Possible Grasp
music for percussion ensemble with 3-6 players
with words by → Ernst Jandl

with 3 players ca. 7 Min. 20 Sec., with 6 players ca. 8 Min. 20 Sec.
composed 2010
→ Download pdf 135 kB


Just as Ernst Jandl's text “Die Kugel” can be understood quite soberly as a description of a physical process, but also in a figurative sense in an emotional, mental or social way, so too can the music that is laid around this text. It uses a total of eleven versions of the elementary form of the canon to condense rhythmic structures, to link tonal contrasts and to form a formal shape. These include a canon with irregular entries (unequal spacing), i.e. with multiple counterpoint (A), a diminution canon (B), as well as an inversion and cancer canon (C), canon D is quite simple and regular. The canons are repeated two (C and D) or three times (A and B), each time with a different sound and sometimes with a different tempo. In the middle is the rhythmic and alternately spoken Jandl text with instrumental accompaniment.
It is of course not unintentional that the canon technique is both a relief for the musicians - one can practice the sequences in unison, one can follow the preceding one, the sequence of short sections gives the possibility for orientation and possibly for correction - and also gives the listener a framework that is easy to see through.
In addition, a number of other views (“accesses”) are possible, which are constructively designed. Thus, the perception of the succession of the different sound worlds of the individual sections can be brought into focus.
It is also possible to focus on the changes between the individual canons, which, due to the structure of the canons that expires and then reappears in succession, each represents a change in reduction, dilution, silence. Finally, the different technique of the canons results in a sequence of different complexities, which can be regarded as the piece's own development.
Thus, the possibilities of understanding the piece itself move into the centre of interest and the listening (and playing) activity is directed towards itself as a possible process of cognition.


the ball

the ball rolls
if it is initiated
or gets on a slippery slope

the ball rolls slower
when the impact loses strength
or the track becomes flatter

the ball comes to a halt
when the force of the impact ceases
or the track has become very flat
or if one edge stops the ball
or a hand picks it up

Ernst Jandl

The poem was taken from the volume "Peter and the Cow", Luchterhand Munich 1996.