Combining the energy and drive of west African agbadzah drumming with the melodic capabilities of the marimba into a tour-de-force for the solo marimbist, Marimbadzah is an explosive, driving piece that works equally well as a program opener or closer.
Genre: Marimba (4-mallet) | # of Players: 1 Level: Medium | Duration: 11:00
Instrumentation Marimba [4.3-octave]
Program Notes The title, Marimbadzah, combines two words – marimba, the instrument for which the piece was composed, and agbadzah, the African drumming style upon whose rhythms the composition is based. The energetic music of agbadzah comes from the West African country of Ghana; its interlocking drum rhythms propel the dance that it accompanies. The rhythmic constant of agbadzah is its signature bell rhythm, played on a pair of cowbell-like bells. The several layers of drum rhythms weave through and around the constant bell rhythm, creating music with tremendous drive and rhythmic tension. Marimbadzah is my attempt to capture the rhythms and energy of agbadzah within the melodic context of the marimba. The signature bell rhythm is heard constantly. First, it functions as a bass accompaniment to the right-hand melody (the rhythms of which are derived from the drum parts), and, in shifted form, as treble accompaniment to a brief left-hand melody. Next, it is fragmented and played against itself before finally returning as bass accompaniment. The piece is conceived rhythmically; pitches and melodic shapes, with their qualities of consonance and dissonance, are used to highlight the flow of rhythmic tension and release inherent in agbadzah.