By Steve Forman

TV cues
Film cues
Compositions for Dance
Instrumental Solos
Ensemble Works
Strings, Chamber Orchestra
Symphony Orchestra
• Wind Orchestra

New Work: Inner Weather
for Wind Orchestra and Percussion

Percussion Music forTelevison
Click a title to listen.
Percussion Beds for TV cues for "Buffy the Vampre Slayer"- Composer: Chris Beck:.
Hard to define this complex chase cue,
it's kind of a S.E .Asian Nightmare March..
...or something.. Chase4...
More TV stuff- odd cues from the Survivor series
Percussion Music for Motion Pictures
Spooky movie stuff. This from the film "Breakdown":.
"Don't Turn Around...".
Here's just the percussion track for a cue from the movie "Jeremiah" scored by Bruce Broughton:.
Music for Dance Performances

Music modled the glass sculptures of Dale Chuihuly
1- "Glass"
4- "Light "

"Tarantula" An excerpt from "A Little Wilderness",
a suite for young dancers:.
"Outside In", one of two collaborations with choreographer Alison Rootberg in 2006. While This work is completly assembled in Digital Performer and Pro-tools all the sounds are organic, sampled and programmed specifically for this piece. A lot of signal bending here.. Also with Alison Rootberg: "I Love You! - Goodbye!", a major performance piece for dance utilizing live musician/dancers, pre-recorded elements and video. The entire work is over forty minutes- this is a 5 minute promo with excerpts from many of the scenes.
Music for Solo Instruments
"Still Life", Three Dreams for Solo Harp. 2009
Perfomed by Hannah Phiilips, May 31, 2009

This music is a manifestation of three recurring dreams, or perhaps memories, of a year I spent living alone in a house far too large and far too quiet for any one soul to inhabit.  “Still Life” was my condition there, a place and state I’d created for myself, however inadvertently.  I know that sometimes I must have been very busy, working obsessively in my studio; I cobbled together a skip-load of stuff I’ll probably never look back at again. What I remember is the opposite; time suspended, an uncanny limbo, dead-calm afternoons and interminable nights so slow I would forget to breath.  I remember a stray grey cat that sat for hours on end at my kitchen door yet never once came inside, though I left the door ajar for most of that year.  Finally, reluctantly, I invited other people to move in and share that house, and everything loosened up for me, lightened up, and moved forward.

  I am in love with the harp. It's the magician’s trunk, the alchemist’s laboratory of musical instruments. capable of translating  arcane formulae of puzzles and poetry into impossibly lucid, beautiful expressions. With a collection of only seven fundamental notes it somehow produces dazzling chromatic effects no other instrument could hope to approach, resolving absurdly complex dissonant harmonic structures into elegant sonorities. 

I'm very pleased to post this beautiful performance by harpist Hannah Phillips, who premiered this work in Glasgow, May 2009.
"Too Much House" 2005, unaccompanied Tuba
"Mostly Moon Dust" 2007 For solo Percussion
Commissioned and premiered Nick Terry
"The woman who lived here
planted a garden of promises
that bloomed and quietly died.
Nobody lives here anymore.
Time and rain have overrun
the careful beds and trellises
which hope and ancient roses
used to climb. For all I know
flagstone pathways still meander
beneath the overgrowth, but
what you see today is mostly
moon dust. An anarchy
of invertebrate scavengers
absconded with the best
of her intentions
some time ago."
"Cryptanalysis" 2009, Solo Percussion
cryptanalysis |?kript??nal?s?s|
the art or process of deciphering coded messages without being told the key.

This is a very challenging recital piece, a sort of 'duet' for one player who runs through
a series of variations in the prcess of 'deciphering' a coded communiqué embedded
in a layered matrix for marimba and vibraphone -with a few non-pitched percussion
'punctuations' thrown in to further obsure the code.
Composed in the summer of 2009, "Cryptanalysis" is to date unperformed. The
reference score can be downloaded here: Cryptanalysis Score

