Isolation Canon was written a million years ago in March 2020, for Cal Poly Pomona’s New Music Ensemble. Originally, it was designed to be played using software (Reaper/Ninjam) that creates a fixed latency between geographically distant performers, allowing them to “jam” together in real time. Usually this is used with regular, repeating chord progressions, but it occurred to me that this could also be used for canons and other imitative forms. Isolation Canon is one such piece, in which multiple performers all play the same part, which then unfolds into 3-part harmony.
The vocal part also has an optional text by my partner, Amanda K. Davidson. A line from her writing had been stuck in my head for many months: “For a long time it was just me.” During the pandemic this line took on new resonances that I could no longer ignore.
Isolation Canon can be played by any combination of 3 or more pitched instruments in any octave. Octave displacements of individual notes or sections are also okay, as long as the general shape of the melody is maintained. Performers who need to breathe can breathe as needed. Articulation should be legato throughout.