Excerpt: Rehearsals E–M

Excerpt performed by Aidan Gold

This piece explores various timbres and extended techniques of the timpani such as harmonics, different striking positions, different mallets, and the resonant frequencies of the drums as they glissando into each other’s pitches while the other drums are still resonating.

The piece begins with bursts of repeated notes emerging out of a roll on the lowest timpani. This gradually builds up to a distant melodic line played on the edges of the higher drums using a yarn mallet- a complex, barely pitched sound. From this, the music gradually picks up energy, with the glissandos between the lowest two drums picking up speed, until the music moves into a continuous stream of sixteenth notes. This long, central section is played with the right hand holding a wood timpani mallet, and the left a hard felt one played in the center of the drums, as if two different percussion instruments were interlocking. Multiple processes build up around each other until the sixteenth notes break down in the center of the drums. The repeated notes then echo as harmonics in a brief interlude, before the music picks up again, this time without the regularity of the constant stream of sixteenths from the previous section. This builds up to the climax of the work, where the sixteenth notes from the opening return and push the music to the bottom of the lowest timpani. At the end, a fragment of the melodic passage from the opening attempts to return, but is stopped by the repeated figure from the very opening and the climax, which eventually dissolves into the darkness of the low roll to end the piece.

For additional information, questions, or parts requests, contact Aidan.