"Franz Boas in Brooklyn" for Solo 'Cello
Paddy Johnson, Glasgow 2007 (1st performance)
Franz Boas (1858-1942), regarded as the "Father of Cultural Anthropology", had by 1895 unsettled  prevalent assumptions of European “armchair anthropologists” insisting that conclusions  be drawn from actual field studies rather that theological predispositions. Boas spent 41 years as the first Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University and Curator of Ethnology and Somatology at the American Museum of Natural History, presenting electrifying lectures and revelations based on his own field work among the Northwest Coastal America Indians, inspiring many students who would go on to create cultural conflagrations of their own. These included Margaret Mead who set out in 1925 to do her sensational research in Polynesia, and Nora Thurston Zeale who became key a figure in the Harlem Renaissance, along with poet and playwright Langston Hughes. When Hughes met Zeale she was enrolled at Columbia and working for Boas in Brooklyn and Harlem, stopping startled pedestrians to measure their skulls with a huge pair of calipers.
This ‘cello piece stems from my imagining Franz Boas and Nora Thurston Zeale rampaging around New York in the fervor of the 20’s, applying the principals of cultural relativism to their own society, doing the field work in their own backyard.
Nora Thurston Zeale
Franz Boas
"Etude" for Piano

This little study focuses on three applied piano techniques:
1.    Various possibilities for contrast afforded by the sustain
 and sostenuto pedals and physically held notes.
 2.    Rapid repetitions of a single note at a relatively quiet
3.     Wide interval arpeggios including several held chords spanning a 10th.
     Unlike most of my music, "Etude" is essentially
a-rhythmic, to be played very freely according to the
performer's interpretation.   The proportional notation only
"implies” an approximate tempo and the timing and spaces
between relative passages is left to the player's preference. 
  Download the score and try it yourself.

Music for Ensembles
"Up So Floating" 2005, for Woodwinds and Cello
Unapologetically tonal, this nostalgic music is inspired by the Saturday Evening Post covers of Norman Rockwell, and the E.E. Cummings poem "anyone lived in a pretty how town"

"Three Chances, Part One" for four Percussionits 2005
This quartet was selected for performance on the Music Now concert of the Indiana State University Contemporary Music Festival, November 10, 2005, 3pm. The instruments are mostly conventional percussion with a few items from outside the "standard" percussion set including the Mazdafone and a garden weasel.

anyone lived in a pretty how town
e.e. cummings

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars r
"Three Chances, Part Two" for four Percussionits 2005
This part is a canon for standard mallet instruments

"Three Chances, Part Three" for four Percussionits 2005
This focus here is on propriatary instruments; unsusual or one-of-kind things like the Coke Sign, Steel Sheet, and Spoke Tree

"Sloop Dreams" Percussion Ensemble. Glasgow 2008
A response to this letter I got last summer:
"--yes, she's marla's old friend. the woman and her swedish boyfriend, torsten, lived in one of those beach towns between here and san diego. she grew up in seattle, in a family of sailors. she learned to sail when she was about nine years old. torsten grew up in a similar way in sweden and he was a carpenter. he was about ten years younger than her, but they bonded over their obsession with the ocean and he admired her knowledge about maritime history and boat restoration. they lived in a tiny cottage on a hill overlooking the ocean. she illustrated children's books and he did odd jobs and they put every penny they made into rehabbing a very old wooden sailboat. for years, they planned their
trip, one leg of it at a time. she figured they'd pause for short periods in various ports along the way where she'd paint portraits or seascapes in the cabin of the boat and sell them. when they had enough money for food and supplies, they'd move on. it was a very small boat and marla had nightmares about the her two friends, alone, out in the open sea. i know she wondered if, the day they set sail, it might be the last time she'd see them. anyway, they worked on the boat for years and plotted their routes and gathered radio equipment and supplies. and then the relationship went bad and they split up and the trip never happened. it made everyone who knew them incredibly sad for the end of the relationship and for the end of the dream. all their friends had come to feel like they were living the dream vicariously and when it disappeared, everybody suffered and got depressed. but they were relieved too, not having to worry about their friends' deaths at sea anymore. i wish i knew more about them, but that's about it.
"Dont wait up..." Clarinet, Bassoon, Cello, Percussion

