I got to hear a lot of extraordinary percussion playing on Saturday, so I thought I’d write a percussion piece today. A few other pieces within the Project have had percussion in them, but this is the first one that uses unpitched instruments exclusively — no marimbas, vibraphones or glockenspiels this time. Actually, although “pitched” vs. “unpitched” are official categories that percussion instruments are placed into, it would be more accurate to use the terms “instruments of definite pitch” and “instruments of indefinite pitch.” Drums and cymbals and woodblocks and the like aren’t notated at specific pitches, but if you listen closely you can hear whether they sound high or low, or in between. Drums have to be tuned occasionally too, as the metal frame that holds the skin taut will loosen up gradually with repeated pounding. Here’s the little tool percussionists use to tune their drums, called a drum key:
Percussionists get all the best toys.
Here are the instruments I used, in all their MIDI-fied glory: (links will show a picture or video and you’ll hear the instrument’s name pronounced — you might want to lower your volume)
…and last but not least,
It’s like composing in a giant toybox! 😀
Click play to listen:
Thanks for listening!