Struck Sound (2002)
piano and percussion

Robert Morris

Program Notes

The title of Struck Sound, written for the Hoffmann/Goldstein Duo, comes from Indian music aesthetics in which "struck" (that is, audible) sound (ahatanada) is contrasted with the source of sound (unstruck sound, anahatanada). Indian influence can also be detected in the use of two rhythmic cycles (talas) that undergird the entire composition. Each cycle is fifteen (3/4) measures long and has special properties that allow it to direct not only local rhythmic pacing, but the flow of the entire work. The two cycles are: 1 1 2 1 3 2 5 and 3 3 1 2 2 1 1 1 1.

The title also identifies a certain formality--perhaps even an air of ritual--in at least the first half of the piece. The second half of Struck Sound is more lively, involving overlays of more quickly moving passages upon the basic structure, which is stated without embellishment in the first half. I thought of these two sections as if one were watching the sea from a beach; the first is a calmer view, the second with many turbulent waves splashing the shore.