Quartet Movement | 2016

Quartet Movement is a 12-minute work for string quartet and resonating snare drums. The music is quiet and built primarily of cadences, silences, and repeated gestures. Each drumhead is activated by a transducer speaker. 

It is the first part of a larger collaboration with Chicago-based Spektral Quartet, the entirety of which will premiere in the Spring of 2019. 

More information about the work can be found here


String quartet with resonating snare drums



Technical Requirements:

Spetkral Quartet @ National Sawdust, April 2017. Photo by Steve Smith.

Spetkral Quartet @ National Sawdust, April 2017. Photo by Steve Smith.

• iPad equipped with SAMPL app
• 2 small transducers speaker
• 1 small 2 channel amplifier (40w)
• very light amplification (optional)


"A quieter kind of “experiment” followed in Samuel Adams’s Quartet Movement for string quartet and three snare drums, composed last year amid the press of Adams’s duties as composer-in-residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The drums lay on their sides on the stage and were activated electronically by small loudspeakers, producing a variety of ambient sounds—a surf-like throb, an undulating haze, an astringent hiss—for the piece’s six brief sections.

Each section began with the same down-up violin phrase, then went on to explore acoustical effects, such as notes going slowly in and out of unison to produce shimmering “beats,” and rhythmic suggestions, culminating in an active, finale-like closing section and a fadeout for the drums alone. The quartet brought the same fierce concentration and attention to detail to this gentle piece as it had to the dramatics of the Lewis work."

David Wright, New York Classical Review