Dave Hollinden
Dusting the Connecting Link
  • multiple-percussion solo; duration: 20 - 30 minutes (performer choice)
  • composed in 1995
  • premiere: Andrew Spencer, On the Boards, Seattle, WA 1995
  • select performances:
    • Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY, 2002
    • Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1998
    • Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 1997
    • East Carolina School of Music, Greenville, NC, 1997
    • University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, 1997
Listen to Excerpt:
  • play - from the introduction (very slow and quiet), from the CD Slender Beams.
  • play - from later in the piece.
View the Score:
  • Dusting the Connecting Link appears on the CD Slender Beams by Dave Hollinden and Andrew Spencer.

large tom tom, 2 medium tom toms, 2 small drums, log drum, temple block, wood block, sleigh bells, cowbell, vibra-slap, 2 almglocken (tuned a m7th apart), auto spring, triangle, bell plate, tone bar, crash cymbal, Chinese cymbal, sizzle cymbal

About Dusting the Connecting Link:

Dusting the Connecting Link is a hybrid mixture of notated music and graphic notation allowing for performer choice. Short rhythmic fragments are spatially arranged in a large graphic shape. This shape contains three pathways, each being distinct in terms of it's instrumentation, and the player chooses his or her own route through the shape. There are specific instructions about how to do this, but the overall result is a piece whose form and duration are chosen by the performer.

Program Notes:

The inspiration for Dusting the Connecting Link came from the following excerpts by Carlos Casteneda:

I had entered into a wondrous state of awareness! I had such clarity of mind that I was able to comprehend and assimilate everything don Juan was saying. He said that in the universe there is an unmeasurable, indescribable force which sorcerers call intent,and that absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link. Sorcerers, or warriors, as he called them, were concerned with discussing, understanding, and employing that link. They were especially concerned with cleaning it of the numbing effects brought about by the ordinary concerns of their everyday lives.

Don Juan seemed to recognize my state of mind. He suggested that I relax and listen. He told me his next story was about the process of bringing an apprentice into the realm of the spirit, a process sorcerers called the trickery of the spirit, or dusting the connecting link to intent.

These excerpts are from "The Power of Silence" by Carlos Castaneda, 1987


The intriguing title of this solo piece for a college-level multiple percussionist is borrowed from a passage in Carlos Caseneda's The Power of Silence, a passage about "the process of bringing an apprentice into the realm of the spirit, a process sorcerers calleddusting the connecting link to intent." Hollinden's piece provides an opportunity to work through a musical version of this process.

The composition is an example of musical indeterminacy and provides the performer with a single large page filled with rhythmic motives, configured into three large "pathways." The soloist must invoke his/her artistic taste in sequencing these motives to build musical climaxes at the end of each pathway. Motives are written in timbre-staff notation. Twenty-three instruments, including a tambourine and assorted wooden and metallic idiophones, are required.

As in all compositions that intentionally use some degree of chance in their performance, the final product relies on the peculiar abilities and talents of the soloist. (The purchaser will be pleasantly surprised to see how this publication is packaged. It is a work of art in its own right!)

John R. Raush, Percussive Notes, August, 1996

Purchase information:

Available from: