score: G]4 G4 should be played G]4 G\4. This is especially important in the densely chromatic sections that appear throughout the score.

String contact points. Five string contact points appear in the score:

XT as close to the fingers as possible (without touching the fingers)


tasto very noticeably tasto in color
pos. ord. ordinary playing position
pont. very noticeably ponticello in color
XP as close to the bridge as possible (without touching the bridge)

Bridge contact points. The indication OB stands for directly on the bridge and means that the bow should be run diagonally on the bridge to produce white noise with no pitch at all. Fractional bridge contact points also appear. These are played with the bow
extremely high on the string such that the hair of the bow runs against both the wrapping of the string and the wood of the bridge at the same time. Taken as a series these bridge contact points do three things: they reduce the fundamental of the strings fingered
pitch; they increase the spectral content of the upper partials; and they replace the overall sensation of pitch with noise. Some examples:

XP as close to the bridge as possible (without touching the bridge)

4 OB one quarter of the hair on bridge (and three quarters of the hair on string)
1

2 OB one half of the hair on bridge (and one half of the hair on string)
1

4 OB three quarters of the hair on bridge (and one quarter of the hair on string)
3

OB bow directly on bridge with a diagonal bow (to produce white noise only)

Bow speed colors. The score contrasts widely different speeds of the bow:

XFB extremely fast bow (extreme flautando with the bow only very lightly skimming the string)
FB fast bow (very pronounced flautando just slightly less than above)
NBS normal bow speed (neither flautando nor scratch)
1
4 scratch timbre with one quarter part scratch (and three quarter parts pitch)
1
2 scratch timbre with one half part scratch (and one half part pitch)
3
4 scratch timbre with three quarter parts scratch (and one quarter part pitch)
scratch moltiss. timbre with as much scratch (and as little pitch) as possible (though without encouraging subtones)

Do not substitute tasto for the FB and XFB degrees of bow speed flautando requested in the score: bow speeds combine freely with the string and bridge contact points given above. Indications for individuated clicks of the bow also appear; these result from almost
impossibly slow motions of the bow against the string.

All passages marked leggierissimo should be played off string. The effect is to be an incredibly fast, and nimble, flurry of notes. (All such passages carry a quiet dynamic and are marked with staccati.)

Glissandi. Do not rearticulate note-heads in the middle of glissandi.

Akasha was written for the JACK Quartet who gave the world premiere the piece on February 6th 2016 in Paine Hall on the campus of Harvard University.
A K A S H A

for the JACK Quartet


Trevor Baa (*1975)

 = 44  = 44  = 55  = 44
3 6 3 A 4 5 4
8 8 4 4 4 4






tasto + 1/2 scratch



Violin 1      
leggierissimo: off-string bowing on staccati
9:8 9:8
mp





tasto + 1/2 scratch
      
Violin 2
          
p
leggierissimo: off-string bowing on staccati
9:8 mp
 

    
OB + terminate abruptly tasto + 1/2 scratch
         

Viola

mf p mp


    

tasto + 1/2 scratch


Cello
 
mp

 = 55
12
6 6 4 6 5
4 leggierissimo: off-string bowing on staccati
4 4 4 4
                

9:8 9:8  tasto + XFB
  
   
  
   
Vn. 1
     
p pp
tasto + XFB 

                 
     
 
Vn. 2
  
pp
             

Va.

              
  

Vc.


 = 55
22
3 9 B 4 8
4 8 8 8

  
Vn. 1 
 
 



  tasto + 1/2 scratch

Vn. 2   
   
mp
Va. 
       

                                    
leggierissimo: off-string bowing on staccati

                         
Vc.

p 9:8 9:8 5:4 9:8 9:8 5:4
 = 55
28
3 4 7 6 C 4 6 6
8 8 8 4 4 4 4
    







Vn. 1 




tasto + XFB
   


Vn. 2    

pp
3:2 9:8 3:2 3:2


tasto

    
Va.
   
mp
                         

tasto
Vc.
       
9:8 9:8
5:4 9:8
mp

42
6 4 3 4 5 3 4
4 4 4 4 4 4 4
   

 
OB
 

mf
Vn. 1

 
OB
 

mf
Vn. 2

tasto + scratch moltiss.



