Scintillations

Duration: Indeterminate

Difficulty: ★★★☆☆

Released: 2017

Players: (4) percussion/mallet instruments

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(dedicated to the Vanderbilt Percussion Group)

About “Scintillations”

Scintillation: the process of emitting flashes of light.

“SCINTILLATIONS” is a freeform mallet quartet in two parts which may be played in succession or independently. Suggested instrumentations are 4 marimbas or 2 vibraphones + 2 marimbas, although “SCINTILLATIONS” may be performed on any percussive (or non-percussive) instruments.

“SCINTILLATIONS” was premiered by the Vanderbilt Percussion Group at the Blair School of Music on April 4th, 2018. Clark Hubbard was asked to arrange the piece for non-melodic percussion instruments, and a drums-only version of this piece was premiered by the Eschaton New Music Ensemble on April 25th, 2018. Both (pitched + un-pitched) versions of “SCINTILLATIONS” are included in the score.

PART I
This movement draws inspiration from Peter Garland’s mallet quartet “Apple Blossom.” “SCINTILLATIONS, PART I” is a lush chorale where the chords slowly dissolve into one another. The score is a diagram with the progression of notes indicated spacially [shown below]. The duration of this movement is indicated 6-15 minutes, although the length is ultimately left up to the ensemble.

Notes should be sustained (via rolls, bows, etc) throughout the movement and may also be sustained through the opening of “PART II.” “SCINTILLATIONS, PART 1” should begin at a pianissimo dynamic, but the performers should feel free to swell and grow as they see fit. The indicated pitches may be performed in any octave on the instrument, although treble and bass clef symbols are presented to suggest a general range.

PART II
This movement is similar in spirit to “PART I,” but now includes a rhythmic variable. Each performer is presented with a series of cells/measures that include a set of pitches and a specified “number of attacks.” Each cell may be repeated an infinite number of times, but the entire ensemble should progress to the next cell in unison.

PART II • Rhythmic Notation
Each cell should be approximately 3 seconds in length (alternatively, each cell can be interpreted as the duration of a single quarter note at 20bpm). Above each cell, a specific number of attacks are indicated. Performers may play the number of attacks per cell in any rhythm they desire (ex. if a cell indicates “3 Attacks”, the performer may play a triplet, two 16th notes followed by an eighth note, a dotted eighth note followed by two 32nd notes, etc). The cells may be repeated infinitely and each performer may have a slightly different interpretation of the length of each cell. The performers do not need to play each cell in rhythmic unison but should progress to the next cell at approximately the same time.
PART II • Harmonic Notation
Each cell indicates a single pitch or a series of pitches. Like “PART I,” these may be performed in any register, although a general guide of treble and bass clef is presented. Performers should map the rhythmic component of each cell onto any of the indicated pitches. Performers should avoid double stops, playing only one pitch per attack.

“SCINTILLATIONS” is great for students who want to explore percussion music with unconventional notation and for students looking for a piece that offers communicative + interpretive challenges rather than technical challenges.

*in the linked audio recording, “Part II” of “SCINTILLATIONS” was performed using an earlier edition of the score. In that edition, the rhythms were more rigid and defined. In the current edition, the rhythmic structures are dramatically more free and unpredictable.

Kitchen Music, Part I

Duration: 4:00 (approx.)

Difficulty: ★★★☆☆

Released: 2017

Players: (1) 10 found objects + microwave

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About Kitchen Music

“KITCHEN MUSIC” is an indeterminate piece I wrote to experiment with music notation. I wrote this piece to be played in the kitchen my dorm room at Vanderbilt University (the original setup is pictured in the cover art) hence the name “KITCHEN MUSIC.” This piece can be played in the kitchen or the concert hall.

“KITCHEN MUSIC, PART 1” is great for students interested in multi-percussion music, unconventional notation, improvisation, or with limited access to traditional percussion instruments.

How To Read This Score

For this piece, the score is comprised of three lines of rhythms, and a grid.

  • Along the left side of the grid are the list of instruments: 4 tuned glasses (any pitches), 2 bowls, 2 plates, and 2 other found sounds (originally I found two parts of an oven to play on). The other instrument needed to perform this piece is a microwave.
  • Along the bottom of the grid are measure numbers. Each column is a measure.
  • Along the top of the grid are rhythmic numbers. These numbers correspond to the three lines of rhythms written above the grid.

The score (grid) reads left-to-right. The performer can repeat each measure as many times as they want. Shaded squares indicate the instruments that can be used during that measure. The performer should use all of the instruments indicated in each measure to play the given rhythmic structure. For example – in measure 5, the performer should play rhythm #2 on tuned glasses 1 & 4.

