"Beat me mama 23 to the octave, 29 to the bar" is a toccata for two pianos, 2 basses, and drums. The piece is structured as a series of measure-by-measure variations on a 29-note ostinato that grows progressively complex up to the mid-point of the work, at which moment the process reverses, eventually returning to the relative stasis of the beginning.
23 equally tempered notes per octave (i.e. 52.174 cents between adjacent notes of the scale). In order to achieve this result using conventional keyboards, two pianos are tuned in complementary fashion, as described below: Tuning of piano 1: each note on the standard 12-note-per-octave keyboard is detuned from equal temperament by successive increments of +4.3478260869565 cents: C 0 C# +4.348 D +8.696 D# +13.043 E +17.391 F +21.739 F# +26.087 G +30.435 G# +34.783 A +39.130 A# +43.478 B +47.826 Tuning of piano 2: each note on the standard 12-note-per-octave keyboard is detuned from equal temperament by successive increments of +4.348 cents minus a constant value of 52.174: C 0 C# -47.826 D -43.478 D# -39.130 E -34.783 F -30.435 F# -26.087 G -21.7397 G# -17.3917 A -13.043 A# -8.696 B -4.348
The compositions of David Jason Snow have been performed in concert by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the New Juilliard Ensemble, the American Brass Quintet, the Harvard Wind Ensemble, the Yale University Band, and other artists and ensembles at venues in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Snow has also been the recipient of composer fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, grants from the Maryland State Arts Council, an ASCAP Foundation grant, and composition prizes from Musician magazine and Keyboard magazine. He holds degrees in composition from the Eastman School of Music and the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Joseph Schwantner, Warren Benson, Samuel Adler, and Jacob Druckman.