Cognate Canons (1993)

James Tenney

string quartet, and percussion

Program Notes

The “cognates” in the piece are pairs of sound-configurations: one played by the percussionist, the other by the string quartet. The composer treats both equally to make canonic relationships via different modes of sound production. The work contains 13 overlapping canons, all involving different tempos between the two voices. For those not too tired to follow along, here are the relative tempos in order of appearance: 3:4, 4:5, 3:4, 2:3, 3:4, 4:5, and 3:4. Fittingly, Tenney dedicated the work to composer Conlon Nancarrow, who often created canonic pieces using simultaneous multiple tempos. Copyright © 2007 by The Carnegie Hall Corporation