Cat and Mouse 

Joshua Suh, Pomona ’23

Winner of Art Prize
To see associated article, click here.
Medium: Musical Improvization

The problem of definition defined in Part I of Derek’s paper formed the main impetus of the piece. I was attached to this concept of regression and felt that it reminded me of a cat and mouse game. As Derek puts it, in order to define a concept you need to assume some other set of definitions, but what defines those other definitions? As such, there is this constant cat and mouse as you’re chasing towards a definition of a concept yet the words used to define this concept need to be defined themselves and those words need definitions as well, ad infinitum. This piece is a fully improvised saxophone and piano duet that plays a similar game. The saxophone plays a note and the piano plays an accompaniment that harmonically gives that note context (in other words, defining what that note is in relation to a key). The saxophone then moves to a new note, one that needs to be redefined by the piano, and the two instruments are locked in this back and forth until the end of the piece. I encourage listeners to hear how each note the saxophone plays skirts with tension and resolution as the background piano changes contexts.