Truman Sleeps - Philip Glass

Truman Sleeps - Philip Glass

Truman Sleeps is a solo piano piece composed by Philip Glass. It was recorded for the 1991 album Glassworks and was featured as the fourth track in the piece. Truman Sleeps has become a popular and well-known piece covered by many solo pianists and featured in various shows, films, and games.

History and Release of Truman Sleeps

Truman Sleeps was composed by Philip Glass in 1984, as part of his Glassworks album and released in 1991. This piece has become a standard in the piano repertoire for many classical pianists. It was the first track released from the Glassworks album and was very well received by fans and critics alike.

The piece is melodically and harmonically very simple, but features a complex texture. It is one of Glass's earlier works and has a minimalistic approach that was characteristic of Glass's music from the early to mid-1980s. The piece features a steady beat that is reminiscent of a metronome and a repeated four-note phrase in the right hand.

Truman Sleeps was also featured on the soundtrack for the 2009 film A Single Man, directed by Tom Ford, as well as on the soundtrack for the 2012 video game The Last of Us. This has helped the piece to become even more popular and widely known.

Simplified Analysis of Truman Sleeps

Truman Sleeps is built on a four-chord progression that is surprisingly sophisticated given the simplicity of its melody. This progression remains the same throughout most of the piece and is repeated in different keys. This creates a sense of forward motion and a continuous rhythm.

The four-note phrase which is repeated throughout the piece moves in steps of a third, rather than in more typical half-steps or whole steps. This contributes to the piece's overall sound, as it creates an unexpected sense of harmonic motion.

The harmonic structure of the piece creates a continuous sound that has been likened to a metronome. This creates a sense of rhythm and it drives the piece forward. As the piece progresses, the four-note phrase is repeated in different keys to build tension and create a sense of movement and flow.

Why is it so Popular?

Truman Sleeps has become a popular piece not just among classical pianists, but also in popular culture. It has featured on various film and television soundtracks, as well as in video games, and these appearances have undoubtedly helped to make the piece more accessible to the general public.

In addition to its accessibility, the piece has also become popular due to its simple yet effective structure. The four-chord progression and four-note phrase are incredibly simple yet they create a complex and interesting sound. This has made the piece appealing to both casual listeners and to more serious musicians.


Truman Sleeps is a popular and well-known solo piano piece composed by Philip Glass in 1984. It has become a standard among classical pianists and has been featured in a number of films, television shows, and video games. The piece has an accessible and simplistic structure that has made it especially popular.

Publication date: 19. 02. 2023