March 3, 2009
I’m orchestrating the new piece, and I’m having a hell of a time with some of it. I always write to short score first, that is, with piano sounds playing the majority of the material. I know what a lot of solo lines will be, but a lot of stuff starts out with just a piano for playback. This is sometimes problematic, particularly when I write something that sounds good in a piano, but is actually physically impossible to play on a piano.
The current piece has a long-repeated accompaniment that simply alternates between two pitches. Are there any percussionists out there who could take a quick look at this page and tell me if the marimba part is possible at quarter note=124? It isn’t possible on piano — not at this speed, by any normal pianist. I had it split between marimba and vibes — that is, the vibes playing the top note, and the marimba playing the bottom note, so it was split between two players — but I like the sound of this better. I guess if it’s not possible for one marimba player playing with four mallets, it might be fine with two players at the same marimba — but that’s probably way too tight at the instrument, and I would worry that their mallets would get tangled up. That’s my worry about this figure in general — that it’s at a place on the instrument where the bars aren’t large enough to make this possible. Thoughts? Here’s the sample page, fully orchestrated Check out the figure that starts at measure 154, noting the key signature, and keep in mind that it’s going to repeat that figure for quite a while…