On Being

Shakespearian suite for Saxophone quartet and computer


Stefan Klaverdal


Score as PDF

Recording of a smaller section


Backing tracks (as mp3s) of

Moods of a queen

Prayer of a King

Vengeance of a dead king

About the piece

This suite is thematically derived from the classical play of Hamlet, and was originally composed to a dance performance of the play. In this version, however, it is perfectly possible to play as a standalone piece.


First performed in Stockhom, November 2004 by Stockholm Saxophone Quartet.







Technical information

The notation is quite open, allowing the players in several of the pieces to freely choose several aspects of interpretation, such as some rhythms, tempo, etc.

The interaction between saxophone and computer is crucial; the computer part is in some of the pieces totally dependent on the sound recorded live from the saxophone(s). Furthermore, the computer is used as a real instrument, playing on the transformed sounds inputted from the saxophone. It also needs a player/musician for the computer since very little is preprogrammed.

There is, however, also a CD-version of the electronics, if one is unable to find a computer for the performance.

There are also some special notation and instructions. These are explained on the following pages.

If desired to enhance the performance, there are also four pieces for computer solo or CD that can be added to a concert if one for instance wishes to give it a more Shakespearian air.

The pieces are called "Afraid", "Time", "England" and "Confidence" and are all pieces that fit nicely in various parts of a performance of "Hamlet". These are all available from the composer.


The suite is written in a specific order. This, however, may naturally be changed if desired, or certain pieces may be omitted at will.

The last piece (the addendum) "tuning to fight" is not part of the suite originally, but was used in the dance performance. It may be added somewhere suitable if desired.

A suggestion may be to use it as an entrance, or as a way of freely using the room (moving from the normal playing position).



To play the piece this equipment is needed:

One computer (apple G4 at least) running MAX/MSP 4.3

The patch made for this piece

One soundcard with two inputs and two outputs

Preferrably one midicontroller (JLCooper CS-32 or equiv.) to play the computerpatch

Two microphones connecting the alto and tenor saxophone and computer/soundcard

One mixer with at least one aux send (or two if monitor is used)

PA-system (two channels)

Preferrably a monitor system (for saxophone player)

Alternatively a CD player and a PA-systen.

CDs with audio or programming can be obtained from the composer.