top of page

Difference Tones - April 2019

(written transcript below)

Quick Links:


Hello, its Brandon Snyder in a sound wave format. A while back, I was trying to write a regular newsletter. Unfortunately, it never quite got off the ground. I do want to make some sort of regular thing where I can update people who are interested in my music, in my life, and various other related things. So here it is again, GIVING IT ANOTHER SHOT. Brandon Snyder in an audio format. Let's see how this goes.

So for the next seven minutes I'm going to share with you a piece of music I wrote last [month], as well as give a short reflection on where I've been at as a composer for the past year or so. Stay tuned for the end where I'll tell you about three upcoming performances of my music. They'll be happening in California and Massachusetts.

Last month, I got to visit Seattle, Washington, where I performed a new piece of my music at the Jack Straw Cultural Center. The piece is titled quiet time, and it is written for broken piano and electronics. Here’s a little bit of it.

[quiet time plays]

This piece is a sort of response to a bunch of the music I had made while in college. During that time, I spent a lot of energy pushing myself to create really well-made pieces of music. What I mean by this is that I was always trying to achieve some next level of technique or expertise. Composing in college was not so much about conveying an emotion or a thought, but it was actually a vehicle for me to try to better myself as a composer–to gain greater understanding of how music works and how it can come together. So at the end of my college career, I feel really proud of what I've been able to achieve in that time. Looking at my pieces from freshman year and my pieces from senior year, there's a huge shift and a huge amount of growth that I've made. But, at the same time I feel like my music had grown more detached from my everyday thoughts and emotions than I wanted it to be. So, I decided to spend this first year out of college focusing primarily on accessing my emotions through music. I deliberately spent very little time thinking about how I would make the music. Rather, I spent a lot of time trying to be in touch with my emotions and the message I wanted to evoke in the listener. I would pursue that emotion and that experience without much reproach or second thoughts about how I achieved that.

The result was that I made music like the one you just heard for broken piano. If you listen to the whole thing on my website, you'll notice it's pretty simple in its form, it's pretty simple in its materials, it's just two sections, it's tonal, it's straightforward. But, I also feel that it conveys emotion much more strongly than any piece that I had done before.

Here is another piece I wrote with this same approach in mind. This is an excerpt from a sound installation I made with architect Chantine Akiyama back in January at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard.

[Overture excerpt from Sights and Sounds of Home plays]

Reflecting on these last ten months out of college, I’ve been able to come much more in touch with my emotions as a composer. As I await to take my qualifying exams for graduate school in June, the time feels appropriate for me to take a step in return towards composing music with a strong sense of craft and expertise in mind. This isn’t a relinquishing of my newfound grip with emotion in my music. Rather, I feel confident now that as I step back into a space of academic rigor, I will be able to maintain that strong connection to my everyday thoughts and emotions that I have cultivated over these past ten months.


Coming up in future, I'm moving to Germany! I'm moving there in the last week of May. I'm going to spend my Summer taking entrance exams at various german schools, and then I'll be enrolling in a language program in Berlin. Until then, I'm just going to be preparing to move out.

If you are interested in hearing my music, there are quite a few performances coming up:

On April 13th, (that's next week) at the New England Conservatory, in Massachusetts, Martine Thomas will be premiering Myths, my new work for solo viola. It's a part of her masters recital, and it's going to be really, really good.

In the month of May, the BAAA Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will be exhibiting a new sound installation created by Chantine Akiyama and myself.

Finally, on May 25th in Santa Ana CA, I will be conducting my new piece for jazz orchestra, THE WOBBLE SUITE. I am especially excited for this, because it will be performed by the Orange county school of the Arts Ambassador Jazz Orchestra, an ensemble of high school students who I have had the privilege of teaching this past academic year.

Ok, that is all. Thank you so much for listening to the very end of this. Let me know if you like this audio version or if you don't like this audio version. Hopefully, I'll have another one next month. Alright, see you soon. Love you. Bye.

bottom of page