Tension Studies | 2010


About the work:

I composed Tension Studies between the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011 in Brooklyn, NY. They came as a request from my friends Andy and Travis not too long after they decided to create The Living Earth Show. I said 'yes' because I admire their nimble, curious musical minds.

Both studies employ superficial narratives of tension: soft to loud, slow to fast. Within this rigid framework I explore other tensions. Some are concrete: between the strings and tuning pegs of the guitar, equal temperament and microtonality. Some are more abstract: between ambition and failure, awkwardness and extroversion.

I designated the pieces 'studies' because their goals are musical and, particularly in the first study, technical.

I wrote the electronics with a software called Max/MSP. They function primarily to highlight the overtones of the guitar and to transform several samples.

Tension Studies was commissioned by Andrew Meyerson and Travis Andrews.


Electric guitar
Percussion [ vibraph(2), kick dr(2), sizzle cym(2), snare drum, bass drum, brake drum, almgl ] / 2 PERCUSSION VERSION
Percussion [ vibarph, kick, sizzle cym, snare drum, bass drum, brake drum, almgl ]

Technical Requirements:

MOTU 828 audio interface (or equivalent)
laptop equipped with Max/MSP
MIDI foot pedal
amplification of percussion (optional)


 Photo Credit: Sam Haynor

Photo Credit: Sam Haynor

 Photo Credit: Chris Cerrone

Photo Credit: Chris Cerrone

Tension Studies was made possible with the support from the New Music USA Composer Assistance Program.