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Metadrum, 2011 :

Metadrum was written for a chamber ensemble with one on a part; however, larger ensembles could work as well. The winds might be doubled and the strings tripled, for example. So long as the rhythmic clarity is preserved larger forces can be explored.

Metadrum is basically a double percussion concerto. The drumming patterns should always be clear, though the other parts need to be heard. Typically, there are three layers: drone, melodic material, and then the drumming patterns. For example, from letter B (m. 92) to letter C (m. 221) the percussion parts are the foreground material. The repeated Cs in the piano and other instruments are obviously drone material, and the four bar melodies support and color the drumming. The drummers should play naturally and with full volume when notated, but it’s important that the four bar melodies be heard, otherwise the tension and release in the drumming patterns won’t be audible. Depending on the players and the hall, this may necessitate some adjustments of the written dynamics.

The tuned drums in Percussion 1’s part are the small, tunable tamborins used in Brazilian music, and also in Steve Reich’s Tehillim. No matter how carefully they are tuned, their intonation will be slightly “off” from the marimba, which is what I want. However, if it is impossible to procure those drums another marimba may be used. The second marimba should be noticeably out of tune from the first one if possible. Hard rubber mallets are essential to make the polyrhythms “chatter.”