Percussion part 2

I’ve spend the last month or so working on ideas for the percussion and electronics piece for Glynn. The initial idea I had was for a 7 min piece for drum kit and marimba. The piece began with a cymbal solo, moving to marimba and then finally to kit but on reflection that didn’t really work as a piece. There was something about the completely different sounds of the marimba and kit that just didn’t marry in my head into a whole piece. Now the piece has shrunk to about 5 min still starting with a solo on high-hat but then moving to the full kit rather than marimba. The sounds of the piece marry up so much better in my head now that the marimba has been removed!

While writing I’ve wanted to have a kit sitting beside me so that I can play about with the sounds and electronics. That is obviously completely impracticable, because I didn’t have one already, but one can wish. I’ve settled with samples from freesound to help build the electronics but that hasn’t helped when its come to writing the notes, well rhythms. Sibelius is usually a pretty good help with this bit but not in this case. Working out pacing and intensity with a string quartet Sibelius can help but trying to do the same with a solo high-hat, playing with the nuances of the cymbals, not so much.

The problem I came across today with today Glynn was the stuff I had written and imagined to be an ok starting section with space to develop really wasn’t. What I’d written was more material for about 2/3 the way through a build up and it really doesn’t have that much further to go. This is the problem and the great thing about doing something I’ve never done before, learning that what I was thinking is doable it’s not exactly what I was thinking. It’s also why I really like working with a player to write a solo piece, you can try stuff out and be told to wise up or you can easily see that it’s not working out.

Needless to say the piece needs tweaked quite a bit based on today’s run through but it’s also sounding pretty cool. Going to aim to meet up with him again next weekend with more stuff and a more solidly running patch (samples are useful to work out sounds but not so much if you are using envelope following, the numbers don’t work live!)

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