This week’s class saw us still in the early 20th Century with the key work this time being Ionisation by Edgard Varèse.
I remember hearing this for the first time when I was in my 20s and it just completely blew me away: music with no notes, organized sound.
Of course outside of the Western tradition percussion music is relatively common. Whilst in London I went to see South Korean percussion group SamulNori a couple of times:
Stunning. And of course we have various modern interpretations, an obvious one being Richie Hawtin thrashing an 808:
Or here’s another: not quite strictly adhering to the “rules” as it includes some tonal material but it’s an excellent track and of course we love Dave dearly:
Anyway. After absorbing these tasty drum treats we (myself and aforementioned MA Creative Sound Production students) agreed a basic set of compositional rules for this week’s exercise:
- Drum & Percussion sounds only.
- No notes.
- No sampled loops.
- Can’t all be in 4/4.
We are exploring:
- Time signature.
- Frequency range.
- Contrast (dynamics, frequency, etc.)
- Human “feel” or expression.
And to cut a long story short, here’s my attempt: