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  Weird and wonderful percussion  at385 at 14:29 on 02 March 2006

Can anyone offer me any advice on some decisions for percussion instruments? I'm writing a chamber symphony at the moment and am looking for some interesting percussion ideas. I want sharp attacks with little resonance, the best I've come up with so far is using something like a brake cylinder struck with drumsticks. Does anyone have any experience of using this sort of percussion instrument and any advice on how it carries over an ensemble? Even better, does anyone have any more intersting suggestions?

  Re: Weird and wonderful percussion  John Robertson at 13:01 on 03 March 2006

Hard to know exactly what you're after - best idea is just to experiment. Kitchen pots and pans? A spring (does resonate though)? Does it have to be metalic? What about a table top or a whip-like sound?

  Re: Weird and wonderful percussion  at385 at 13:33 on 03 March 2006

metallic is preffered, I want a new sound but not something that's going to be visually comical! More of an ambiguous percussion sound as in George Benjamin's 'At First Light', here he uses a number of household items but they must be performed out of view of the audience. I guess the main problem is knowing how poewrful sounds are, will they overpower all other percussion and even the other 14 players...?

  Re: Weird and wonderful percussion  flagg at 13:00 on 07 March 2006

take a sampler, you can sample every sound (from nature, something industrial etc.), now you need organize those sounds on pitch (low, midlle, high, XYZ frequency), modulation, envelope etc. and use all this set with electronic percussion pads. No borders in such patent...

  Re: Weird and wonderful percussion  at385 at 13:57 on 07 March 2006

Fair point, although this then relies on the performance environment having the audio setup required to host a sampler, not complicated I know but some ensembles/venues still won't touch 'electronics' with a barge pole. Worth investigating though, cheers.

  Re: Weird and wonderful percussion  pwoxtoby at 15:30 on 15 March 2006

  Re: Weird and wonderful percussion  piargno at 20:04 on 05 April 2006

I would take a look at Schnittke's Violin Concerto - the one with the percussion ensemble in the back. I think he uses a string bass as a percussion instrument. It's an intriguing sound, and doesn't look comical at all. What he does is he lays it flat on a table, and the percussionists strikes near the f-hole with a timpani mallet - or at least I'm remembering it that way from seeing it a while ago...

  Re: Weird and wonderful percussion  at385 at 21:45 on 05 April 2006

Presumably it has to be an old instrument then if you hit it! Is the sound metallic though, wouldn't that make more of a dull thud? Worth investigating though, thanks very much.