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    Taos Studio Photos Poetry Trombone Class Miscellaneous




Abbie Conant and William Osborne


Table of Contents

1. General Description

2. The Video (June 3, 2016)

3. PDF Score

4. Audio Files from earlier recordings

5. Commentary on the Compositional Technique of the Work



1. General Description


For solo trombone. (5 minutes)  Premiere: New York - Manhattan School of Music, 1977


“Pond” for solo trombone. We composed this piece in 1976, and now, 40 years later, we have produced a video of it in our Taos studio. At the time of its creation, we were studying Zen Buddhism, and were especially involved with the Zen shakuhachi master Goro Yamaguchi’s 1969 recording entitled “A Bell Ringing In the Empty Sky.” 

To create sounds similar to the shakuhachi, we removed the trombone's F-valve tuning slide so that when the F trigger is pushed, a soft, muted sound goes out the back of the instrument. We also focused on a meditative use of the breath as used by Zen monks when playing the shakuhachi. Our ultimate goal was to create a tone painting of a forest pond we saw and loved at Yale’s Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. We even used multi-phonics to create allusions to the beautiful sounds of bull frogs.

To create the work, we used a system William had formulated to reduce the structures of Beethoven piano sonatas to quasi-algebraic formulas. (See an example in the comments section below.) We took his equations for Beethoven’s Opus 14, No. 1 and filled them with figures emulating the melodies, phrasing, and ornamentation of shakuachi music to portray the Norfolk pond. The result is what you see in the video.


2. The Video




3. PDF Score


To download the score click here.  

(The score and performance rights are free.  We'd love to hear from you if you perform the work.)



4. Audio Files


To download the studio recording click here.  (MP3, 8 MB) 

To download the live recording click here.  (MP3, 8 MB)



5. For a detailed analysis of Pond and our methods of composing it, click here.