Untitled (Sand Fountain)

ENS.2006.2 | 5′
Written for Music for the People
Flute, Violin, Cello


Untitled (Sand Fountain)

Performed by Music for the People

Composed for violinist William Harvey’s Cultures In Harmony and premiered in Zimbabwe, this piece takes its inspiration from music of the mbira, the African thumb piano. In the end, however, although it uses interlocking parts and emphasizes a diatonic scale related to certain African scales, Untitled (Sand Fountain) ended up just being a normal Eric Shanfield algorithmic composition, only a bit shorter than usual.

The title refers to any of the individual boxes in the artist Joseph Cornell’s Sand Fountain series, and was chosen because the composition too is made out of small boxes, and was premiered in Africa, which is sandy in places.

Scored for flute, violin, and cello, near the end the strings put their instruments down and clap a classic African three-against-four rhythm, and at the premiere the Zimbabwean children in the audience began to clap along in perfect time! Do you have any idea how long it took me to learn how to do that?