Finishing the Piece With Percussion (sound file included)

There is now some hope that I can claim my life back.  I believe that I have officially finished the band piece.

The music for the wind players was finished nearly 2 weeks ago.  The percussion was left to be done.  And, for me, percussion is like dynamics. Sure, they’re important, but I’d rather write REAL notes.

Not that I’d admit that to my wife, for I’m married to an orchestral and world percussionist.  She likes nothing better than to be in the real driver’s seat of an orchestra – seated right in front of four timpani.  When you get down to it, if the timpanist doesn’t follow the conductor, nobody does.

It’s very tempting to ask Maria to help me with writing percussion.  The walls of our music studio are filled with various percussion instruments – collected from a continuing lifelong effort to have at hand every possible musical sound one could want to make.  If I do end up asking her for help, who knows what instruments I might end up putting into the score.  So, it is probably just as well that our schedules do not line up, and she is usually unable to offer me help.

The nice thing about writing percussion music is that I don’t need to sit at the piano.  Usually, I’m sitting in the arm chair in the living room, with a quiet house, waving my arms frantically as I accompany my computer’s rendition of the band piece with my air cymbals, air snare, air bass drum … you name it.  Sometimes I even keep the curtains closed so I don’t scare the neighbors.

And so, these past 2 weeks, I worked the percussion parts into the score, squeezing in time for the project between the other pressures of life (in the past two weeks since finishing the “REAL” notes, I’ve also taught my piano students, filed my taxes, finished two other works for choir that are to be premiered in June, taken care of a sick wife, worked on our upcoming music festival, practiced, and slept a little).

And, now it’s done.  I’m glad to hear and see the final project with the percussion.  I must admit, the “REAL” notes do sound much better with the percussion.  And I think that the band students will really enjoy the piece with the extra energy of the back row added in.

I do have one confession that I must make to Dan, the band director.  I’m going to have to explain that tonight, as I was finishing the last few measures of the piece, I asked Maria for some ideas on one area.  I did get some good ideas, but I also ended up with two extra instruments in the back of the band.  At least Maria said that Dan could borrow them from her wall if he didn’t have them …

Here’s what the computer makes the finished piece sound like: A Day In The Life


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