nicholas cline | music

water-witching (2015/16)

tenor saxophone and electronics

for Jeff Siegfried

solo version

ensemble version


  • SEAMUS National Conference, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN 04/22/2017
  • Society of Composers National Conference, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 04/01/2017
  • Jeff Siegfried, NASA Saxophone Regional Conference, Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, IN 03/02/2017
  • Jeff Siegfried, Fonema Consort Discussion-Concert, Comfort Station, Chicago, IL 07/14/2016
  • Jeff Siegfried, New York Electronic Music Festival, National Sawdust, Brooklyn, NY 06/06/2016
  • Jeff Siegfried, Northwestern University Contemporary Music Ensemble, Evanston, IL 05/20/2016
  • Jeff Siegfried, NUNC! 2, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 11/07/2015

Program Note:

The dowser offers a system of decision-making in which there is no demonstrable connection between the process of seeking and the anticipated outcome. A twitching rod, a swinging pendulum indicates, “dig here.” Often those who turn to this ancient practice of magical divination do so not out of a belief that it will work, but that it must. A dry well is a crisis. “Water witching,” as it is known in rural America, is a way of coping with one’s “environment under conditions of uncertainty and anxiety.” The water witch – like the hydrogeologist – is concerned with imagining underground flows of water. The basic materials of water-witching are saxophone multiphonics: fleeting acoustic phenomena that require subtle control of embouchure, fingering, and air-pressure. They are unstable and unpredictable sonorities that float between harmony and timbre. water-witching wanders through this acoustic terrain. Frictions emerge from this “in-between-ness.” Stillness is filled with tension through the hint of something just below the surface. water-witching was written for and in close collaboration with Jeff Siegfried and is dedicated to my mother and the memory of her father.