I have been here before (2021)

For solo vibraphone

Written for Michael Ptacin

Michigan premiere: February 27, 2022, at Michigan State University by Eric Saroian


Purchase score here



six minutes

Program Note

‘’I have been here before’’ draws inspiration from the feelings of deja vu, unconsciousness, and dreaming. I wanted to convey musically this state of transitioning from being unconscious to conscious and finding yourself in a familiar state of being that one has experienced before. 

The opening of the piece is marked “Blurred, Lost, Finding Clarity.’’ It explores the resonance that the vibraphone is capable of while discovering a simple 4 note melody. It develops with louder dynamics, bigger chords, and resonant tremolos that represent awakening and consciousness. 

The second section, marked ‘’Losing consciousness.’’ The music gets gradually slower while the tonality tries to find stability. It then goes into this fast, rhythmic, almost psychedelic mood that represents a state of hallucination and confusion. The meter changes constantly while the notes gradually get blurrier and increase in tension as it repeats multiple times with the pedal down.  

The ending of the piece goes back to the ‘’unclear, lost,’’ feeling from the beginning. The music uses similar material and gestures with slight alterations. I hope for this piece to allow one to look inwards and be reminded of their experiences of deja vu.