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The Glass Bead Game

 It was perhaps only natural that he should have constructed a frame, modeled on a child’s abacus, a frame with several dozen wires on which could be strung glass beads of various sizes, shapes, and colors. The wires corresponded to the lines of the musical staff, the beads to the time-values of the notes, and so on. In this way he could represent with beads musical quotations or invented themes, could alter, transpose, and develop them, change them and set them in counterpoint to one another. In technical terms this was a mere plaything.

 A characteristic feature in the Game's history was that it was constantly preferred, used, and further elaborated by whatever branch of learning happened to be experiencing a period of high development or a renaissance. The mathematicians brought the Game to a high degree of flexibility and capacity for sublimation, so that it began to acquire something approaching a consciousness of itself and its possibilities. This process paralleled the general evolution of cultural consciousness.

It represented a symbolic form of seeking for perfection, a sublime alchemy, an approach to that Mind which beyond all images and multiplicities is one within itself -- the symbols and formulas of the Glass Bead Game combined structurally, musically, and philosophically within the framework of a universal language, were nourished by all the sciences and arts, and strove in play to achieve perfection, pure being, the fullness of reality. Thus, "realizing" was a favorite expression among the players. They considered their Games a path from Becoming to Being, from potentiality to reality.

    Magister Ludi—The Glass Bead Game - Hermann Hesse



Recursive enumeration is a process in which new things emerge from old things by fixed rules. . . . It might seem that recursively defined sequences of that type possess some sort of inherently increasing complexity of behavior, so that the further out you go, the less predictable they get. This kind of thought carried a little further suggests that suitably complicated recursive systems might be strong enough to break out of any predetermined patterns. And isn't this one of the defining properties of intelligence?

    Gödel, Escher, Bach An Eternal Golden Braid - D. R. Hofstadter


it’s the future. It’s the future for music. It’s the future for performing music. It’s the future for writing music. It’s the future for listening to music. All of our futures in music are involved with recording. It’s as simple as that, and as complicated as that.”

    Glenn Gould


Bandmate to Frank:  “Frank!… where did you learn all this stuff?”   

Zappa:  “Oh… I went to the library.”




Many thanks to Martin Gotfrit for offering support at the crucial moment for the work to be brought to fruition. “I get by with a little help from my friends.”  

Appreciation is also given to Baba Shankar Barua for his support over the years in providing a playground and meeting place in India for sharing the work as it evolved in a dynamic and supportive community of creatives.

Rosa Verhoeve for her sparkling presence, her feeling and thinking eye, and the images that grace this project and make it a thing of visual beauty.

Jeannette Angel who was there at the moment the calyx first revealed its wonders. 

Aleksandra Dulic who provided the garret in which the work took its final bloom.

Kathryn Thompson for the unexpected inspiration to create something new.


Antonin Artaud         Claude Debussy            George E. Lewis     Pauline Oliveros

Bela Bartok              Pak I Made Gerindem    Gyorgy Ligeti         Maurice Ravel

The Beatles              Glenn Gould                 George Martin        Rahayu Suppangah

Leonard Bernstein    Keith Jarrett                Charles Mingus       Pak Wasitodiningrat

John Coltrane           Susanne K. Langer       Marvin Minsky        Anton Webern

Ram Das                   Otto Laske                   Per Norgard           Frank Zappa


For Ashlan, Tara, and River.