The last of these short percussion solos is written for timpani. To me this instrument has a very bold sound, so I was thinking of it in the context of an announcement of sorts (maybe for a theatrical production for example). I used rests as well as rolls/trills to give a sense of anticipation.
For my second example of solo percussion composition I chose the maracas. This reminds me of Spanish and Latin style rhythms, so I wrote it with a kind of flamenco style dance in mind. It uses alternate bars of straight beats and syncopation which I think helps drive the dance forward.
My third example is written for bongos, in 5/4 time. I was inspired to use bongos after listening to Steve Reich’s composition ‘Drumming’ as part of my research (see my Listening Notes). Bongos are traditional instruments in African cultures, and for me invoke associations of ritual ceremonies. I used rests to build up the tension leading to a climax at the end.
The first project focuses on exploring rhythm using untuned percussion instruments. I started by composing a short example for solo woodblock. I played around with symmetry here, ending the example with the same rhythm as the start but with the two parts reversed.
Note: this should really be notated on a two line stave but I’m still getting to grips with the notation software…