Large setups vs. the human body

The Finite Nature of Limbs:

It can be tempting to utilize the kitchen sink when writing for percussion; why not, right? Well, aside from the financial aspect (which will be discussed in its own article), you run the risk of writing a truly impossible — not just highly difficult — but truly impossible piece of music.

Consider the beater:

There are so, so many ways one can make a sound via striking something. Anything from slapping a hand on your leg to slamming a hammer on a box is fair game, and even those might be considered tame ideas at this point. While I wouldn’t caution against creativity on what you use as a beater, I would emphasize the importance of understanding the consequences of holding certain beaters.

Let’s start with a simple one:

  1. Vibraphone and triangle
    1. insert example here
  2. marimba and timpani
    1. insert example here
  3. Vibraphone and crotales


If you’re looking for a way out of a difficult situation, see if you can find a moment where the percussionist can rest (or simply play less) to allow a change in the hands.


Listening Suggestions:

Feldman — King of Denmark