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Program Notes: Water Droplets

 

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I began the piece using the steps going down the scale; the Xylophone part starting on B and going down to F, the Vibraphone 1 part starting on D and going down to A, and Vibraphone 2 part starting on F and going down to C. After the opening, I developed a pattern beginning with in the Treble Clef part of the Vibraphone 1, then the Bass Clef part of the Vibraphone 2, then the Xylophone part, then the Bass Drum part, then the Timpani part, then the Bass Clef part of the Vibraphone 1, and then the Treble Clef part of the Vibraphone 1 part. Each pattern contained three parts. Part 1 used a pattern of using two motifs and then adding a new motif behind the first two each time the grouping of motifs repeated. (The concept of repeating continued four times and then moved to part 2 of the pattern) Part 2 used the pattern used in the pieces opening. Part 3 used a form of the Timpani part from the opening of the piece. (Instead of repeating the same measure over and over again, part 3 used the first measure then the retrograde of that measure for the second, and then repeated these two measures.) The idea of the closing of the piece was the same as the opening, but instead of going down the scale went up; the Xylophone part starting on an A and going up to a D, the Treble Clef part of the Vibraphone 1 part starting on a D and going up to a G, the Treble Clef part of the Vibraphone 2 part starting on an F and going up to a C, the Bass Clef part of the Vibraphone 1 part starting on a D and going up to an E, the Bass Clef part of the Vibraphone 2 part starting on an F and going up to a G. Throughout the piece, I used dotted half notes for the Xylophone, Vibraphone 1, Vibraphone 2, and Timpani when they weren't using the 3 part pattern and eighth notes for the Bass Drum part.

- The mood/atmosphere of the music creates the feeling of water droplets dripping and hitting a surface; the Timpani and Bass Drum part represents larger water droplets, the Xylophone, Vibraphone 1, and Vibraphone 2 part represents smaller water droplets, and the different dynamics represent the strength of the water droplet hitting the surface. The opening and closing of the piece's structure is based on scales either going up or down. The middle of the piece's structure is based on the 3 part pattern beginning with the sets of repetition and addition of motifs, followed by the scale going down into a half note with a trill, and then a variation of the timpani part from the opening. The middle of the piece is structured so that it forms a palindrome of the order the instrumental parts appear: The first and last instrument to play the pattern is the Treble Clef part of the Vibraphone part, the second and sixth instrument to play the pattern is the Bass Clef part of the Vibraphone part, the third instrument (Xylophone) and the fifth instrument (Timpani) both share the same pattern although they are not the same instrument, and the forth instrument is the Bass Drum because it never changes notes but the rhythm changes. The texture of the music is homophonic because it uses multiple voices, but only the main pattern stands out and the other melodies do not.

 

- The genre of music percussion ensemble is a musical ensemble consisting of only percussion instruments. Examples of percussion instruments are: snare drum, bass drum, timpani, tom-tom, marimba, wood block, xylophone, and vibraphone. Percussion instruments can be any object that produces its sound by being hit with an implement, shaken, rubbed, scraped, or by any other action which sets the object into vibration. Typically, percussion ensembles are found at conservatories and schools. Types of percussion ensembles include: drumlins, indoor percussion ensembles, marching percussion, and pit.

 

- The evolution of chamber music in the 20th century allowed composers to seek out new sound colors, try different instrument combinations, and create more difficult music. The development of new techniques allowed composers to broaden the opportunities in their composition of music. Some of these new developments include: impressionism, expressionism, atonalism, neo-classicism, and indeterminism. The composers could use impressionism to create a descriptive impression rather than an exact image in the music. Impressionism creates a mood or atmosphere for the listener by using melody, harmony, color, rhythm, and form.

 

- The use of one pattern and having it being played by one instrument then another worked well because it allowed every instrument to have the main pattern at some point in the piece. The use of a systematic pattern did not work so well because it allowed for little contrast between parts. The strongest aspects of the work are the use of the main pattern by every instruments and the use of different dynamics for each part of the pattern because it added variety by one instrument to play the main idea the entire piece. The weakest aspects of the work are the repetition of the not allowing main pattern over and over again because it was systematic and the listener can tell what the next thing is going to happen. Through doing this composition, I have learned how to use the repetition of a main pattern through a piece and to add contrast by mixing up parts of the pattern to add suspense for the listener.

Evan McIntyre