Tuesday, June 16, 2009

percussion trio update

I've been working on the percussion trio a bit this week, committing the "sin" of composing directly in Sibelius. I think it's helpful for this piece, since I can't properly execute the simultaneous patterns myself. As I wrote last time, I have some simple rhythms that I am currently refining.

The refinements are as follows:

1. Creating space - rather than have the players start full-on and keep playing for 12.5 minutes, I wanted to thin out the texture. Otherwise, we get nearly constant eighth notes. So I began subtracting notes over the course of several bars, until the patterns consist of only 1 or 2 notes, with many rests. Then I build the patterns up again.

2. Emphasizing the meters - this is all written in 4/4 for purposes of ensemble, but I'm really conceiving of it as having 3 meters simultaneously. If you listen to the repeating patterns, you can pick up on some of these, but I wanted to make them more apparent. I began adding rolls on the up-beats, which has worked well so far. I'm trying to come up with other ideas.

3. Expanding the timbres - I've only barely started with this today. All 3 players will have a small drum. I began introducing the rim to add another interesting sound. The rolls somewhat accomplish this goal as well. Again, still thinking about new ideas.

With these changes in place, a form is beginning to emerge. There are several moments when two or all three of the players seem to lock into a groove (although they are really in separate meters), and there are moments when the texture thins and we get a half-time feel. One longer groove also has all three players exchanging rolls, which should be an interesting effect, and comes in a little before the Golden Mean. The "melodic" tone-based instruments (conch shell, ocarina, melodica) seem to emerge rather naturally from the texture (at least from what I can tell on crap MIDI sounds!).

More soon...

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