Matching Items (12)

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Effects of Loudness Change on Tempo Perception and Action in Percussion

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Tempo control is a crucial part of musicianship that can provide an obstacle for novice musicians. The current study examines why novice percussionists increase their playing tempo when they increase

Tempo control is a crucial part of musicianship that can provide an obstacle for novice musicians. The current study examines why novice percussionists increase their playing tempo when they increase their loudness (in music, loudness is referred to as dynamics). This study tested five hypotheses: 1) As actual tempo changes, listeners perceive that the tempo is changing; 2) There is a perceptual bias to perceive increases in acoustic intensity as also increasing in tempo; 3) All individuals, regardless of percussion experience, display the bias described in hypothesis 2; 4) Unskilled or non-percussionists increase or decrease produced tempo as they respectively increase or decrease loudness; and 5) Skilled percussionist produce less change in tempo due to changes in loudness than non-percussionists. In Experiment 1, percussionists and non-percussionists listened to metronome samples that gradually change in intensity and/or tempo. Participants identified the direction and size of their perceived tempo change using a computer mouse. In Experiment 2, both groups of participants produced various tempo and dynamic changes on a drum pad. Our findings support that both percussionists and non-percussionists, to some extent, display a perceptual bias to perceive tempo changes as a function of intensity changes. We also found that non-percussionists altered their tempo as a function of changing dynamic levels, whereas percussionists did not. Overall, our findings support that listeners tend to experience some integrality between perceptual dimensions of perceived tempo and loudness. Dimensional integration also persists when playing percussion instruments though experience with percussion instruments reduces this effect.

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  • 2014-05

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Rhythm For Percussion Ensemble and Narrator

Description

Rhythm is a work for percussion ensemble and narrator. The percussion ensemble includes five percussionists who each play multiple instruments. The narrator recites quotes from the book Meter as Rhythm

Rhythm is a work for percussion ensemble and narrator. The percussion ensemble includes five percussionists who each play multiple instruments. The narrator recites quotes from the book Meter as Rhythm by Dr. Christopher Hasty. The piece is in six parts with a short introduction (mm. 1-5). The structure is delineated by the quotes from Meter as Rhythm. The narrator describes an aspect of rhythm at the beginning of each section and the quote is sonically realized through the percussion ensemble.

This piece experiments with different timbres and rhythmic motives. Timbral variety is achieved through grouping instruments into woods, metals, and membranes and using combinations of those groups to delineate different sections and ideas. The rhythmic motives are based on the numbers 3, 5, and 7, and appear as rhythmic values, phrase lengths, and number of repetitions.

The first section states a definition of rhythm and contains all timbres and motives contained within the composition. The piece then explores the relativity of time and is represented by drums changing the speed of their notes. The third section discusses rhythm as repetition and is illustrated by repetitive rhythmic motives. The text then features rhythm as a subjective human experience and is reflected through polyrhythms played between ensemble members. What follows is a description of meter as a temporal measurement that is unchanged by rhythmic activity. By bringing back previous motives, this section reveals that all of the motives work within the same meter. In the final section, the performers play various subdivisions of the beat to show different aspects of proportion by dividing the beat in several ways.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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To Melt into the Sun: The Mystery of Light

Description

“The Mystery of Light” is the first movement of a yet to be completed larger work titled ...to melt into the sun for chamber choir and percussion quartet. The text

“The Mystery of Light” is the first movement of a yet to be completed larger work titled ...to melt into the sun for chamber choir and percussion quartet. The text of the work is an excerpt from Kahlil Gibran’s masterpiece, The Prophet. This book tells the story of a prophet-like man, Almustafa, who, before embarking on the journey back to his native land, stops in the city of Orphalese, where the townspeople, having known him for many years, entreat him to share his wisdom before he departs. The seeress, Almitra, urges him, “speak to us and give us of your truth.” Almustafa proceeds to philosophize on a range of topics including love, laws, pain, friendship, children, time, beauty, and self-knowledge. Just before his farewell to the people of Orphalese, he speaks of death, saying that it is not something to be feared, but rather, embraced as a necessary and beautiful part of life.

