Sleep Cycles

for guitar and flute (2016)

duration: 12'


program note

I composed Sleep Cycles as a gift for my sister’s 21st birthday in September 2014. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to finishing it until 2016. The aim of the piece was to illustrate the various characters the flute and guitar are capable of producing whilst also exploring extended techniques of each instrument.

Sleep Cycles depicts the brain activity of a night’s sleep, but in reverse:

I: Awakening. The end of sleep.

II: Rapid Eye Movement – when the brain is at its most active and shows many physiological similarities to its waking state. It is in this phase of sleep that we dream.

III: Slow Wave Sleep – or deep sleep. The third stage and the most restful form of sleep.

IV: Sleep Spindles – bursts of brain activity that occur during the second stage of sleep.

V: Lullabye – the act of falling asleep. The first stage of sleep.


Sleep Cycles is dedicated to my wonderful sister Alison.


audio sample

Sleep Cycles - Slow Wave Sleep - James Mountain
Sleep Cycles - Sleep Spindles - James Mountain