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Ode to the One-Armed Drummer (Download)

for solo multipercussion
Level: Medium
Duration: 2:10
Release Date: 2021
Product ID : TSPCS21-008DL
Price: $14.00
Item #: TSPCS21-008DL

Formats Available:


Description

In Ode to the One-Armed Drummer, John Willmarth explores a range of tasty rhythmic textures, all built around a rock groove. Most notably, groupings of five and 4:3 polyrhythms are featured throughout. The multipercussion setup resembles a drumset, but adds the colors of cowbell, jam block, splash cymbal, and mounted tambourine.

This work is a great way for intermediate performers to explore multipercussion setups and rhythmic layers. Originally written for a student of Willmarth’s who had a broken arm, it may optionally be played one-handed!

Use of this product is governed by the license terms outlined here.

Instrumentation

  • Splash cymbal
  • Jam block
  • Mounted tambourine
  • Cowbell
  • Snare drum
  • Large tom
  • Kick drum

Reviews

Sometimes, life throws us a curveball. Some examples: sticks or mallets break, stands fail us, stage lights get into our eyes so we can’t see what we are doing. But what happens if we find ourselves without the use of one of our hands? What exists for a one-handed percussionist to learn? John Willmarth faced this issue when one of his students had a broken arm. He wrote this solo so that the student would have something to play.

This short work is written in a ternary form. The performer begins forcefully with sixteenth-note pairings and syncopations, with kick drum hits that occasionally create a 4:3 polyrhythm with the hand. Each short gesture is outlined by a change in time signature and primary voice; for example, the opening gesture is in 5/4 and emphasizes the splash cymbal, followed by a tambourine feature in 2/4, then a drum polyrhythm in 3/4. This opening is in the same spirit as “Cold Pressed” by Dave Hollinden, which is appropriate considering that Willmarth drew inspiration from Hollinden for this work.

The middle section is groove-based. The kick drum keeps a steady quarter-note pulse while the hand plays the main voice, primarily based on sixteenth notes. Willmarth throws in the occasional 4:3 polyrhythm in this section to add to the rhythmic variety. The piece ends with an extended version of the opening music.

This composition is easily accessible both in terms of instrumentation and musicality. The instrumentation is, for all intents and purposes, a drum set with a tambourine, a cowbell, and a Jam Block. Except for two triplet gestures and one quintuplet, everything is based on duple rhythms. It is approachable for any student who has a strong understanding of sixteenth notes and who wants a good exercise in hand-foot coordination or practice in one-handed playing, either by choice or by necessity.

—Kyle Cherwinski
Percussive Notes
Vol. 60, No. 1, February 2022

Description

In Ode to the One-Armed Drummer, John Willmarth explores a range of tasty rhythmic textures, all built around a rock groove. Most notably, groupings of five and 4:3 polyrhythms are featured throughout. The multipercussion setup resembles a drumset, but adds the colors of cowbell, jam block, splash cymbal, and mounted tambourine.

This work is a great way for intermediate performers to explore multipercussion setups and rhythmic layers. Originally written for a student of Willmarth’s who had a broken arm, it may optionally be played one-handed!

Use of this product is governed by the license terms outlined here.

Instrumentation

  • Splash cymbal
  • Jam block
  • Mounted tambourine
  • Cowbell
  • Snare drum
  • Large tom
  • Kick drum

Reviews

Sometimes, life throws us a curveball. Some examples: sticks or mallets break, stands fail us, stage lights get into our eyes so we can’t see what we are doing. But what happens if we find ourselves without the use of one of our hands? What exists for a one-handed percussionist to learn? John Willmarth faced this issue when one of his students had a broken arm. He wrote this solo so that the student would have something to play.

This short work is written in a ternary form. The performer begins forcefully with sixteenth-note pairings and syncopations, with kick drum hits that occasionally create a 4:3 polyrhythm with the hand. Each short gesture is outlined by a change in time signature and primary voice; for example, the opening gesture is in 5/4 and emphasizes the splash cymbal, followed by a tambourine feature in 2/4, then a drum polyrhythm in 3/4. This opening is in the same spirit as “Cold Pressed” by Dave Hollinden, which is appropriate considering that Willmarth drew inspiration from Hollinden for this work.

The middle section is groove-based. The kick drum keeps a steady quarter-note pulse while the hand plays the main voice, primarily based on sixteenth notes. Willmarth throws in the occasional 4:3 polyrhythm in this section to add to the rhythmic variety. The piece ends with an extended version of the opening music.

This composition is easily accessible both in terms of instrumentation and musicality. The instrumentation is, for all intents and purposes, a drum set with a tambourine, a cowbell, and a Jam Block. Except for two triplet gestures and one quintuplet, everything is based on duple rhythms. It is approachable for any student who has a strong understanding of sixteenth notes and who wants a good exercise in hand-foot coordination or practice in one-handed playing, either by choice or by necessity.

—Kyle Cherwinski
Percussive Notes
Vol. 60, No. 1, February 2022


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