Using common band room instruments, Passport provides an engaging challenge for an older middle-school or a younger high-school percussion octet. Each player will require a strong sense of rhythm and dynamic expression to bring this musical journey to life. Flowing melody, lush textures, and driving rhythms make this piece a great addition to any concert.
Genre: Percussion Ensemble | # of Players: 8
Level: Medium | Duration: 3:30
Player 1: Glockenspiel, Bongos
Player 2: Vibraphone
Player 3: Marimba (4-octave)*
Player 4: Marimba (4.3-octave)*
Player 5: Congas, Suspended Cymbal
Player 6: Suspended Cymbal, Triangle, Wind Chimes
Player 7: Bass Drum
Player 8: 4 Timpani
*Players 3 & 4 may share one 4.3-octave marimba.
While reviewing scales with one of my middle school percussion classes, I pointed out a feature of the E-flat scale’s layout on the keyboard. A set of notes quickly jumped out, as well as the number sequence 1-2-2-2-1. The set of notes, which make up an Fm7 chord, grew into the first and last section of the piece. In fact, minus the occasional B-flat, the only notes all mallet players use in those sections are E-flat, F, Ab, or C. There is a slight tonal shift in the middle section, during which the number sequence 1-2-2-2-1 inspires several rhythms used around the ensemble.
Because a small, fixed set of notes is used for much of the piece, the overall mood is reminiscent of various folk music traditions from around the world. Without a specific culture in mind, I hope that Passport can simply be a means for an enjoyable musical journey.