Va.
   
mp pp leggieriss. 9:8 ff
9:8

                  

Vc.
     
p
mp pp

 = 126
55
5 4 6 3 D 4 3 6 7 4 8
4 4 4 8 8
5/A4(II) + vib. mod.
8 8 8 8 8
  
8va
      
Vn. 1    
mp

   
tasto

Vn. 2  
pp
       
7/A2(IV) + vib. mod.
3:2

  
tasto + 1/2 scratch tasto
 
Va.
  
mp mp pp mp

 + 1/2 scratch
        
tasto tasto 11/A1(IV) + vib. mod.
Vc.
  
mp mp
mp pp

/ Akasha 2 Baa
70
9 7 3 6 7 9 4 8 9 4 3
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
 
8va           


  
XP + senza vib. + full bow strokes

Vn. 1     
ppp
      
XP + full bow strokes

       
Vn. 2          
ppp
               
Va. 

               
Vc.


 = 55  = 126
85
9 4 8 3 4 7 3 6 4 3 6 7
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
   
                
Vn. 1       
       
      
tasto
       
Vn. 2    
p
          tasto + senza vib. 3:2
XP + full bow strokes

   
Va.
    ppp
sf ppp
    
 
XP + senza vib. + full bow strokes XP + full bow strokes
tasto

       
  
Vc.

ppp     
sf ppp ppp

 = 44  = 44
101
3 8 9 4 3 6 7 4 E 6
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 4 4
 

 
 

    




Vn. 1   

scratch moltiss.

    
terminate each note abruptly
4:6









  
Vn. 2 

  ff
 
  



 
OB
      
Va.
    
mf scratch moltiss.

  
terminate each note abruptly


9:8 5:6

tasto
        
Vc.
    ff
sf ppp

/ Akasha 3 Baa
 = 55 accel.  = 89
117
6 5 3 4 5 3 6 4
4 scratch moltiss. 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
 
                                                            
terminate each note abruptly pi meno scratch
 4:6 3:5 4:3 4:3 9:8 9:8 11:10 7:6 7:6 13:12
                     
Vn. 1
  
ff pi meno scratch
f 9:8
5:6 6:5 7:8 7:8 9:10 5:6 5:6 11:12 7:8
                                                    
   
Vn. 2
           
f
Va.                                
           

pi meno scratch

senza scratch
10:8 
                                                                            
4:5 5:3 5:3 10:8 12:10 8:6 8:6

             
Vc.

f mf 14:12 10:8

accel.
130
6 4 3 4
4 4 4 4 leggieriss.


        
senza scratch
13:12 13:12 13:12 9:8 7:6
Vn. 1                                                       

senza scratch
leggieriss. mf
11:12 11:12 11:12 5:4 6:4 5:4

                

                      
           

     
Vn. 2
       
mf mf
Va.                              

                                         
                                                                       
leggieriss.

             
Vc.
 
14:12 7:6 7:4 5:4 7:4
mf 5:4 7:4 6:4

 = 126
136
5 3 4
4 4 4
 7:4
             
                                                                                              
Vn. 1

5:4 5:4 7:4 5:4 7:4 6:4 5:4 7:4
6:4 5:4 6:4 5:4 7:4 6:4 5:4 6:4 5:4 7:4 6:4
      
           
  
   
             
                    
    
           
                                         
               
 
Vn. 2

Va.                   

  
                                                              
      
9:8 7:4 10:8 12:8
         
Vc.
                                       
5:4 7:4 5:4 7:4 6:4 5:4 7:4

/ Akasha 4 Baa
141
5 4 6
4 4 4
   
                                                                                                                              
Vn. 1                     
5:4 7:4 6:4 5:4 7:4 6:4 7:6 9:6 8:6 7:6 9:6 8:6
pp
7:4
    
5:4 7:4
                                          
         
                                                
5:4
                               
Vn. 2                                         
6:4 6:4 5:4 9:6 8:6 7:6 9:6 8:6 7:6
pp
Va.                    

14:12 10:6 
                                          
12:8 5:4 11:8 6:4 12:8 9:8 9:6
                            
Vc.
                           
                                
                      
          
            
               
         
 13:12 15:12 pp

145
4 6
4 4   
                        

       
                                                                  

Vn. 1             
    
                                                                          
7:6 9:6 8:6 5:4 7:4 6:4 7:6 9:6 8:6
                                       
Vn. 2         
15:12 11:6 12:8 14:8 9:6 17:12 10:6

Va.                

                                                                                                              
    
           
                 
Vc.

