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Work of Fiction, A (Download)

for marimba quartet
Level: Med-Advanced
Duration: 5:35
Personnel: 4 players
Release Date: 2018
Product ID : TSPCE18-008DL
Price: $32.00
Item #: TSPCE18-008DL

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Description

Tyler Nechamkin's stirring marimba quartet, A Work of Fiction, is meant to represent a "choose-your-own audible adventure" rather than any specific fictional creation. The drama within the piece is created through the use of several compositional devices that are simple but effective. For instance, scattered throughout the piece (between players and within their respective parts) are the dissonant intervals of an augmented fifth and a major seventh. These intervals provide an angsty harmonic backdrop for another compositional device, imitation. Throughout the work, the individual parts echo one another, in some cases precisely imitated and in other cases slightly modified. This use of imitation suggests a deep, meaningful conversation between characters in a novel, where sometimes they agree and sometimes they disagree. 



Instrumentation

2–3 marimbas*—(1) 4-octave, (1) low E, (1) low C

* If three marimbas aren’t available, this piece can be performed on two instruments with M2+M4 sharing a 5-octave (low C) instrument.

Reviews

Tyler Nechamkin describes his new quartet as a “choose-your-own audible adventure.” It is meant to depict different types of interactions between characters in a story, such as argumentative or cooperative, by using melodic and rhythmic dialogues between the players. Most of the melodic content is based in stepwise sixteenth-note figures over eighth-note or quarter-note ostinati. Groupings of these notes are then traded between the upper three players. The bass marimbist lays down the necessary ostinati to keep the ensemble grounded among all the quick melodies that are flying by. Metrically, most of the piece is in 5/4, giving it a natural sense of unease. In terms of technique, every player only needs a pair of mallets, and nothing written is faster than sixteenth notes, though the fast tempo makes those rhythms rather brisk.

Nechamkin does a nice job in the beginning and ending of the work incorporating different rhythms to add deviation from the mostly duple composition. This includes a section with dotted-eighth notes that contrast nicely to the bass ostinato. When this idea is traded among the upper voice, it gives a sense of the characters in question being in their own worlds, a tasteful use of disjointed lines. It is a shame that this idea is used so briefly. Expanding on it or returning to it in the back half of the piece would help break the rhythmic monotony of sixteenth notes against eighth notes, which makes up most of the composition. 


"A Work of Fiction" is suitable for a collegiate percussion chamber group. Its need for only one pair of mallets per player and limited rhythmic vocabulary makes all the four parts appropriate for any intermediate marimbist.

–Kyle Cherwinski
Percussive Notes
Vol. 57, No. 1, March 2019

Description

Tyler Nechamkin's stirring marimba quartet, A Work of Fiction, is meant to represent a "choose-your-own audible adventure" rather than any specific fictional creation. The drama within the piece is created through the use of several compositional devices that are simple but effective. For instance, scattered throughout the piece (between players and within their respective parts) are the dissonant intervals of an augmented fifth and a major seventh. These intervals provide an angsty harmonic backdrop for another compositional device, imitation. Throughout the work, the individual parts echo one another, in some cases precisely imitated and in other cases slightly modified. This use of imitation suggests a deep, meaningful conversation between characters in a novel, where sometimes they agree and sometimes they disagree. 



Instrumentation

2–3 marimbas*—(1) 4-octave, (1) low E, (1) low C

* If three marimbas aren’t available, this piece can be performed on two instruments with M2+M4 sharing a 5-octave (low C) instrument.

Reviews

Tyler Nechamkin describes his new quartet as a “choose-your-own audible adventure.” It is meant to depict different types of interactions between characters in a story, such as argumentative or cooperative, by using melodic and rhythmic dialogues between the players. Most of the melodic content is based in stepwise sixteenth-note figures over eighth-note or quarter-note ostinati. Groupings of these notes are then traded between the upper three players. The bass marimbist lays down the necessary ostinati to keep the ensemble grounded among all the quick melodies that are flying by. Metrically, most of the piece is in 5/4, giving it a natural sense of unease. In terms of technique, every player only needs a pair of mallets, and nothing written is faster than sixteenth notes, though the fast tempo makes those rhythms rather brisk.

Nechamkin does a nice job in the beginning and ending of the work incorporating different rhythms to add deviation from the mostly duple composition. This includes a section with dotted-eighth notes that contrast nicely to the bass ostinato. When this idea is traded among the upper voice, it gives a sense of the characters in question being in their own worlds, a tasteful use of disjointed lines. It is a shame that this idea is used so briefly. Expanding on it or returning to it in the back half of the piece would help break the rhythmic monotony of sixteenth notes against eighth notes, which makes up most of the composition. 


"A Work of Fiction" is suitable for a collegiate percussion chamber group. Its need for only one pair of mallets per player and limited rhythmic vocabulary makes all the four parts appropriate for any intermediate marimbist.

–Kyle Cherwinski
Percussive Notes
Vol. 57, No. 1, March 2019



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