​​​Paul Sweet

Composer, Pianist, Teacher


"Machinations" for string orchestra 

Finale Rendering

Sheet music is emailed in PDF form to the PayPal address used (unless otherwise requested) within 24 hours.

String Quintet version:

Score & Parts - 8.5x11: $15 (digital


String Quintet version:

Score & Parts - 8.5x11: $20 + free shipping

String Orchestra version:

Score & Parts - 8.5x11: $30 (digital


String Orchestra version:

Score & Parts - 8.5x11: $40 + free shipping


String orchestra version:

Violin (4 or more)

Viola (2 or more)

Cello (2 or more)

Double Bass (1 or more)

String quintet version:

2 Violins



Double Bass

In April, 2012, I had the good fortune to travel to Los Angeles to see John Adams conduct the west coast premiere of Philip Glass’ Ninth Symphony. The experience of seeing my favorite composer (Mr. Adams) conduct this new, epically scaled work - combined with the joy I took in discovering the beauty of the southern California landscape - led me to immediately begin work on Machinations upon my return to Oklahoma. The work took just under a week to compose and is, for me, a commemoration of that stimulating trip.

The work opens in a sort of rhythmic and tonal gridlock. Short sequences of notes in each part overlap and struggle to break free from the others. Slowly, new harmonies and dissonances are created by these shifts, taking the music to a “breaking point” where a new theme finally breaks through. The more outgoing middle section pushes ahead relentlessly, each of the parts working more as a group now than before. Eventually, though, it becomes clear that the gridlock of the beginning must inevitably return.

The third and final section seems at first to be a repeat of the opening material, but the appearance of music from the middle section lets the listener know this is not the case. Themes from all over the work soon blend and overlap and grow in intensity before the work seemingly implodes and ends quietly.

Machinations, by definition, are plots or schemes. I imagined, as I wrote the work, that each instrumental part was “scheming” about how it would break free from the rigid and meticulous pattern of the opening measures. By the same token, it was clear that some undefined force was “plotting” ways to keep the music in this form. Imagine these secret plots and maneuvers as you play or conduct the work for maximum effectiveness.