Timbre

What does Crumb's music sound like? At first hearing, one is immediately aware of unusual combinations of instruments, of startling sonorities individually spaced for maximum effect, of the use of the voice like an instrument, and of the gentle bell sounds of Asiatic music.

 

 

Beyond the instrument combinations and unusual effects played by the performers, timbral possibilities are also evoked by the players from internalized imagery noted by the composer. 

 

As presented below, you can see the evolution of imagery in Crumb's sketchbooks that dictate the feeling of the opening in An Idyll for the Misbegotten.    

 

While these are all relatively similar descriptions, it is important to note Crumb's distinct changes throughout these different sketches. There is a certain, specific emotional attachment he is communicating with the performers of his music. It is important to take all considerations thoughtfully. 

As presented below, you can see the evolution of the tempo indications in An Idyll for the Misbegotten

© 2016 by Kathryn Hendrickson