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for flute, cello, guitar and percussion (2002)
with 4-channel click tracks
duration is 15′


Polyrhythmicana (2002) for flute, cello, guitar and percussion creates musical structure from the contrapuntal interaction of polyphonic time. Form arises from macro-level geometric relationships applied as rhythmic interplay between the individual instruments. Geometric forms, expressed as poly-tempi between the instruments, create a stratified time-scale.  The performers can precisely follow the constantly changing tempi with the help of a computer program producing independent multi-channel click tracks under one global clock.  The program ensures that while the performers play independently they will arrive at points of coincidence in unison.

Polyrhythmicana is a tribute to American composer Henry Cowell’s exploration of extended rhythmic counterpoint. Cowell wrote two quartets, the Quartet Romantic and Quartet Euphometric(the so-called Rhythm-Harmony Quartets), that he believed to be “unplayable.” His work for Rhythmicon and orchestra, Rhythmicana, was performed only once, at Stanford University by Leland Smith and the Stanford Symphony.


Polyrhythmicana was commissioned by San Diego New Music for Ensemble Noise with partial funding provided by the American Music Center.

Polyrhythmicana (2002)

  • Performance materials include a PDF score and four individual click track audio files.

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