No Two Breaths

violin, marimba, and percussion quartet

Most of my music has its beginnings in physical images. When I try to convey the ideas I am working with to friends and colleagues, I find myself contorting into a dance or pose long before I can form complete sentences on the topic. Recently the physicality of the music has been extreme, muscular and extroverted but No Two Breaths is a departure. The images that enabled me to begin were indeed physical but more inward – metabolic rather than athletic. Eventually the piece does bubble up to skin level; the arms begin to move but the feet stop short of dancing.

The title was taken from a quote by the Indian singer Pandit Parnath. He said, ‘No two breaths are the same’. In order to verify this, I focused on my breathing. The resulting trance sounded like the beginning of this piece.

– Steven Mackey