La ligne claire for snare drum quartet
dedicated to Ensemble Polychronies


La ligne claire is a piece for four percussionists playing … four snare drums. I wanted to write a piece that could be played in any place and with little material; a work that is “hyper mobile”.

At the very beginning, I had the feeling to, first discovering this instrument and secondly, knowing more the techniques of playing and writing. Then I had to find my point of view for this new work and go beyond the military connotation I had of this instrument. I started then with the first sensations I had of the snare drum and that made me want to write for : such a beautiful sound through transparency, clarity, precision, finesse, strength… I also realized that the snare drum does not forgive all imprecision that can be made in both writing and interpretation. The playing is very technical but this technicality brings vibration, adrenaline and euphoria !!

Then the challenge was launched : write a fifteen minutes of music, write an intense and strong piece, and especially a piece that is not a technical study.

So I focused on several elements of playing and I built my piece around it : rolling, nuances (ppp to fff), the power of the homorythmia when the four percussionists play together. To enrich the piece, I also had to find how noises can be produce on the snare to not be only in the precision of the sound and the attack but to release and give a color of resonance and respiration to this instrument that does not resonate.

The work was constructed from these elements. I developed them, deepened and enriched by working among others with Florent Fabre.

Last point. The title. La ligne claire refers to the “snare line” or the “drum line” that I was able to hear and which excited me by the energy that these pieces exude.


4 snare drums


duration 16′

premiere 8 december 2017, Ensemble Polychronies, Denis theater / Hyères

commissioned by Ensemble Polychronies