top of page

Terrain Unknown

Click the icon to view perusal score:

Grade 6
Band + Electronics (13 minutes, 3 movements)

Flute 1, 2 
Oboe 1, 2
Bassoon 1, 2
Clarinet 1, 2, 3
Bass Clarinet 
Alto Saxophone 1, 2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone

 Trumpet 1, 2, 3
F Horn 1, 2, 3, 4
Trombone 1, 2
Bass Trombone


5 Percussion


Written for the Indiana University Symphonic Band, directed by Eric Smedley


Terrain Unknown is intended to be a fun, quirky piece inspired by a fictional scenario loosely depicting humankind’s first contact with intelligent life outside of Earth. The music doesn’t necessarily follow a literal narrative, but it is structured based on the interaction between what I imagine to be 
“human-sounding” elements and perhaps more “extraterrestrial-sounding” elements. Obviously (and in case you were worried), the sounds you will hear in this piece, played by live humans on stage or otherwise, will all have been produced by humans. However, I think there is an interesting ever-present tension that exists between what audiences might traditionally expect to hear in the concert hall and sounds that might be perceived more jarringly – i.e. sounds that could be considered “alien” in nature.


My goal for this piece was to present a series of three somehow interconnected movements that firstly portray music in a fun, conventional way interacting with common human emotions: happiness, wonder, annoyance, excitement, anger, etc., secondly present music in a less typical manner that might sound surprising or even a bit discomforting to the average concert audience, and thirdly bring these opposing sound worlds together in a cohesive way to hopefully create an interesting musical structure based on tension, compromise, and resolution of both live and synthesized sounds.  

bottom of page