This interconnectedness of the life and death process, of which Almustafa speaks, is the subject of “The Mystery of Light.” Almitra’s aforementioned request returns directly and indirectly throughout the movement as a reference to humanity’s undying desire to understand the great mysteries of our own mortal condition. The choir shifts throughout the movement between the three following perspectives: 1) that of people who live in fear, whose anxious whispers grow into shouts of horror as they are faced with the threat of death, 2) that of people who share Almitra’s inquisitiveness and are inspired with wonder by the secret of death and 3) that of the prophet, as he speaks words of comfort and wisdom to those who look, either in terror or wonder, upon the face of death. My hope with this music is to share the comforting words which Gibran has spoken through the character, Almustafa, so that, as they have done for me, these words may provide comfort to those who will stand trembling in the presence of life’s most inevitable consequence.

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  • 2020

Performer and electronic-activated acoustics: three new works for solo percussion and live e lectronics

Description

Technological advancements in computers and audio software and hardware devices in the twenty-first century have led to the expansion of possibilities for music composition, including works for acoustic instruments and

Technological advancements in computers and audio software and hardware devices in the twenty-first century have led to the expansion of possibilities for music composition, including works for acoustic instruments and live electronics. Electroacoustic composition is rapidly and continually evolving, and much that has been written about compositional techniques for percussion and live electronics is becoming outdated. Live electronics include performer-triggered events, audio processing, electronic responses to various inputs, and electronic decision-making during live performances. These techniques can be employed in a variety of ways. This project sheds light on how modern composers of different musical and cultural backgrounds reimagine the use of percussion through the lens of new technologies.

Through the commission, examination, and recording of three new works for solo percussion and live electronics, the author seeks to further explore and highlight electroacoustic compositional techniques for solo percussion. A specific compositional element to be included in these commissioned works is the activation or manipulation of the acoustic properties of percussion instruments by electronic components. The three artists who contributed works are percussionist-composer Jeremy Muller, composer and multimedia artist Jordan Munson, and composer, sound artist, and performer Garth Paine. The creativity demonstrated in their previous works made them desirable candidates for this project. Each of them approached their composition in different ways. In Hysteresis, Muller utilizes a loudspeaker underneath a vibraphone to expand the sound palette of the instrument with microtonal electronic sounds that match the instrument’s timbre. In Where Light Escapes You, Jordan Munson layers various electronic sounds with the vibraphone to create a slowly evolving texture that also incorporates a bass drum and the buzzing of snare drums. In Resonant Textures, Paine spatializes vibraphone, cymbal, and electronic sounds to create a meditative and immersive listening experience. Ultimately, each of the three composers implemented distinctive compositional and performance tools to create new works that provide a glimpse into the future of percussion music.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Establishing a percussion jazz ensemble at the collegiate level: historical context, resource guide, and arrangements

Description

The percussion jazz ensemble is a long-established yet rare component of 21st century percussion studios in the United States. While many American collegiate programs have percussion ensembles that perform jazz-based

The percussion jazz ensemble is a long-established yet rare component of 21st century percussion studios in the United States. While many American collegiate programs have percussion ensembles that perform jazz-based pieces, none are identified as a “percussion jazz ensemble.” This may be for a variety of reasons. Professors may not have considered adding a percussion jazz ensemble to their program because of its scarcity in American universities. Including such a class would be challenging if the instructors did not feel comfortable or familiar enough with jazz idioms and vernacular. Additionally, very few compositions or arrangements are available for this group. While there are several method books on jazz vibraphone, there are no pedagogical resources designed specifically for the percussion jazz ensemble. The purpose of this document is to provide historical context, curricula, resource materials, and arrangements necessary for establishing a percussion jazz ensemble at the collegiate level. The end result will be to demonstrate the importance of an ensemble such as this for aspiring percussionists and motivate institutions focused on Western classical music to incorporate jazz elements into their percussion program. Research conducted for this project was limited to academic universities, pedagogical approaches, and ensembles found only in the United States and will not include a survey of those outside this country.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Instrument design in selected works for solo multiple percussion

Description

Instrument design is intrinsic to multiple percussion solo performance preparation, from formulating a physical layout of instruments that best suit each work's technical requirements to fabricating unique instruments to fulfill