“Don’t wait up…” follows the meanderings of an old fellow who, after an evening pursuing the mysteries properties of several  celebrated Islay malts, finds himself somewhat befuddled,  retracing the steps back to a new flat in an unfamiliar neighborhood.  He makes a few wrong turns, encounters several other people in a similar condition, hears and tells a few old jokes, possibly dances with a few strangers in the street—he can’t remember exactly.
Imaginine Buster Keaton mistakenly opening the wrong back alley gate and stumbling into Arnold Schoenberg’s swimming pool, late on a sweltering evening of July 17, 1950.   Keaton, who often walked home after a long shoot, was attempting to take a shortcut through Stravinsky’s garden and knock a half-mile off his journey back to Brentwood.  I like to think they were all neighbors in Los Angeles then, but that might be myth.
"Don’t wait up…” is one of several works written in support of my PhD composition project at the RSAMD in Glasgow which among other ideas incorporates the bodhrán –a frame drum usually associated with traditional Celtic music--in chamber ensembles.  Other works in this series include  “Half Slip” for Chamber Orchestra (Cal Arts 2006)  “The Clydean Coronaries” for Brass, Bagpipe, & Percussion (premiered May 1, at the RSAMD Plug festival.

I am deeply grateful to the following musicians who helped me realize this challenging piece.

Rebecca Humphreys: Clarinet
Graeme Brown:  Bassoon
Robert Anderson: Cello

Steve Forman: Bodhrán and whiskey flask.

"Tonight's Episode-- 'The Crunch'"

Here’s the demo of a work for ICEBREAKER, the UK’s cutting-edge new music pioneers. The Crunch addresses Icebreaker’s interest in Peruvian panpipes and their facility realizing intricate rhythmic structures. Set in an 80’s TV-movie theme style, this erupted out of my past-life as a studio musician and jazz-fusion percussionist.  

The Crunch had its 1st performance by Icebreaker on April 27 at the 2009 RSAMD Plug Festival, Glasgow.

"The Clydean Coronaries"
For Brass, Percussion, and Great Highland Pipes. Glasgow -2008.

Scotland has a dilemma.
  As a consequence of its immersion into the community of international commerce, the proud and robust character of Scottish populace, resplendent with history and tradition, is simultaneously becoming enriched and diluted. 21st century Scotland has emerged as a rapidly evolving technological society, mobile, affluent and wired into the infobahn, embracing an idealized life style and the illusion of a high standard of living.  But relentless global packaging, promoting, marketing and consumption of corporate commodities – particularly tobacco and petroleum --have also created a cultural catastrophe.
In Glasgow, where women suffer the highest heart attack rate in the world (with men the second highest), the regular mixing of indigenous favorites (malts and meats) and commercial consumables (cigarettes, sugars and fast-foods) has taken a terrible toll. Across the country the insatiable industrial demand for energy, together with an increasing economic dependence on tourism, is rapidly obliterating the traditional farming, fishing and crafts so essential to the Scottish cultural identity, and inflicting unprecedented pressures on the delicate ecosystems of the Highlands and Isles.  The austere, pristine beauty of northern lochs and rivers is in jeopardy of irreparable deterioration while movement to address the threat is stilted, embroiled in provincial bickering and political posturing.  Nevertheless people are struggling to reconcile these profoundly inconsistent values and visions of Scotland for tomorrow, and today the heart of the country nonetheless beats reliably; it seems to me its spirit is strong and its future is promising. 
  "The Clydean Coronaries” is a characterization of Glasgow in transition,  of a city searching for consensus.  The thematic material and tonal language is mostly familiar stuff , the brass and bagpipes are written in their perspective vernaculars- there are no “extended techniques”.  The piece is a metaphor for the City Centre mix.  I wanted to celebrate musical icons and structures of both Scottish traditional practice and European orchestral traditions, juxtaposed in a contemporary urban landscape, and suggest ways they might coexist without diminishing their respective integrities. 

I am particularly grateful to pipers Simon McKerrell, who premiered the work,   Barnaby Brown, and to Gordon McPherson,  for their guidance and encouragement.  –--sf

Etic Impressions of Glasgow --2010
Commissioned by Alba Brass with funds provided by the Hope Scott Trust.

First performed on April 29 1010 by the extraordinary Glasgow-based Alba Brass, with a few courageous "traditional"
players borrowed from Glasgow's notorious Treacherous Orchestra, Unplanfares is my very personal take on the city
though expatriate eyes and ears, an amalgamation of melting fanfares, mixed metaphors, mystical insight and hopeless
delusion- all of it unfurling in a variety of incongruous vernaculars awash in whisky and rain.
Confused yet?  Good, you're perfectly prepared.

