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When You Hear the Drum (Download)

for percussion ensemble
Level: Med-Easy
Duration: 4:45
Personnel: 10
State Lists: Texas
Release Date: 2017
Delivery Method: Direct Download
Product ID : TSPCE17-012DL
Price: $32.00
Item #: TSPCE17-012DL

Formats Available:



Description

In When You Hear the Drum, Brian Slawson combines two anonymous traditional chants, “Sing We Now of Christmas” and “Fife & Drum,” into a modern groove-oriented holiday jam. There are opportunities for soloists to improvise, various syncopated rhythmic challenges, and tons of textural variety for the young percussion ensemble to sink their teeth into. A holiday program would definitely benefit from this little gem!

When You Hear the Drum was commissioned by Jim McCarl and The Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy Percussion Ensemble from Melbourne, Florida.

Instrumentation

Chimes*
Glockenspiel
Xylophone
Marimba—low A**
2 Timpani (in A & D)
Drumset (rack tom, floor tom, kick drum, large crash cymbal)
Drums (bongos, 2 hand drums (high, low) snare drum, 2 concert toms, concert bass drum)
Cymbals & gongs (2 pairs of crash cymbals, 3 suspended cymbals, large tam tam***, small tam tam)
Accessories (2 pairs of claves, tambourine, triangle, maraca, vibraslap, finger cymbals, temple blocks)
Piano

*Shared between Chimes and Xylophone

**Shared between two marimba players

***Shared between Snare drum and Piano

Reviews

“When You Hear the Drum” was commissioned by Jim McCarl and e Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy Percussion Ensemble from Melbourne, Florida. In one five-minute piece, Brian Slawson has managed to cleverly combine two well-known traditional chants: “Sing We Now of Christmas” and “Fife & Drum.” The arrangement is packaged in such a way that it’s accessible to almost any group of students. Parts are included on a compact disc for repeated printing (handy if students tend to lose parts!). One note for directors: the size of the score makes for laborious reading, since it’s printed on 8. 5 x 11 paper in landscape format. 

The tune begins sparsely, with solo floor tom (presumably to emulate a large Renaissance-type drum). Other instruments are slowly added to build a rhythmic texture, and then the melodic material arrives, given to the piano, glockenspiel, and marimba. Slawson does an admirable job of orchestrating these two folk chants. The melody parts are not doubled and are split between the different keyboards in an interesting fashion. The accessory parts are all properly scored and require no extended techniques. A successful performance of this tune will require players to employ a sense of long-term phrasing and accompany sensitively on all instruments. 

The mallet technique required is minimal. These two-mallet parts are playable by students with little keyboard experience. “When You Hear the Drum” is appropriate for middle school and high school ensembles looking for an addition to their holiday concert program. It’s far too easy for college level players, and even high school students may get bored by the lack of advanced material. Stronger players in the ensemble should be given parts that allow solo improvisation in the culminating section, namely the hand drum, drumset, and Latin percussion parts.

Philip O'Banion
Percussive Notes
Vol. 56, No. 2, May 2018

Description

In When You Hear the Drum, Brian Slawson combines two anonymous traditional chants, “Sing We Now of Christmas” and “Fife & Drum,” into a modern groove-oriented holiday jam. There are opportunities for soloists to improvise, various syncopated rhythmic challenges, and tons of textural variety for the young percussion ensemble to sink their teeth into. A holiday program would definitely benefit from this little gem!

When You Hear the Drum was commissioned by Jim McCarl and The Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy Percussion Ensemble from Melbourne, Florida.

Instrumentation

Chimes*
Glockenspiel
Xylophone
Marimba—low A**
2 Timpani (in A & D)
Drumset (rack tom, floor tom, kick drum, large crash cymbal)
Drums (bongos, 2 hand drums (high, low) snare drum, 2 concert toms, concert bass drum)
Cymbals & gongs (2 pairs of crash cymbals, 3 suspended cymbals, large tam tam***, small tam tam)
Accessories (2 pairs of claves, tambourine, triangle, maraca, vibraslap, finger cymbals, temple blocks)
Piano

*Shared between Chimes and Xylophone

**Shared between two marimba players

***Shared between Snare drum and Piano

Reviews

“When You Hear the Drum” was commissioned by Jim McCarl and e Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy Percussion Ensemble from Melbourne, Florida. In one five-minute piece, Brian Slawson has managed to cleverly combine two well-known traditional chants: “Sing We Now of Christmas” and “Fife & Drum.” The arrangement is packaged in such a way that it’s accessible to almost any group of students. Parts are included on a compact disc for repeated printing (handy if students tend to lose parts!). One note for directors: the size of the score makes for laborious reading, since it’s printed on 8. 5 x 11 paper in landscape format. 

The tune begins sparsely, with solo floor tom (presumably to emulate a large Renaissance-type drum). Other instruments are slowly added to build a rhythmic texture, and then the melodic material arrives, given to the piano, glockenspiel, and marimba. Slawson does an admirable job of orchestrating these two folk chants. The melody parts are not doubled and are split between the different keyboards in an interesting fashion. The accessory parts are all properly scored and require no extended techniques. A successful performance of this tune will require players to employ a sense of long-term phrasing and accompany sensitively on all instruments. 

The mallet technique required is minimal. These two-mallet parts are playable by students with little keyboard experience. “When You Hear the Drum” is appropriate for middle school and high school ensembles looking for an addition to their holiday concert program. It’s far too easy for college level players, and even high school students may get bored by the lack of advanced material. Stronger players in the ensemble should be given parts that allow solo improvisation in the culminating section, namely the hand drum, drumset, and Latin percussion parts.

Philip O'Banion
Percussive Notes
Vol. 56, No. 2, May 2018



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