Faded Snapshot is a rather melancholy duet for marimba and vibraphone that looks back on a pair of freinds' college years with fondness, and the memories might be like how one feels when an old, faded photograph is found. The yellow appearance, the creases in the picture, and even the texture of an old picture can conjure many feelings of reflection that perhaps are becoming lost with digital photography.
Genre: Duet for Vibraphone and Marimba | # of Players: 2
Level: Medium | Duration: 10:15
Vibraphone (4 cord mallets, 1 bass bow)
4.5-octave Marimba (4 yarn mallets, 1 bass bow)
Faded Snapshot was composed in 2011 for two of my senior percussion majors at Baker University, Brittany Hines and Scott Ireland. It was performed on both of their respective senior recitals and on our percussion ensemble concert in May 2012. In the summer prior to their senior year, the students requested me to write them a “melancholy-sounding piece in G minor,” so I chose to use the wonderful and close friendship that I watched develop between them over time as inspiration. The title is a reflection of how I hope the students will one day look back on their college years with fondness, and the memories might be like how one feels when an old, faded photograph is found. The yellow appearance, the creases in the picture, and even the texture of an old picture can conjure many feelings of reflection that perhaps are becoming lost with digital photography. The piece emulates the relationship of the two students to one another in a number of musical ways:
• the use of bi-tonality in the introduction and closing
• a pensive melodic motif that is harmonized introspectively with chords firmly rooted in the key signature
• an angular and agitated middle section that strays from the key
• an extended section later in the piece and prior to the recapitulation of the introduction that uses a distinctive composing technique:
In this section, specific names of certain people/things which are of particular interest to the two students were used as alphabetical material for creating melodic and harmonic content using the letters A through G (or substitutes when letters were beyond the 7 letter note names). Many composers have used the alphabet for inspiration in various ways and I first used this particular variation in my 2000 composition Goodbye and Go Begin, which was dedicated to my former percussion professor, George Boberg; thus the notes “G” and “B” (for “George”,” Boberg” , “Go” and “ Begin”) figure prominently in the compositional material. The uses of bass bows by both performers and the motor of the vibraphone also play an important role in the reflective sonority of this work.