Stuart Saunders Smith – Noble Snare

Whenever I listened to a snare drum roll, I was struck by the complexity of the sound itself. Far from a non-pitched instrument, the snare drum sounded like an ocean of sound – virtually every pitch represented – with subtle waves and currents. The snare drum has always seemed to me to be full of possibilities as a solo instrument.

 In 1987 my initial idea was to publish one volume of snare drum solos – to “elevate” the snare drum to the level of a solo concert instrument. I asked many leading composers if they would be interested in writing for snare drum, hoping there would be enough positive responses to make a book.

The response was so enthusiastic and so immediate! It was as if the idea were there in the air waiting for someone to initiate it and coordinate it. And so there are 4 volumes of snare drum solos, each piece distinct and expressive.

These 4 volumes should be thought of as an anthology of snare drum music. They are ungraded as to difficulty and not grouped in any kind of style. Each piece is presented in a different penmanship to enhance the sense of different statements – distinct musical worlds with the snare drum.

-Sylvia Smith

Volume 1 includes compositions from the following composers:

Stuart Saunders Smith

Ben Johnston

Michael LaRosa

Alexander Lepak

Milton Babbitt

Charles Boone

David Macbride

Udo Kasements


Volume 2 includes compositions from the following composers:

Herbert Brun
Siegfried Fink
William Brooks
Michael Udow
Barney Childs
John Welsh
John Cage
Allen Otte
Thomas DeLio
Dan Senn


Volume 3 includes compositions from the following composers:

Sydney Hodkinson
Alvin Lucier
Christian Wolff
Kyle Gann
John Bergamo
Annea Lockwood
John Jeffrey Gibbens


Volume 4 includes compositions from the following composers:

Eugene Novotney
Ralph Shapey
Tom Pierson
Salvatore Martirano
Larry Austin
Robert Ashley
William Ortiz
Pauline Oliveros

Annotated by WanNing Chen