One of a series of drawings by Ann Seabourne inspired by Dances on the Head of a Pin (

Steps Volume 7: Dances on the Head of a Pin - piano solo - duration c 49 minutes - 2019

Written relatively quickly over six months Dances on the Head of a Pin was seeded by an unused fragment from an earlier volume. This rather wonky dance (now the opening movement) had not suited at the time but now it sparked the idea of a set of such "misaligned" dances. In earlier years my old teacher Robin Holloway had characterised my student works (kindly) as "bonkiness", and perhaps these little pieces pick up that thread.

It struck me that a feature of many folk dances is that in some way or other movement is constricted or constrained - it might be shuffling feet, locked arms, "leg dancing" in a fixed upright position, or working in a restricted area, having to avoid an object (sharp sword or delicate egg) and so on. This then brought to mind the old chestnut "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" My little angels, in various and sundry ways and styles test out this question, their movements hampered by obstacles. Their foiled efforts are annotated in the score with asides, observations and resonances.

The 38 small pieces, most lasting only a minute or so, refer to many dance forms. These, I hope form a genuine cycle, though as with previous volumes players may wish to create their own smaller sub-sets.

If you have arrived at this page from a search engine (e.g. Google) and cannot see the menu system, please click here.