The music of “Distance Music at Lake Eola for Walking Audience, 2 Brass Choirs, Bell, and 7 Remote Controlled Train Horns”

I deliberately composed the accompaniment music for “Distance Music at Lake Eola” to be as mainstream and easy-to-understand-as-possible in order that the real focus be on Distance Organ timing and sounds. The music that came  from my 28 brass and percussionists provided harmonic direction, phrase and melodic interaction, organized into three movements:

Distance Music at Lake Eola I. Fanfare

I. Fanfare 1 minute

Originally composed for the two trumpet sections to play from atop nearby buildings, this movement was designed to 1. properly introduce the beginning of the event in a jubilant, general-audience manner and 2. “teach/introduce” the concept of Distance Music through a demonstration within the music.

distancemusic3shared constant quarter note on an open Perfect 5th interval from two train horns located side by side in the middle of the lake open the piece. The surrounding brass groups develop the idea of the perfect 5th into an antiphonal fanfare during which the swan boats move apart, continuing to play on the beat. From the audience’s perspective, the open 5th dyad from the boats will gradually split into two separated notes outlining the interval; the farther apart the boats become, the more time develops between the two notes. This experience teaches the watching and listening audience the scientific principle primary to Distance Music: that sounds from more distant sources arrive later.

By the end of the Fanfare, boats reach their primary positions at the end of the fanfare, all seven of which are spaced on the intersects of three sets of virtual concentric circles. The largest set of circles are spaced at intervals of 141ft  from east to west that begin and end with a point near the walking path. Two other radii are centered near the walking path. All four of these points are identified with large signs.

Distance Music at Lake Eola II. Parallax Music

II. Parallax Music

The second movement was to be the “real” Distance Music composition oeuvre,  with all seven horns playing passages consisting of tutti, simultaneous, staccato toots from this primary boat position geometry. Resultant melodies would coalesce into rhythmically unique metric statements at every point on the audience path around Lake Eola; and coalescing into metrically coherent music at the four signed locations. With every step the walking audience takes, the distances between their ears and each horn would change thus resulting in a similar variation in timing due to the constant speed of sound. All seven horns would be heard, but in a different order and timing sequence at every point. The audience could explore the spatial musical fabric by moving backwards, forwards or side to side. Signed positions will manifest into a series of seven syncopated 16th notes at 120bpm (common time), since 141 feet intervals will result a 125ms period.  The melodies, comparing the result from West One to East One would be in exact retrograde of each other, simultaneously. Shore locations at the radii of horn-placement circles would result in a chord. Throughout the movement, the brass provide an accompaniment with changing harmonies and traded melodic fragments.

One of the most interesting experiences will be listening to the music slowly evolve when moving away from or towards a metrically organized (signed) location. Distance music is audible geometry! A sonic sculpture!

A mock-up of the “Parallax” from the West One Position


A mock-up of the “Parallax” from the West Two Position


A mock-up of the “Parallax” from the East One Position


A mock-up of the “Parallax” from the East Two Position



Distance Music at Lake Eola III. Finale cover

III. FinaleDistance Music Lake Eola 06 7 Swans a Sailing

The last movement was composed to ‘show off’ the virtuosity of the Distance Organ in regards to speed. All boats navigated to a new position at a point late in the previous movement, to line up, facing their horns to the southern shore (where most of the audience was supposed to be) from a north central spot on the lake. In this position, the instrument would behave in a traditional mode since all boats were close enough not to create timing differences between them when playing together.  The movement was scored to create a ‘wow’ factor with a fast 6/8 lope and a train horn melody that would be nearly impossible to play by a human being – but possible with the technology and machinery on the lake.


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