see me (tuba and fixed media)
Long before I figured out my own gender (but well after the world around me decided they were sure of it), I, like many others who were expected to be girls, was subject to an ever-increasing barrage of gendered slogans. “Making HERstory!” “Yes SHE can!” “If she can SEE it, she can BE it!” And while the purpose of these phrases was always clear, the more I realized I was uncomfortable in the gender identity society demanded I inhabit full-time, they began to feel more like restraints than freedom. Where were the other people who felt like me? And how would I ever find them when a sea of women—mostly white, dyadic, abled, allocishet women—were being paraded before me as the ultimate role models?
It took four years after I first said “I think I’m probably genderfluid” to come out confidently and publicly, and it wasn’t until I connected with lots of other genderqueer people that I was able to see the truth of my identity as something that I didn’t have to hide from for fear that it would make me inherently less. Even still, I’d be lying to you if I said I no longer have to deal with large swaths of people who push womanhood onto me or decide that non-woman marginalized genders are appropriately represented as an afterthought. The music community is no exception; even today, it’s rare to see cisgender musicians discuss or highlight trans artists in a way that doesn’t miscategorize, disrespect, or misgender at least some of us.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, anytime I get to work with other genderqueer musicians, it’s a special experience. And when Steph Frye-Clark came to me asking for a love song reminiscent of the one I wrote my own partner in 2020, I was exuberant—and creating see me using Steph’s words and voice alongside my music has allowed me to lean once again into trans joy, uncertainty, and love. We couldn’t see it when we were finding ourselves, but we found a way to be it, so let this stand as a record for our genderqueer siblings both present and future:
WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY.
Run time: 7’05” (including the five-second silence)
Notes to the performer (excerpts):
see me includes five seconds of silence built into the start of the track (and included in all timecodes) to facilitate stopwatch coordination. Push start on your stopwatch when you push play on the track and you’re all set!
Throughout the piece, double bar lines appear with fermatas over them. This indicates that you’ve reached the end of that section and should wait until the next listed timecode to begin the next passage.
Some narration cues have been provided to help you sync up with the fixed media. Don’t stress if you’re a little off.
In various parts of the score, I have included supplementary expression text that at times can be rather vague. I like invoking feelings and letting my performers respond and react! Your interpretation of “briefly shining” or other text that appears may be slightly different every time. That continual journey of discovery and re-discovery is an important part of the piece.
If you as the performer run into range constraints (be they high or low), feel free to move passages that are uncomfortably extreme into a safer register. Your wellbeing comes first, always.
If you are performing this work in a jurisdiction with legislation akin to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” currently active (or in other queer-hostile places, regardless of legislation), please feel free to get in touch using the methods below. I’d love to support you however I can.
(full notes available in the score)
Perusal score coming soon!
Frequently asked: How should I write the name of this piece in programs/posts/etc.?
Answer: In all lowercase (“see me”). This song is intentionally not written with Capital Letter Energy; please honor that by writing it as I’ve written it for your programs and other media.
May I include the text of the narration in my program?
Answer: Yes! All we ask is that you do not edit it. That includes line breaks and punctuation!
What piece is the 2020 work referenced in the program notes?
That’d be dreamer//precipice. Listen to it on Bandcamp here, and request a performance license here.
Got one I’m missing? Let me know!
- 4/15/2023, Steph Frye-Clark, Eastern Tennessee State University. Click here to watch Steph’s livestream (7:30pm Eastern start time).
- [project info redacted], check back for more details as they’re available!