Fits and Starts (1996)

for trombone and electric guitar

View score excerpt.

Fits and Starts was composed at the request of Ekko~, who premiered the piece. The idea grew out of my reacquaintance with the electric guitar. When I took it out of its dusty case after several years of neglect, I discovered lots of quirky figures I liked. Each of these comprised an alternation of just two sounds, many of them incorporating harmonics and out-of-tune unisons between strings. At first it frustrated me that I couldn't manage to combine these figures into longer phrases — with my rusty technique, it was all I could do to play one of them over and over. But then I began to think of building the piece around this limitation. Each passage would focus on just one figure, repeating it either insistently or lazily. The trombone would join in this limited discourse with its own assortment of concentrated figures. The succession of resulting textures would be abrupt, even puzzling.


  • Ekko!, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 10/18/1996