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Barnes Dance

for one piano, six hands

Year:  2021   ·  Duration:  9m 45s

Year:  2021
Duration:  9m 45s

David Hamilton

Composer:   David Hamilton

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: pages 1–4 of score

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The term "Barnes Dance" commemorates traffic engineer Henry Barnes. It refers to the traffic flow system where all traffic is stopped at intersections, allowing pedestrians to cross in any direction at the same time. It first appeared in the 1940’s in North America, and its first use in New Zealand was in 1958 in Auckland. It is also sometimes called a ‘pedestrian scramble’ or ‘exclusive pedestrian interval’. It is now widely used internationally.

The title was a starting point, and the music really only suggests this type of pedestrian movement at one point - the climax of the work where music approaches the middle of the keyboard from both ends, effectively crossing over and returning to the outer reaches of the keyboard. At other times ideas approach each other in contrary motion. The piece begins and end gently, with a more active and agitated middle section. A simple rocking melodic idea underpins much of the opening section and reappears towards the end of the work. Much use is made of repetitive ideas within a broadly tonal harmonic scheme.

The scoring continues a series of pieces for the somewhat unusual combination of three pianists on one piano - a way of involving multiple pianists but without the bother of finding a 2nd piano!