18:12 9:6 15:10 12:8 6:4 15:12 11:6 14:10

 = 44  = 126
148
5 3 3 F 4 5 3
      
4 4 4 4 4 4
                                      
                  

           



Vn. 1                    

              
5:4 7:4 6:4 7:4 6:4 5:4 7:4 6:4 5:4
                     
                                                   

Vn. 2             
14:8 11:8 6:4 11:8 5:4 12:8 14:8

Va.            


  
  
                                 

                                      
                     
leggieriss.
tasto + 1/2 scratch
          
Vc.

14:10 14:8 7:4        pp 14:8 7:4 13:8 12:8 6:4
mp

/ Akasha 5 Baa
 = 55  = 89
156
3 3 4 5 6 4
4 4 4 4 4 4

 + XFB 
 tasto          
        5:4
 
5:4

                
Vn. 1       
 
pp
pp 5:4
p 5:4 5:4
p 5:4 5:4
pp 5:4 pp5:4 5:4 5:4
p p pp pp 5:4
p 5:4 5:4
p 5:4


      
            
tasto + XFB
           

Vn. 2
  
scratch moltiss. pp pp p p pp pp p pp pp p

terminate abruptly tasto + 1/2 scratch


          
Va.
 
ff mp




tasto + 1/2 scratch

Vc.
        
mp

166
6 5 3 4
4 4 4 4
      5:4   5:4                   
Vn. 1      
 
 
  



  
 pp p  p pp
5:4
pp 5:4 pp5:4 5:4 5:4
p p pp p 5:4
pp 5:4 pp
5:4 5:4 5:4 5:4
p
       
                           
Vn. 2
   
p pp pp p p pp p pp pp p p pp pp p
Va.          
 

Vc.
          

accel.
173
5 3 6 4 6 4
4 4 4 4 4 4
      
tasto + 1/2 scratch
 trans.    
Vn. 1 
 mp mp
pp p p
      tasto + 1/2 scratch trans.
Vn. 2           

pp p p mp mp
trans.
Va.        
mp
trans.

Vc.
           
mp

/ Akasha 6 Baa
 = 126
183
3 4 5 3 4 
4 4 4

4            
                                                                    
pos. ord. 4                                 
 
scratch moltiss.
Vn. 1         
f ff 14:8 12:8 6:4 11:8 6:4 12:8 14:8 7:4
                        
    
                                               
pos. ord.
                                     
scratch moltiss.
Vn. 2             
f ff 12:8 6:4 11:8 6:4 12:8 14:8 7:4 14:8
  
                                                             
                                                
pos. ord.

    
scratch moltiss.
Va.        
f ff 11:8 6:4 12:8 14:8 7:4 14:8 14:8
  

                                  
pos. ord.                                                                       

scratch moltiss.
Vc.
          
  
f ff 6:4 11:8 6:4 12:8 14:8 7:4 14:8 14:8

 = 55  = 126
191
5    4        
6 6 x6
4                                         4                        4 4    
                                             
leggieriss.
  


Vn. 1         
14:8 14:8 11:8 6:4
fff pp 18:12 16:12
                        
                                     
            
                 
                   
leggieriss.

Vn. 2          
14:8 11:8 6:4 12:8 6:4
fff pp 16:12 9:6
 
             
                                                 
                 
leggieriss.
                

OB + terminate abruptly
Va.       
mf
  
pp
 fff
11:8 6:4 12:8 6:4 11:8 6:4 15:12 10:6

                    
                                                    
                                   
leggieriss.

    
  
Vc.

pp
14:8 11:8 6:4 12:8 6:4 11:8
fff 15:12

 = 55  = 126  = 44
198
6 7 G 3 6 9 4 8
          8                      8
                    
4 8                        8 8 8


tasto + 1/4 scratch    trans.
  
tasto
Vn. 1      
pp 14:8 10:6 6:4 11:8 10:6 18:12 f mf mf
trans. trans.

tasto + scratch moltiss. 1/4 scratch tasto


      
 
Vn. 2

ff f f mf mf

tasto + scratch moltiss.

trans.
 trans.
  mf  
OB + terminate abruptly 1/4 scratch tasto
Va. 
ff f f mf mf
trans. trans.


tasto + scratch moltiss. 1/4 scratch tasto
Vc.
      
ff f f mf mf
/ Akasha 7 Baa
accel.  = 89  = 89  = 44  = 55
208
3 4 8 9 4 3 4 H 5 3 3 4
8 8 8 8 8 8 4 4 4 4 4
trans.
 
