Written to explore the multiple roles of the drumset, Concerto for Drumset and Percussion Ensemble divides into three sections, each treating the drumset in a unique way. The first treats the instrument as a classical multi-percussion set-up. The second treats the instrument much more melodically by utilizing the differences in pitch between the drums and cymbals. The third and final section allows the drumset to do what it specializes in – GROOVE!
Genre: Solo Drumset with Percussion Ensemble | # of Players: 8 + solo
Level: Medium Difficult | Duration: 12:00
Solo Drumset (Snare Drum, 2 Rack Toms, Floor Tom, Kick Drum, Hi-Hat, Ride Cymbal, Crash Cymbal, 2 Assorted Cymbals [Crash, Splash, China])
Player 1 (Glockenspiel, Bowed Vibraphone)
Player 2 (Vibraphone)
Player 3 (4-octave Marimba, Xylophone)
Player 4 (4.3-octave Marimba)
Player 5 (5-octave Marimba)
Player 6 (Timpani [4 or 5 drums])
Player 7 (Woodblock, Triangle, Crotales [2 octaves, shared with Player 8], Suspended Cymbal, Tambourine, Tam-Tam [shared with Player 8])
Player 8 (Shaker, 4 Tom-Toms, Concert Bass Drum, Suspended Cymbal, Finger Cymbals, Crotales [shared with Player 7], Tam-Tam [shared with Player 7])
I wrote this piece as a way to explore the multiple roles of the drumset. Although it is typically considered a member of the rhythm section, I believe that the multitude of timbres available allows for more depth than simply keeping time or setting a groove. Despite this intent to explore, I intentionally refrained from attempting to encompass everything that is possible on this instrument. For instance, I did not utilize brushes or rods. Ultimately, the drumset has a lot to offer, and this piece is intended to give one interpretation of some of the possibilities.
Concerto for Drumset and Percussion Ensemble is written in three sections. The first section treats the drumset as a collection of instruments and sounds – essentially as a multiple-percussion instrument. The focus of the writing is less on coordination of different limbs, and more in creating cohesive thematic material using the various sounds available.
The second section uses the drumset to create and develop melodic material. While the snare drum (with snares off) is the central instrument, the differences in pitch between the different drums and cymbals allow for melodic contour to be suggested and absorbed.
The final section allows the drumset to do what the drumset typically is used for - groove. This section alternates between soloistic fills and different grooves. The 9/4 meter is divided as 5(3+2), 5(3+2), 5(3+2), 3. Although cadenza material is provided, the soloist should feel free to use that time to allow his or her own voice to emerge. The written cadenza may be followed literally, used as inspiration, or thrown out entirely. Additionally, from measures 410-419, the soloist may improvise different sound effects on various drums and cymbals, so long as an overall effect of decay is felt.
Generally, rim shots are not intended to be loud, unless accented. Also, unless marked otherwise, cymbals and triangles should ring freely.
- Jamie Whitmarsh