Drum Circle
for 4 percussionists
 
Year: 2002
 
Duration: 6'
 
First Performance: 18 September 2002 Capitol; Stockholm, Sweden
  Kroumata Percussion Ensemble  
 
Instrumentation:
I= med susp.cym/7” tom-t/bongos/wbl; II= tam-t/10” tom-t/tabla or small djembe/ xyl; III= BD/
large susp.cym/13” tom-t/large djembe/large tbl/mar; IV= 4 or 5 timp/16” tom-t/ log drum/conga
 
 

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Program Notes

From a technical standpoint, Drum Circle is about the transformation of range and sound from one group of instruments to another. The piece begins with mostly unpitched, membranophones (the timpani is the exception, as it plays a small, five note motive that is repeated throughout the piece), and then moves on to a substantial section in which hand drums take over. From these drums, wooden percussion instruments are introduced (wood block, temple block, and log drum) from which the xylophone emerges. Once the xylophone is established, the marimba joins in, and over the course of the two future movements of the work, vibraphone, crotales, steel drums, other metal instruments, and eventually a drum set will gradually take over as the piece develops and grows.

On a trip to Grenada, Spain in 1998 and a subsequent trip to Los Angeles, CA a couple years later, I encountered the not-so-rare occurence of people getting together with various drums (usually hand drums) to play together in what is commonly called a 'drum circle.' A somewhat bohemian affair, I always enjoyed participating and listening, and was even occasionally amazed at the level of group chemistry that could occur between several dozen people all pounding away mercilessly on their drums. The title Drum Circle is taken from this phenomena, and is most directly alluded to in the section of the piece that features the bongos, table, djembe, and conga.

Drum Circle was first performed by the Swedish percussion ensemble Kroumata in September of 2002 in Stockholm, Sweden, and was funded in part by the city of Charleston, SC Office of Cultural Affairs and the city of North Charleston Cultural Arts Program through their joint administration of the Lowcountry Quarterly Arts Grant Program and the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

   

 

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