An Action Within

An Action Within is a short, contemplative work for two percussionists. It’s title is taken from the following quote by John Cage: “Art should not be different [from] life but an action within life. Like all of life, with its accidents and chances and variety and disorder and momentary beauty.”

Within the work, each player receives their respective tempo from their internal heartbeat. This allows for a rhythmic malleability within each part and ensures that each performance will be slightly different depending on the player, space, and circumstance. Six crotales form the melodic material for the piece, while synthesized crotale sounds from the iPad further enhance the sonic environment created by the bright ringing textures inherent in the work.

Cage also remarks that:

“In Zen they say: If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, try it for eight, sixteen, thirty- two, and so on. Eventually one discovers that it’s not boring at all but very interesting.”

Today – humbly – I offer about four minutes of music for you.

This piece is gratefully dedicated to Mike Truesdell and Keith Aleo.

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Link to score

Link to sketches