PRANA is an attempt at making music on timescales that surpass the normal idea of what a musical time-scale is. The one-hour Zoom performance in this video, recorded in May 2021 by the "So Wrong It's Right" Trombone Quartet showcases a minimal first excerpt of what Prana could be - it is, in principle, possible to create much longer and slower performances.
PRANA is a networked, generative comprovisation score for four instruments able to play wide-ranging, controlled and slow glissandi. The word “prana” is a concept from yoga theory. It describes our relationship to the flow of energy around us - which in this piece is realized through breathing.
In performing this work, four musicians first coordinate their breathing and perform the piece counting their coordinated breaths. Starting from a conventional harmonic chord, each musician is asked to glide upwards or downwards in a controlled manner, using prescribed types of glissando and timbre. They thus slowly explore a rich microtonal landscape. After a given number of breaths, all musicians should arrive at a new chord and stay there for a certain number of breaths – and then leave again to their next pitch. Their progress is monitored and guided by a generative score that provides the target pitches for the glissandi and the type and timbre of glissando to use – as well as the time this slow glissando should take.(measured in breaths).
This piece demands intense focus and a group of musicians who can breathe in sync with each other for a long time even while performing difficult actions with their instruments. If performed well, it will result in an intensely meditative experience for audience and musicians alike, an invocation of the energy that connects these four lives while they play with each other.