on music and beauty

Tag: piano

silence is a looking bird

I composed this short piano piece when I was 16, inspired by ‘silence’, from 95 Poems by e e cummings:





(inquiry before snow

© 1958 e e cummings

Per Iona

Two short piano pieces dedicated to Iona Schloessingk. The first inhabits a vast space, held together by a simple melodic thread. The second explores the harmonic depth of a more articulated melodic line, and provides the model for a later, much larger work for orchestra, Three Variations.




This Study for piano explores fifth-based harmonies and the resonance of the instrument. It is inspired by Alexsandr Skrjabin’s highly original Studies for the piano, and contains a small homage to his Study on the same interval.



Touch represents an experiment in transparent electronics. I wanted to create a performing environment where technology expands, magnifies and projects the musical gestures of the performer. Four identical musical objects are observed from different points of view, each time using a different transformation tool in order to emphasise a different aspect of piano playing: touch, resonance, the harmonic and melodic dimensions.

The performer is completely in control of the technology and external intervention is kept to a minimum. I achieved this by creating an interface that reacts to the nuances of musical performance in a very subtle way. Specific attention has been given to the detection of the attack of the piano sound: the pianist’s touch triggers each time the whole transformation process.

Premiered by Laure Pinsmail in 2002, Recital Hall, Birmingham Conservatoire. Live recording of the performance given by Jonathan Powell in 2005.


This is the latest version of the live electronics of Touch. It has been tested on a MacBook Pro with macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 and Max version 8.1.4

Download the Touch electronics zip archive

Top-level patcher: Touch.maxpat
Electronics tested with Max 8.1.4
Created a Max collective: Touch.mxf

All files, including Touch.maxpat, contained in the Max8 folder.

External dependencies:

  1. tap.shift~
    from TapTools by Timothy Place, version 4 beta 2 26 April 2013
    source: https://github.com/tap/TapTools/releases
  2. iana~ and add_synth~
    by Todor Todoroff, ARTeM (Art, Recherche, Technologie et Musique), maintained by IRCAM, MaxSoundBox version 03-2018
    source: https://forum.ircam.fr/projects/detail/max-sound-box/
  3. bonk~ v1.5
    by Miller Puckette, port by Ted Apel and Barry Threw, 64 bit version by Volker Böhm 22 June 2018
    sources: https://github.com/v7b1/bonk_64bit-version, http://vboehm.net/downloads/
  4. vdb~
    abstractions by Benjamin Thigpen, part of the “bennies” collection, IRCAM Forum distribution
    source: https://forum.ircam.fr



LC, 7 June 2020

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