The word Kymbalon in Greek can be translated as cymbal. Many cymbals and gongs are used in the music along with other percussion instruments to allow for a melody.
Genre: Percussion Ensemble | # of Players: 9
Level: Medium | Duration: 11:00
Percussion 1 (Suspended Cymbal, Tam-Tam, Bells, Crotales)
Percussion 2 (Suspended Cymbal, Tam-Tam, Chimes, Marimba, Temple Blocks)
Percussion 3 (Suspended Cymbal, Tam-Tam, Chimes, Marimba)
Percussion 4 (Suspended Cymbal, Tam-Tam, Vibraphone)
Percussion 5 (Suspended Cymbal, Tam-Tam, Bass Marimba, Tambourine)
Percussion 6 (Suspended Cymbal, Tam-Tam, 4 High Toms, High Finger Cymbals)
Percussion 7 (Suspended Cymbal, Tam-Tam, 4 Low Toms, Low Finger Cymbals)
Percussion 8 (Suspended Cymbal, Tam-Tam, Wind Chimes, Surdo)
Percussion 9 (Suspended Cymbal, Tam-Tam, Bass Drum, 4 Timpani)
The word Kymbalon in Greek can be translated as cymbal. I have always been fascinated by the sounds of these metallic instruments and the mysticism that is sometimes attached to them by different cultures. I focused on writing a piece using a variety of cymbals, gongs, and tam tams in relative harmonic relationships. After some thought I realized that there might be too much of a good thing listening to constant metallic sounds that were not able to produce a melody (even though Karlheinz Stockhausen had written a twenty minute piece forty years ago for a single large tam tam whose sounds were constantly being reorganized by electronic means). I needed a melody and also decided to use other percussion sounds along with the cymbals and gongs. Since I decided to use the Greek word "Kymbalon" I began some research into ancient Greek music. I came upon a melody titled Skolion or Seikilos Song, attributed to a Greek musician named Seikilos, written in the 2nd or 1st century B.C.. The song begins with the words “Hoson zes”, which means “While you live.” The words were an epitaph to Seikilos’ wife and written on an ancient tomb discovered in 1883. I hope the composer does not object to my connecting with his composition in the 21st century. There have been some scholarly concerns about the rhythm of the original melody being alien to music of the period, but I liked it anyway and it fit perfectly with a pulse of 5 beats which is used frequently in contemporary Greek music. Kymbalon is a series of settings or variations, first in declarative 5/4 and ending in dancing 5/8 time. Many cymbals and gongs are used in the music. The premier took place April 22, 2004 at the Louisiana State University College of Music and Dramatic Arts and was conducted by the composer.