If a poet knows more about a horse than he does about heaven, he might better stick to the horse, and some day the horse may carry him into heaven.

George Ives, the father great American Composer Charles Ives (1874-1954)

48 Movements

[for snare drum and max/msp/jitter]

composed 2004-2013: 40 minutes


“If a poet knows more about a horse than he does about heaven, he might better stick to the horse, and some day the horse may carry him into heaven.”


George Ives, the father of great American Composer Charles Ives (1874-1954)


This is— I believe— the longest piece for solo snare drum in existence. Bach has his Well-Tempered Clavier, and I have...this.  At age 8 I began my musical life with the snare drum.  While other young musicians of my generation might have been working through Suzuki on the violin, or learning Beatles songs on the guitar, or at least Czerny exercises on the piano,  or maybe singing in a choir, I was just jabbing away at quarter notes and eighth notes on the snare drum— for longer than I care to admit, it was just quarter notes.  Sometimes I can’t believe that I persisted.  But  I must have gotten something out of that, right? 


At some point about 30 years later, following an intensive period of learning about max/msp/jitter software programming, I found that I had many ideas for what could be done with interactive audio/visual software.  I had so many ideas in fact, that all I really needed for the live, on-stage element was a snare drum (albeit with a huge array of implements with which to play it.)   This piece sets out to demonstrate the endless possibilities of this new, uniquely 21st century artistic medium.  It starts out with acoustic and musically abstract movements, and then becomes gradually more theatrical as the computer-generated audio and video begin to play larger roles.  It takes about a half hour for the obvious and traditional approaches to become exhausted, and then things begin to get out of hand.


I’ve posted some video content from the piece, although you don’t get to see what’s happening live onstage.