You will notice that in measure one, the indicated rhythm is “W” and in measure fourteen the rhythm is “M.”

  • “W” – Fill Bowl 2 with water and strike Bowl 2 with mallet/stick one time.
  • “M” – Place Bowl 2 in microwave and set it to cook for 30 seconds.

The lines and dots around measures 15 & 16 are meant to indicate that these measures are to be repeated while the water is begin cooked in the microwave.

Performance Notes

Select a microwave that has a repetitive (and potentially annoying) dinging sound when the microwave’s timer goes off. The piece ends with the performer playing rhythm #2 against the rhythm of the microwave’s timer.

To end the piece, it is up to the performer whether or not they will turn off the microwave’s timer at the same time they stop playing, before they stop, or after they stop.

At the beginning of the piece, the performer must fill Bowl 2 with water. In the original setting for this piece, the performer could simply turn to the sink and fill up the bowl (since this piece takes place in a kitchen). To perform this piece in a concert hall, feel free to use other means to fill up the bowl (water bottle, bucket, hose, etc).

Panthers

Duration: 3:36

Difficulty: ★★★☆☆

Released: 2016

Players: (1) kick drum, 4 tenor drums, 2 cymbals, 1 hi-hat, 4 pitched objects

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About “Panthers”

“PANTHERS” was recorded by Clark Hubbard at Vanderbilt University in the spring of 2017 and again at Vanderbilt University in the spring of 2018. “Panthers” was premiered at the Lancaster Kiwanis Club on June 29th, 2016 in Lancaster, Ohio.

“PANTHERS” is a multi-percussion solo written for drum kit + 4 pitched objects. Thematically, “PANTHERS” was inspired by the Wilco song “Panthers” and the multi-percussion solo “Monkey Chant” by Wilco’s drummer: Glenn Kotche.

“PANTHERS” is great for students familiar with drum kit that are looking to explore multi-percussion music or students familiar with multi-percussion that are looking to explore drum kit music.

The setup for “PANTHERS” can vary in size depending on the preferences of the performer. The key elements of the “PANTHERS” setup are:

  • TIME KEEPER: in score as “hi-hat” played by left foot.
  • NON-RESONANT MELODY: in score as “tenor drums”
  • RESONANT MELODY: in score as “4 pitched objects”
  • OTHER: in score as “cymbals” and “kick drum”

The “4 pitched objects” are notated in the score as: F, Eb, C, Bb (descending).
These pitches may be transposed to any key in order to adapt “PANTHERS” to different instruments and sounds.

The following are different variations of setups for “PANTHERS” to illustrate just a few of the many possibilities available.

SETUP A (original setup, indicated in the score) [2016]

  • TIME KEEPER: hi-hat (w/ foot)
  • NON-RESONANT: 4 tenor drums (covered w/ towels)
  • RESONANT: 4 tuned glasses (descending: F, Eb, C, Bb)
  • OTHER: 2 large cymbals (w/ sizzle chains), china cymbal, kick drum
  • MALLETS: Malletech BB34

SETUP B (reduced setup) [2017]

  • TIME KEEPER: hi-hat (w/ foot)
  • NON-RESONANT: 2 tenor drums (covered w/ towels)
  • RESONANT: 4 crotales (descending: F, Eb, C, Bb)
  • OTHER: china cymbal, kick drum
  • MALLETS: VicFirth SD1

SETUP C (Nashville setup) [2017]

  • TIME KEEPER: hi-hat (w/ foot)
  • NON-RESONANT: 4 tenor drums (covered w/ towels)
  • RESONANT: 4 tuned metal pipes (descending: F#, E, C#, B)
  • OTHER: 2 large cymbals, china cymbal, kick drum
  • MALLETS: Malletech BB34

SETUP D (LOUD setup) [2018]

  • TIME KEEPER: hi-hat (w/foot)
  • NON-RESONANT: 3 tenor drums (un-muted)
  • RESONANT: 4 large metal pipes (pitches were not a direct transposition of those indicated in the score)
  • OTHER: china cymbal, tam-tam, kick drum
  • MALLETS: ProMark Shira Kashi Oak “Rock Knocker”

SETUP E (soft setup) [2018]

  • TIME KEEPER: analog metronome
  • NON-RESONANT: 3 wooden slats
  • RESONANT: 4 glockenspiel keys (descending: F, Eb, C, Bb)
  • OTHER: opera gong
  • MALLETS: Malletech BB34