Part 1 - Project 1, Projects

Project 1 – Celtic Drum Solo

I committed my evening to my first task of writing my first project which was to write a small selection of varying studies for different solo un-pitched percussion instruments. My original idea was to write a study in 12/8 for a Bodhran.

I researched this task by listening to the “Irish and Celtic music Podcast” episodes #351 and #347 as well as the brass band score of Peter Grahams “Cry of the Celts” by Peter Graham.

I managed to identify some key features of percussion lines in traditional Celtic music through my critical analysis. In doing this, I noticed that the music was generally grouped as 4 lots of 3 quaver groups, almost a triplet feel. These groupings were either written in 6/8 or 12/8. Another common phrasing was having a crotchet followed by a quaver in one grouping of 3 sub-divisions in a bar – This grouping would often be answered with more tri-grouped quavers.

One issue I had while writing in this key signature was that, in a few circumstances, My Brass Band background meant that I was at risk of making my composition sound more like a 6/8 march. In order to avoid this. I used the semiquaver triplet on the end of a fourth beat in bar 9 and used it again soon after the first beat of bar 10. This was also a technique that I used to maintain listening interest. From bar 10 I incorporated the kind of syncopation I heard in the “Irish and Celtic Music Podcast” in episode number #351. This helped me to avoid the 6/8 march feel that I was concerned about. The ending of this piece of music was inspired by the ending of the third movement of Peter Grahams “Cry of the Celts” as I ended on quavers and accented the last 3 quavers of the final bar.

I found it quite easy to develop a rhythm but I did struggle to transition my different ideas to flow in to one composition. As i progress further on my course I would gradually like to build on one single idea as opposed to having to transition different ideas together.


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