Instrument design is intrinsic to multiple percussion solo performance preparation, from formulating a physical layout of instruments that best suit each work's technical requirements to fabricating unique instruments to fulfill each composer's sonic specifications. Several works in the multiple percussion repertoire require setups comprised partly or entirely of performer-built instruments. Given that performers have varying degrees of expertise with instrument design and construction, the specialized instruments created do not necessarily meet the level of care with which many of the masterworks in the percussion field were created. Even with the many articles, books, and other publications regarding the instrument design issues of specific works, solo percussion literature is so varied that many set-ups are created using a set of nebulous guidelines. Developing solutions to the problems inherent in multiple percussion instrument design is clearly a continuing effort. Instrument and setup design within selected works for solo multiple percussion is the focus of this document and will be addressed through specific examples from literature commonly performed on concert stages and educational institutions. The scope of this document is limited to the widely applicable design issues of three pieces: Maki Ishii's Thirteen Drums: for Percussion Solo, Op. 66 (1985), David Lang's The Anvil The Chorus: for Percussion Solo (1991), and Steve Reich's Music for Pieces of Wood: for claves (1973). The set-up designs for these pieces suggested by the author are largely the focus for which other material in this document is preparatory.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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The Percussion Music of Toshi Ichiyanagi: A Performance Guide of Select Works from 1984-2002

Description

This document examines select percussion works of Toshi Ichiyanagi (b. 1933), in order to create a resource that brings exposure and sparks interest in his percussion music. Ichiyanagi has long

This document examines select percussion works of Toshi Ichiyanagi (b. 1933), in order to create a resource that brings exposure and sparks interest in his percussion music. Ichiyanagi has long been one of Japan’s leading composers. However, despite having a successful career since the 1960s, he is not well-known in the United States. Furthermore, his close associations with celebrated American avant-garde composers and performers like John Cage, David Tudor, and La Monte Young, make Ichiyanagi’s virtual obscurity in the United States even more striking. Particularly, for a field birthed in the avant-garde, it is surprising that many of his percussion compositions avoid mainstream recognition.

For the study, the author prepared and performed a recital of the five works that are discussed: Wind Trace (1984), Trio Interlink (1990), Rhythm Gradation (1993), Perspectives II (1996), and Ballade (2002). The document is a performance guide that also provides background information on each piece. The guide discusses technical and interpretative issues uncovered through firsthand preparation and performance, and provides suggestions to solve them. At the conclusion, the author draws connections between these pieces, to highlight similarities that will be helpful to consider when preparing performances of any of his works involving percussion. Finally, an exhaustive catalog of known Ichiyanagi percussion works is provided as a resource for further performance and research.

Ichiyanagi has been writing for percussion since the 1970s. His catalog includes solos, chamber pieces, ensemble pieces, mixed-chamber pieces, and concerti. With recent compositions like Marimba Scenery (2011), Concerto for marimba and orchestra (2012), and the duo Two Dimensions (2012), Ichiyanagi continues to write for percussion. Virtuosi such as Sumire Yoshihara, Atsushi Sugahara, Momoko Kamiya, and Mutsuko Taneya have commissioned and premiered works by the composer. These pieces are on par with the challenging repertoire that has dominated percussion literature since the mid-twentieth century. Nonetheless, the author has found no existing document that is fully devoted to Ichiyanagi’s percussion work.

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  • 2017

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Phantom Sun: Septet for Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Violin, Cello, and Percussion

Description

Phantom Sun is a ten-minute piece in three sections, and is composed for flute, clarinet in b-flat, violin, cello, and percussion. The three-part structure for this work is a representation

Phantom Sun is a ten-minute piece in three sections, and is composed for flute, clarinet in b-flat, violin, cello, and percussion. The three-part structure for this work is a representation of the atmospheric phenomenon after which the composition is named. A phantom sun, also called a parhelion or sundog, is a weather-related phenomenon caused by the horizontal refraction of sunlight in the upper atmosphere. This refraction creates the illusion of three suns above the horizon, and is often accompanied by a bright halo called the circumzenithal arc. The halo is caused by light bending at 22° as it passes through hexagonal ice crystals. Consequently, the numbers six and 22 are important figures, and have been encoded into this piece in various ways.

The first section, marked “With concentrated intensity,” is characterized by the juxtaposition of tonal ambiguity and tonal affirmation, as well as the use of polymetric counterpoint (often 7/8 against 4/4 or 7/8 against 3/4). The middle section, marked “Crystalline,” provides contrast in its use of unmetered sections and independent tempos. The refraction of light is represented in this movement by a 22-note row based on a hexachord (B-flat, F, C, G, A, E) introduced in measure 164 of the first section. The third section, marked “With frenetic energy,” begins without pause on an arresting entrance of the drums playing an additive rhythmic pattern. This pattern (5+7+9+1) amounts to 22 eighth-note pulses and informs much of the motivic and structural considerations for the remainder of the piece.

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  • 2017