Tricorder (Three Oboes Dancing)

Burnell, Paul

About the work

The biggest influences on this piece were: a) a multitrack tape recorder, and b) my laziness. I wanted to produce a fairly long and rhythmically interesting piece using as little manuscript paper as possible. So, I developed a series of short phrases or ‘riffs’ and experimented with them by overdubbing them on a multi-track tape recorder. The resulting piece fits on to 3 pages of A4. The piece was originally intended as a piece for 3 oboes with optional percussion. Later, the introduction of a drone implied that the piece might be suitable for a larger mixed ensemble, and it began to sound a little like Steve Reich’s ‘Six Pianos’ First Performance: Pipers 3, Penny Theatre, Canterbury, Nov 1998

Technical notes

Players can transpose at octave if part goes beyond range. Fast tempo. Difficult to maintain ensemble although percussion does help to do this. Minimalist style.


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score & parts


Sample score



7m 00s






3 ob, perc / tape
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