Music for Strings and Chamber Orchestra
"The River in January"
Glasgow -2008, commissioned for the Scottish Philharmonic Ocrhestra.
A quiet narrative following the structure and tone of Glasgow poet Liz Lockhead’s “The Bargain,” from  “Islands” –1978.   In “The Bargain “ a couple spend an afternoon retracing steps they’ve taken together  may times before.  They are wandering the barras, Glasgow’s historic east-end street market,  ostensibly seeking to acquire a few previously-owned  items and second-hand artifacts, but there are very few surprises waiting for them in the bazaar these days.  Really, they are reviewing the well-worn condition of their own continuing relationship.  “Yes,  today we’re in love aren’t we?”  The poet wraps the question in a statement; a poignant plea for reassurance.  In a series of casual episodes, the music follows the shoppers’ progress,  pausing a occasionally in the stalls to ponder a nostalgic array of whimsical curiosities, or cueing up for samples of excruciatingly sugary deep-fried confections,  all of it uncannily familiar and somehow all in need of repair and redemption.  The conversation seems to surround the price and value of  possibly-collectable objects, like  the pin-stripe waist coat that needs a stitch or the maybe rosewood box -with the broken catch.
But they are bargaining for the thing they’ve brought along with them to the barrahs, and they’ll leave with it, wrapped up in the last lines of the poem:
The raw gets colder,
There doesn’t seem to be a lot to say.
I wish we could either mend things
Or learn to throw them  away.
--Liz Lochhead

"Looking for Harris"
Glasgow -2008, another work commissioned by the Scottish Philharmonic Ocrhestra.
Dedicated to the memory of composer Harris Wulfson.

"I imagined a conversation I might have had, walking one last time with a friend who was considering leaving.  We wandered about his old neighborhood, lingering in the empty park as the August afternoon sun settled into the birch branches, scattering the light in a thousand gold flecks through the venerable wisteria trellises established there long before we were born.   Its summer bloom exhausted, the flowers had fallen, carpeting the pathway in fragrant purple confetti, and an emphatic, incomprehensible logic written in those twisted vines was exposed to us then.  My friend studied structure for some time.  I know he was decoding the moment; something was clearly revealed to him, which I knew I could never unravel or understand.  

   Instead I concentrated on the perfect symmetry of the rosehips intertwined amongst the woody trails, softly praying we might possess such grace and dignity facing our own inevitable transitions,
So on we walked.  I made my best effort to steer the conversation, to reconsider various options though I knew my points were far afield of his true concerns.  I tried to invoke nostalgia; I failed to provoke an argument; finally I simply walked along quietly the rest of the way to the station, and left him to decide for himself the question of his destination.  I think he was smiling at me as I tuned away, though that’s hard to say."
Music for Symphony Orchestra
"Hameward Bend"
Glasgow - 2009. For Full Orchestra, Border Pipes, and Bodhrans.
Commissioned by Donald Shaw for Celtic Connections Festival 2009 "Homecoming Suite"
First perfomance by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, at Glassgow Concert Hall, January 25 2009.

Inspired by  Robert Burns’ "The Cotter's Saturday Night (1785)”

"... The toil-worn Cotter frae his labour goes, -
This night his weekly moil is at an end,
Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes,
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend,
And weary, o'er the moor, his course does hameward bend.... "

This stanza, which ends the poem, appears on the title page of the score:
"O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent,
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content!
And O! may Heaven their simple lives prevent
From luxury's contagion, weak and vile!
Then howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,
A virtuous populace may rise the while,
And stand a wall of fire around their much-lov'd isle.O Thou! who pour'd the patriotic tide,
That stream'd thro' Wallace's undaunted heart,
Who dar'd to nobly stem tyrannic pride,
Or nobly die, the second glorious part:
(The patriot's God peculiarly thou art,
His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward!)
O never, never Scotia's realm desert;
But still the patriot, and the patriot-bard
In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard!

Music for Wind Orchestra
"Inner Weather"
for Wind Orchestra and Percussion

Weather systems flow across the landscape  in cycles, in patterns, predictable to some degree, though on occasion
catching us by surprise and unprepared.  Some days the weather outside is calm and benign, on others the atmosphere
is violent and threatening, possibly dangerous, potentially deadly.  Most days we cope, and tolerate the various
aberrations and inconveniences  knowing that weather is always in transition; even the worst conditions  change
eventually. We take comfort in our clothing, and shelter in our dwellings, and we take some solace in the knowledge
that everyone around us is affected by the same phenomena.

