F.J. Sacci: Time Keys and Spirit Hammers

Time Keys and Spirit Hammers (1982) 12’08’’
by F.J. Sacci

While writing Time Keys and Spirit Hammers, I became interested in confronting modern music and its relationship to other musical entities, including rock and roll and its divisions. After being in Holland for several years, a longing to be in the rich American musical environment began to dominate my feelings about music, the pure aural sensations of rock music, and strange and repetitious chord progressions are combined throughout the piece.

The music is composed using sounds similar in nature to those being played on New York rock stations. Creating three short new wave-like melodies, I then wrote relatively repetitious chordal ideas and rhythms to appear with the unusual melodies. Hearing the piece might be described as driving down the road listening to your radio, switching your dial every few seconds, but the same tunes in different transformations are on every station.

With these compact pop motives and the well-tested theme and variation form, I describe Time Keyes and Spirit Hammers.


Frank Sacci was born in Albany, New York in 1952. He studied composition privately with Karel Husa, Jacob Druckman and Donald Martino, receiving composition degrees from the New England Conservatory and Ithaca College. He was awarded two Tanglewood Fellowships in Composition; the International Institute for Education Fellowship to the Netherlands; grants from the Maatschappij to Bevordering der Toonkunst, Amsterdam; the Institute for Sonology, Utrecht and the Cultural Ministry of the Netherlands. His works include chamber, orchestral, and electronic compositions. He has received numerous national and global performances of his concert and television music over the years.

In 1977, a Fulbright Fellowship led Mr. Sacci to study electronic music at the University of Utrecht in Holland, composing electronic and computer music at the Institute for Sonology over a four year period. The newly reissued composition Time Keys And Spirit Hammers was commissioned with the support of the Jerome Foundation, St. Paul for Zeitgeist in 1982.

Mr. Sacci presently resides in Southern California composing and enjoying performances on keyboards.

Time Keys and Spirit Hammers appears on Zeitgeist’s album Zephyr, originally released 1982, re-released 2015.

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