Part 1 - Project 2, Projects

Project 2 – Duets

I wanted to experiment with working with the smallest and largest instruments in the percussion family. I had to analyse the actual functionality of these individual instruments to make the most out of their characters and utilise them to my advantage. As i chose to write for triangle and tam tam I have included in the next paragraph some of the characteristic traits of each of these contrasting  instruments.

The triangle is a rhythmically versatile instrument that can create various sounds depending on how it is used. In order to understand the different aspects of the triangle I listened to a composition from seven beats studio called “impalas shadow.” this piece of music demonstrates how versatile the triangle is. It illustrates how it can play more sophisticated and complex rhythmic figures and express some dynamics. It can also be used as a tool to highlight such aspects of rhythm as syncopation or it can highlight strong beats in the bar. Through choking the triangle you can play faster rhythms with better accuracy and clarity.

The tam-tam, on the other hand has limited rhythmic ability but a hugely proficient dynamic range. I used these strengths and weaknesses to counter-act each other in this jokey study.

In my study I have used various techniques such as call and response, choking and dynamic contrast to complete this project.

In the first two bars the triangle plays a rhythmic phrase. I punctuate the phrase with a crescendo on the tam tam. The following tam-tam part in the next bar is used to compliment the triangle as the triangle dies away. The tam-tam comes in on a weak beat (beat 2) this is so that it catches the listener by surprise. Following this I punctuated the next phrase, the same way as the first, finally drawing the phrase to an end with the tam tam.

Bars 5 and 8 add contrast to the piece. There are less notes, slower rhythms and much simpler techniques. I also subtly changed the way the instruments were used. The tam-tam finished the phrase in bar 5 but then it takes the lead, initiating what is, albeit a basic, call and response passage in bar 7. It then leads the crescendo in to the next section (bars 8-12.)

as the tam-tam crescendos in to bar 8 it starts the next section. The next section carries much more complex rhythms. As a result of this the triangle re-assumes the leading role. The tam tam is then used to highlight the off-beat rhythms where the triangle is choked until I invert the tam tam rhythm so it plays on the beats where the triangle is also ringing out. This then leads to a sombre ending to the study as the tam-tam dimminuendo leads to a very quiet and tranquil last note. The triangle, however, has the last word and carries the punch line of the study with the instruction “play at own leisure” as a fan of the triangle i use this study to describe the triangle as the smallest instrument with the biggest impact.


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