Descants is a series of pieces for solo instruments in natural environments. ‘Natural’, in my meaning, includes human- made environments, eschewing any artificial distinction between humans and the rest of the environment. The composed music is intended to become a part of the natural soundscape, not foregrounded or separated from the natural sounds around it.
Descants 1 consists of twelve short pieces for shō and u. It is structured around the pre-modern Japanese way of counting hours, in which the day was divided up into six equal daylight hours and six equal nighttime hours, each named for an animal from the Chinese zodiac. The length of each ‘hour’ would, naturally, be slightly different every day, and the daylight and nighttime hours would only be the same length on equinoxes. In Descants 1, each movement is played at the start of each hour, a complete performance taking 24 hours.