Rack and Pinion


For solo piano


15 min.




Premiered by
Nicolas Hodges
Nov 24 2018
Lucerne Piano Festival 2018
Lukaskirche, Switzerland

A rack and pinion is a mechanical device where a circular gear (“pinion”) engages teeth on a linear ”gear” bar (”rack”). Rotational motion applied to the pinion causes the rack to move relative to the pinion, thereby translating the rotational motion of the pinion into linear motion.

I translated the mechanism of a rack and pinion into a compositional system that generated the musical material of the work. It is used for example in creating the structure of rhythmic processes, pitches, scales and articulation. Gradual changes within the rotational mechanism result in an evermoving character.

The flow of the music is controlled by linear processes, gradually transforming from one texture to another and from one type of movement to another.

The work consists generally of two types of movement; continuous and abrupt. During the process these two also occasionally intertwine and interact with each other.

The rotational movement is not only a method of permutating the material but can also be perceived while listening to the piece. Furthermore, the work is characterized by a mechanical and machine-like character with restless ascending scales, metallic, harsh sounding harmonies and sharp articulation – all coming back to the mechanical inspiration behind the work.

Past Performances

Nov 24 2018
Nicolas Hodges
Lucerne Piano Festival 2018
Lukaskirche, Switzerland

Sheet Music

Schott Music
Schott Music GmbH & Co. KG
Weihergarten 5
55116 Mainz
+49 6131 246-0