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Pascal's Carriage 

Chris Brannick to perform 'Pascal's Carriage' for Riq at Pinner Parish Church as part of the Pinner Music Festival Anniversay Concert, 12 June 2021, 7:30pm

‘Pascal’s Carriage’ was written for percussionist (and mathematician) Chris Brannick in 2007 and first performed by him on 5 June 2007 in London. It is one of the movements from ‘Mathematician Suite’ - four pieces for solo frame drum player which are based on an aspect of the life or work of different mathematicians.

In 1654, the French mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) is said to have been involved in a horse and carriage accident at the Neuilly-sur-Seine bridge where the horses plunged over the parapet and the carriage nearly followed them. However, the reins broke and the coach hung halfway over the edge enabling Pascal and his friends to emerge unscathed.

As well as mathematics, Pascal’s written output covered physical science, philosophy and religion.

The number of finger flicks on the riq at the beginning of the piece alludes to Pascal’s Triangle - a number pattern named after Pascal where numbers are arranged in a triangle in staggered rows and where each number is the sum of the two directly above it. Pascal's triangle has many properties and contains many different patterns of numbers.