But there are powerful weather systems flowing within us as well, and for each person this inner weather is unique
and generally invisible to others.  Some of us are hardly conscious of our inner weather,  barely aware our private
meteorology, and distracted only by truly inclement internal patterns.   We're usually oblivious when the inner weather
is calm and congenial.   But others of us are more profoundly affected, constantly pummeled and buffeted by raging
internal tempests, frightening firestorms of worry and anxiety, and penetrating freezes of paralyzing insecurity and
indecision.  Some days are delightful and  easy; we feel buoyant, lofted by breezy coincidences, and life seems
effortless, delicious and delirious.   But some day the winds are against us, thwarting our progress, or they fail
completely,   leaving us stymied amid stagnant, dry stretches of isolation and desolation, and everything feels bleak
and meaningless.   For some of us the  inner weather is always extreme, vacillating wildly, and it dominates our

For each of us the inner weather is a continuously evolving manifestation of our experience.   I'm incredibly curious
about the  inner weather churning within the souls of  people in Scotland,  who have always lived under the gloriously
variable external physical weather with which I've only recently come to terms.   My inner weather is still forged by
deserts and valleys of the American Southwest, the imponderable expanse of the Pacific and infinite indifference of the
"Inner Weather" represents one plausible progression of my own internal weather, fashioned after four typical
Southern California weather patterns I lived under for most of my life.  Some are hypothetical, and don't neccessarilly
exist beyond the of limits of my own imagination.  The others are quite real and well documented, and all are intrinsic to
that place.

 I. Earthquake Weather
is a phenomenon that all Californians describe and define differently, yet all of us know the anxiety
and trepidation associated with the certain, fatalistic fact that a devastating earthquake will one day change our lives.
II. Kite Weather
or me, represents an exuberant period of exhilarating possibility;  In kite weather  almost anything
can be induced to fly, anything and everything can work out.

III. Lenticular Clouds
are beautiful, rare, mysterious, and almost always occur as the only clouds in the sky.  Usually they
occur as a single huge cloud or a self contained sequence.  Typically they "stand" in one spot and don't move.  They
require intense amounts of energy and strong winds to form, but they appear to be timeless and inert.   I think of them
as emblematic of those rare emotional states where the moment and the knowledge of the truth is absolute and
unequivocal.    They are meteorological, yet phenomenological, they seem unbelievable but their existence is
unchallengeable; they represent "how things are" and must be accepted as such.   In the my own internal weather, 
lenticular clouds  formed following the Challenger space shuttle catastrophe, the 9/11 attacks, the suicides of three close
friends, and finalization of my divorce. 

IV.  Santa Anas
are fierce, bone-dry winds which occasionally scream over Southern California like banshees out the
northeast.  Under Santa Ana conditions domestic violence, suicide, and spontaneous street crime statistics soar, billboards
and 200' tall palm trees snap like matchsticks and take erratic flight.  The horrific brush fires seen almost every year in
California are driven, and often started by Santa Anas blowing down live power lines in the high desert. 
"It one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair
and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight.
Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen.”
—Raymond Chandler, "Red Wind"

“Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse, and, just as the reliably long and bitter
winters of New England determine the way life is lived there, so the violence and the unpredictability of the
Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability.
The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.”
Joan Didion, "Los Angeles Notebook"

* * * *

"Inner Weather" is the final culminating major work composed for my PhD portfolio.   It is an application of concepts
and techniques drawn from over four years of research into multi-dimensional rhythm systems, including continuously
variable states of synchronicity and elastic compositional structures.
I am very grateful to conductor Bryan Allen and the extraordinary musicians of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music
and Drama Wind Orchestra, who permiered this very cahllengeing work on Feberuary 3rd, 2011.
The recording posted here is of that live performance.

Inner Weather is dedicated to the memory of Basil Poledouris; wind to fill the spinnaker.
* * * *

All works are © Steve Forman, wholly owned and published by Steve Forman. BMI,
and available for performance. Contact Steve Forman for information about performance scores and parts.
Contact Steve Forman at Tambourine Percussion Studio: 471 N. Avenue 51, Highland Park CA. 90042 /E-mail: Steve Forman
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