Program Note for Fingerpaintings

The four short movements of Fingerpaintings derive all of their material from a synthetic scale and the rhythmic patterns are built up from relatively simple subdivisions of the pulse.  My attempt was to employ the kinds of gestures with which harpsichordists are most familiar, especially taking into consideration early music performance practices. I also wished to fulfill my own desire to write something fresh and new for both instruments.

The result is four movements of different character - slow, fast, slow, fast - as in older suites.  The opening movement has an improvisatory nature, overlaying the lower sounds of each instrument.  The second movement is a "wild dance" which explores and exploits the quick attacks of the instruments.  The third movement is a dirge with a ground bass.  The last movement uses rock and jazz elements.  The title refers to the actions of the performers and to the technique of painting with fingers, both of which allow expression through limited materials.