  
 
     XFB
 flaut.   
XFB flaut.

FB


Vn. 1           
p p pp ppp p ppp
trans.
XFB flaut.  


FB XFB flaut.
   
Vn. 2                    
p p pp ppp p ppp
tasto

 
FB trans.
   
XFB flaut.

OB
 
9:8


Va.
p mf 
p pp
mp pp
trans.      
XFB flaut.
    tasto
9:8


FB XFB flaut.

Vc.
         
 p   
p p pp ppp ppp mp pp

 = 89  = 55  = 89
224
6 I 4 6 4 5 3 4
4 4 4 4 4 4 4

  vib. moltiss. senza vib. vib. moltiss.
pos. ord. + senza vib trans.
      
OB


              
Vn. 1 
sfp f sfp f ppp
pos. ord. + senza vib


vib. moltiss. senza vib. vib. moltiss. senza vib. vib. moltiss.
Vn. 2 
       
sfp f sfp f sfp f
trans. 3/4OB trans.
                 
OB
pos. ord. + senza vib vib. moltiss.
Va. 
                                      
sfp f ppp
pos. ord. + senza vib


vib. moltiss. senza vib. vib. moltiss. senza vib. vib. moltiss.
Vc.

   
sfp f sfp f sfp f

 = 55  = 89  = 55
235
5 3 4 6 4 6
4 4 4 4 4 4
trans. 1/2OB trans. XP
                     
3/4OB
XP + FB
Vn. 1                                           
ppp
OB trans. 3/4OB trans. XP


                   XP + FB
Vn. 2 
                                     
ppp trans. 1/4OB trans. XP ppp
                    
1/2OB
XP + FB
Va. 
                                         
OB XP ppp


senza vib. vib. moltiss.




           XP + FB
Vc.

                      
sfp f ppp ppp

/ Akasha 8 Baa
 = 126  = 55  = 89  = 55
245
3 4 5 3 3 4 5 6
        
leggieriss.
   
                                                          
4 4 pos. ord. 4   4 4 4 4 4
  
 XP + FB tasto + FB trans. tasto + 1/2 scratch
Vn. 1       
      

mp ppp 14:8 12:8 6:4 11:8 6:4 ppp mp p ppp mp
 trans.

XP + FB tasto + FB tasto + 1/2 scratch


Vn. 2         

mp ppp mp p ppp mp
trans.

XP + FB
    
tasto + FB tasto + 1/2 scratch
Va.   
 
mp ppp mp p ppp mp
        trans.


XP + FB tasto + FB tasto + 1/2 scratch


Vc.

p  
mp ppp mp ppp mp

 = 44
rit.  = 44  = 44
256
4 6 4 6 4 K 8 9
4 4 4 J 4
scratch moltiss. 8 8 8
 
terminate each note abruptly
 4:6 4:6
trans. tasto + 1 click/3-4 sec.

scratch moltiss.
Vn. 1             
mp mf ff ff
scratch moltiss.
terminate each note abruptly
trans. scratch moltiss. 5:6 7:6 tasto + 1 click/3-4 sec.
Vn. 2                  
       ff
mp mf

ff
trans.


scratch moltiss. tasto + 1 click/3-4 sec.


Va. 
       
mp mf ff
scratch moltiss.
terminate each note abruptly
trans. 3:4 5:6


scratch moltiss. tasto + 1 click/3-4 sec.


       
Vc.

    ff  
mp mf ff

268
3 4 3 6 7 4 3 7 3 6 7 9 4
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
  trans. 
1 click/1-2 sec.
trans.
1-2 clicks/sec.
 trans. 
scratch moltiss.
trans. 
Vn. 1 
ff
trans. 1 click/1-2 sec. trans. 1-2 clicks/sec. trans. scratch moltiss. trans.
Vn. 2                  
ff
trans. 1 click/1-2 sec. trans. 1-2 clicks/sec. trans. scratch moltiss. trans.
Va. 
                
ff
trans. trans. trans. trans.

1 click/1-2 sec. 1-2 clicks/sec. scratch moltiss.
Vc.

     
ff

/ Akasha 9 Baa
283
8 9 7 3 6 9 4 8 3 4 8
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 x6 8 8

   trans.  trans.   vib. moltiss.  pos. ord. + senza
vib XP
1/2 scratch pos. ord.

