#5×4 (demo) – New Music

New music! Listen to it by clicking here.

In recent posts, I’ve discussed one of my current works-in-progress, a four movement minimalist work. You can read about the opening movement, #6×5, here.

The new video is the next movement to be almost entirely completed, #5×4. Again arranged for solo or duo piano, this is the slow movement of the work. Though using the same principles as #6×5, this piece is the exact opposite in a number of ways.

Firstly, and perhaps most obviously, is the ambience of the movement itself. It was created as a reflective piece while I thinking about the recent passing of a dear family member. The rhythm has an unchallenged 4/4 feel throughout. All of th parts work together well harmonically, so there is nowhere near the level of dissonance as we hear in #6×5.

Secondly, the ‘rules’ (for want of a better description) of the overall piece are more relaxed in this movement. Where #6×5 features six separate motifs, each of which are five notes in length, #5×4 is more general. True, there are only five motifs throughout. However, the number of notes in each ofthis piece’s musical phrases is an average. For example, the lead phrase uses five notes, so to balance this out one of the other motifs is comprised of a mere three notes. Also, the four notes (on average) in each motif refer to unique notes. For example, one of the repeating phrases runs: D A D A F# D B. While there is reputation of D’s and A’s, there are only four separate pitches in the entire motif.


Image from the video for #5×4 (Tim Higgins)

So, why have I used such a relaxed approach in this movement? And does it go against the principles of minimalist music?

Here are the main arguments justifying my compositional choices:

  1. First and foremost, good music is good music. I like how this piece sounds, very much the way it first came to me.
  2. Rules are made to be broken (a topic I have covered in several previous posts)!

This piece came very quickly for me. In refining it, I’ve tried to ensure a small element of development while retaining the simplicity of the soft, repeating lines. To me, I still think of the same person who inspired the creation of this music. The remaining two movements will be a combination of the frantic style of #6×5 and the hypnotic repetotion of #5×4. However, as always, I’d love to hear what your thoughts so do get in touch!

Give the new trailer a listen. Visually, I used pictures from a recent visit to Marciac and the surround region of Midi-Pyrenees, in the south of France. The gorgeous vineyards & crop fields on those beautiful sunny days seems to lend itself well to the calm and reflective elements of the music. I also noticed that juxtaposing this piece over pictures of Marciac and Bassouse added a certain air of melancholy to the images, as if the towns had been abandoned (they most certainly haven’t been). Feel free to leave a comment below – updates on the remaining two movements to follow very soon!


Image from the video for #5×4 (Tim Higgins)


My demo video for #5×4, as well as all of my current demos & videos, are available on my Vimeo page.

Published by timguitar

Guitarist, composer, music therapist and avid bibliophile. Providing an insight into my life as a professional musician, lessons learned as an allied health practitioner, as well as various musings on the world of music in general. Expect plenty of articles about music & wellbeing, classical guitar, jazz, world/roots genres, and all sorts of guitar-related chat.

8 thoughts on “#5×4 (demo) – New Music

  1. Hi Tim,

    I’m really enjoying your music and also your discussion of it – so glad to have connected through WordPress. Thank you for checking in on my site – very encouraging.


  2. I’m not really into minimalist music, but I think would have liked it better if the first idea appeared higher to create space and depth later on and generally, for me, it feels a little empty without actual chords to sustain the melody (to use the piano to it’s maximum potential – you can do this exact song on any melodic instrument) , and random single notes added don’t have the same effect, but maybe that’s was your exact intention…If that’s the case, RIGHT ON! 🙂

    1. Hey Ioana, you’re right in that it’s easily transferable to another instrument. Originally the entire work was intended for multiple performers, each playing a simple line. The idea with that was to focus them on timing & listening (when played following a strict score) or to perform their line randomly, listening to the effect it has on the harmony of the piece (in an improvisational setting). This is something I’m interested in returning to in a music therapy setting.

      As I said in my main stifle, my decision to keep it sparse was to avoid any unpleasant dissonance in this movement (there’s plenty in the first).

      Thanks for giving it a listen. I’ve more piano music planned once this is finished which is of an entirely different nature. Tim X

  3. Tim, I liked the piece very much. I don’t know anything about the technical aspects that you were talking about, when you were explaining the arrangement. I have a good ear and I think my instincts about musicians are pretty solid. I liked this a lot. Do you like Clint Mansell or Ludovico Einaudi?

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