Word of Mouth

posted on July 29th 2014 in with 0 Comments

Instrumentation: Percussion Solo

Duration: 12 Minutes

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Premiered by Joseph Pereira, Juilliard School on June 16, 2007

Publisher: Bachovich Music Publications

The challenge of writing a 15-minute piece for drum solo is that it must be based on interesting material and constantly developing.  The challenge for the performer is that he/she must be able show their virtuosity and really make it a personal experience. This middle ground between the two was my starting point. The instruments specified are 4 dry drums, 4 resonant drums and for this performance I’m using 4 bongos and 4 toms.  I wanted the actual sounds of the drums and the natural techniques that occur from the mallets used (stick-bounces, mallet sliding on head-bends pitch, hands dropped down-dead stroke, etc.) to really dictate the piece.  This is ultimately dependent on the player’s unique hands but conformed to the limitations of each beater used. While every note is written out, there is a certain freedom allowed for each player, which makes this in some ways, an autonomous composition.

The title suggests the rhythmic material of which the piece is based on.  Starting with the simple rhythm heard at the opening, it goes through many variations similar to the act of speaking.  As soon as words leave your mouth they are immediately separated from the past. And by the time your story gets around the room, it does not correspond to anything you might have originally said.  This filtering or “forgetting” erases certain things and the “memory” of what we can remember often transforms.