Vn. 1 
ff fff sffp fff
1/2 scratch trans. pos. ord. trans. vib. moltiss. pos. ord. + senza vib XP
Vn. 2                
ff fff sffp fff
1/2 scratch trans. pos. ord. trans. vib. moltiss. pos. ord. + senza vib XP
Va. 
              
ff fff sffp fff
trans. trans. pos. ord. + senza vib

1/2 scratch pos. ord. vib. moltiss. XP
Vc.

       
ff fff sffp fff

297
9 4 3 6 7 7 3 4 3 6 7
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
 
  XP  pos. ord.  XP pos. ord.   
pos. ord. XP pos. ord. XT

Vn. 1 
fff p sffp fff fff p sffp pp
XP pos. ord. pos. ord. XP XP pos. ord. pos. ord. XT
Vn. 2           
fff p sffp fff fff p sffp pp
  
pos. ord. + 7/A2(IV)
XP pos. ord. pos. ord. XP XP pos. ord. pos. ord. XT
Va.  
          sffp
fff p sffp fff fff p sffp pp

pos. ord. + 11/A1(IV)


pos. ord. pos. ord.
  
XP pos. ord. XP XP pos. ord. XT
Vc.
 
      sffp
fff p sffp fff fff p sffp pp

rit.  = 38
314
4 8 9 7 3 6 7 9 4 8 9 4
8 8 8 8 8 x6 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
pos. ord. + 9/A4(II)  8va
pos. ord. pos. ord.
     
8va XP XP pos. ord. XP

  
Vn. 1 
sffp f sf fff fff f sffp fff
pos. ord. + 5/A4(II) 8va
pos. ord. pos. ord.
 XP   XP
XP 
8va pos. ord.

                 
Vn. 2 
sffp f sf fff fff f sffp fff
pos. ord. pos. ord.
     
XP XP pos. ord. XP

                
Va. 
f sf fff fff f sffp fff
pos. ord. pos. ord.
    
XP pos. ord.


XP XP
     
Vc.

f sf fff fff f sffp fff
/ Akasha 10 Baa
 = 55  = 55
328
3 9 4 8 4 L 6 6 3 5 M 3
8 8 8 8 4 4 4 4 4 4
 
8va
 





Vn. 1 

8va

       
Vn. 2 




 
      


 
OB + terminate each note abruptly
Va.  mf



trans.
     


pos. ord. + vib. poco

Vc.

    
pp ppp

accel.  = 89
342
4 5 3 6 4 6
4 4 4 4 4 4



tasto + XFB trans.


Vn. 1        
pp
trans.



tasto + XFB
Vn. 2 
      
pp
trans.



tasto + XFB
Va. 
      
pp


vib. moltiss. vib. poco.

Vc.

         
ff pp

rit.
353
3 4 5 3 4 5 6 4
4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
 pos. ord. + XFB trans. pont. + XFB trans. XP + XFB trans. XP trans. 1/3OB
Vn. 1              

pos. ord. + XFB trans. pont. + XFB trans. XP + XFB trans. XP trans. 1/3OB
Vn. 2 
            
pos. ord. + XFB trans. pont. + XFB trans. XP + XFB trans. XP trans. 1/3OB
Va. 
            

Vc.

            
pp

/ Akasha 11 Baa
 = 89
 = 44
364
6 4 3 N4 7 3 6 9 4
4 4 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
 full bow strokes
 trans. trans.
   
2/3OB OB (no pitch) terminate each note abruptly
Vn. 1           
mf
trans. trans.







2/3OB OB (no pitch)

Vn. 2  
   
full bow strokes
trans. trans.
   
2/3OB OB (no pitch) terminate each note abruptly
Va.       
    mf
full bow strokes





   
terminate each note abruptly
     
Vc.

mf

378
8 6 7 3 8 9 4 3
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
Vn. 1 
     


  
leggieriss.
     
Vn. 2         
         
pp
9:8 9:8 9:8

Va. 
     


Vc. 
     


389
4 8 9
8 8 8




Vn. 1 

Vn. 2      

Va. 


Vc.

Cambridge, MA; Dallas, TX; Madison, WI
Oct. - Dec. 2015

/ Akasha 12 Baa
AWN-016 Scores available from the composer at www.trevorbaca.com $60 / e54