Dichotomous Figures - concerto for percussion
Dichotomous Figures was originally a solo piece for multiple percussion. It was a compositional experiment exploring the process of alternate notation and it was also my first piece for multiple percussion. It featured a cadenza and other soloistic/virtuosic moments that lent it to be similar to a concerto. The idea of actually extracting the ideas into a concerto was mentioned in passing between percussionist Keegan Sheehy and I in early Spring 2012. It was not long after then when he officially commissioned me to write it for his recital in Fall 2012 and to audition for the Ithaca College Concerto Competition. I accepted this challenge and began with the two-piano reduction over the summer.
Dichotomous Figures explores phrasal and spatial applications of the concepts of circle and square. The terms “round” and “jagged” are also explored in a similar fashion. The soloist, to represent these concepts spatially and timbrally, uses a few extended techniques (e.g. the traditional thumb roll applied nontraditionally, timpani bowl hits, a music stand as an instrument). The opening clusters are scattered all about the piece to represent jaggedness. There are strict mixed meters that also incorporate jagged unevenness and discomfort. The square, or “jagged” ideas, are signified by repetitive symmetric grooves and ostinatos and phrases using duple divisions. Repeating grooves in asymmetric meters and ostinatos and phrases with non-duple subdivisions, often represents the circular, or “round” ideas. These concepts overlap quite frequently throughout the piece and are even expressed melodically a harmonically with symmetric whole-tone and octatonic collections versus asymmetric modal melodies. After the cadenza a new interpretation of a recurring theme is presented to bring us to the end of the piece where the idea that neither of the two opposing styles (circle vs. square, round vs. jagged) has taken on a singular existence in the entire piece.
Program Note by R. Aaron Walters
Due to the loud nature of the percussion set up, the reduction had to be written for two pianos, best performed with the lids off. Here is a video of that version!
This reduction can be included in the purchase of the wind ensemble or orchestra versions if needed for rehearsal purchases for an additional small fee. To obtain this, just email me or put it in the note when you purchase!
To purchase this reduction as a stand alone piece look here or buy below.
*The piano parts are formatted at 11"x14". I recommend printing on tabloid (11"x17") and cutting off the bottom 3" before binding.