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Rocktopus

Three pieces for solo multipercussion with optional audio accompaniment
Level: Easy
Duration: 2:00-6:00
Release Date: 2020
Product ID : TSPCS20-019
Price: $18.00
Item #: TSPCS20-019

Formats Available:


Description

Rocktopus by John Willmarth is an beginner-level, 3-part solo for multipercussion, aimed at younger percussionists. Each movement is based on rhythmic themes from classic the rock songs Sunshine of Your Love by Cream, Iron Man by Black Sabbath, and Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple. The instrumentation for Rocktopus is very limited and gives students with only a drumset at home the ability to learn a multipercussion piece, not to mention an introduction into the concert world of percussion. Each movement also includes optional audio accompaniment, adding a fun extra dimension to performances!

Rocktopus comes with a full, bound score and includes the audio accompaniment tracks as well a full reference recording of the piece.

Instrumentation

Snare drum

Large tom

Small tom

Large cymbal

China cymbal (or any trashy metal)

Sound system for audio playback

Reviews

There are a lot of beginner-level method books, etudes, and pieces for snare drum. This is also true for keyboards, timpani, and most certainly drum set. However, when it comes to the introductory level of multi-percussion, repertoire is scarce. John Willmarth submits this suite to help compensate for this imbalance.

Rocktopus is a collection of three short solos, running at roughly two minutes each, that can either be performed individually or together as a three-movement work. The pieces, “Sunshine,” “Iron,” and “Smoke,” are based on iconic classic rock songs: “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream, “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath, and “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple. This is a great idea of source material, since it will be easier to reference the groove of each piece through these tunes rather than by a metronome marking. Willmarth created the setup from the elements of a standard drum set, making it accessible to a large number of young players. The pieces also come with optional audio accompaniment to give the music another layer of character.

Each piece uses the same formula. They begin with the iconic opening riff of the appropriate song, or rather a rhythmic representation thereof. They then develop into a more active middle section before returning to the beginning via a D. S. al Coda. Each work ends through the use of a short Coda. Everything stays in duple, simple rhythmic gestures. As long as performers have an under- standing of eighth and sixteenth notes, they are fully capable of understanding the music on these pages.

If there is one thing to be critical of, it would be the optional audio accompaniment. The tape does a good job of complementing the soloist: providing other drum set sounds when appropriate and supporting large arrivals with unison gestures. However, it all comes from the same limited sound library. Even the atmospheric sound effects employed are the same for all three pieces. With the soloist’s console limited to five sounds, the electronic accompaniment could have used a wider variety of effects to help differentiate between each piece.

Introductory-level multi-percussion solos are hard to come by. With Rocktopus, Willmarth has helped fill this void in our repertoire. He also made the composition easy enough and the reference material fun enough to make them approachable for young performers. As such, these works de- serve to get a lot of play.

—Kyle Cherwinski
Percussive Notes
Vol. 59, No. 2, April 2021

Description

Rocktopus by John Willmarth is an beginner-level, 3-part solo for multipercussion, aimed at younger percussionists. Each movement is based on rhythmic themes from classic the rock songs Sunshine of Your Love by Cream, Iron Man by Black Sabbath, and Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple. The instrumentation for Rocktopus is very limited and gives students with only a drumset at home the ability to learn a multipercussion piece, not to mention an introduction into the concert world of percussion. Each movement also includes optional audio accompaniment, adding a fun extra dimension to performances!

Rocktopus comes with a full, bound score and includes the audio accompaniment tracks as well a full reference recording of the piece.

Instrumentation

Snare drum

Large tom

Small tom

Large cymbal

China cymbal (or any trashy metal)

Sound system for audio playback

Reviews

There are a lot of beginner-level method books, etudes, and pieces for snare drum. This is also true for keyboards, timpani, and most certainly drum set. However, when it comes to the introductory level of multi-percussion, repertoire is scarce. John Willmarth submits this suite to help compensate for this imbalance.

Rocktopus is a collection of three short solos, running at roughly two minutes each, that can either be performed individually or together as a three-movement work. The pieces, “Sunshine,” “Iron,” and “Smoke,” are based on iconic classic rock songs: “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream, “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath, and “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple. This is a great idea of source material, since it will be easier to reference the groove of each piece through these tunes rather than by a metronome marking. Willmarth created the setup from the elements of a standard drum set, making it accessible to a large number of young players. The pieces also come with optional audio accompaniment to give the music another layer of character.

Each piece uses the same formula. They begin with the iconic opening riff of the appropriate song, or rather a rhythmic representation thereof. They then develop into a more active middle section before returning to the beginning via a D. S. al Coda. Each work ends through the use of a short Coda. Everything stays in duple, simple rhythmic gestures. As long as performers have an under- standing of eighth and sixteenth notes, they are fully capable of understanding the music on these pages.

If there is one thing to be critical of, it would be the optional audio accompaniment. The tape does a good job of complementing the soloist: providing other drum set sounds when appropriate and supporting large arrivals with unison gestures. However, it all comes from the same limited sound library. Even the atmospheric sound effects employed are the same for all three pieces. With the soloist’s console limited to five sounds, the electronic accompaniment could have used a wider variety of effects to help differentiate between each piece.

Introductory-level multi-percussion solos are hard to come by. With Rocktopus, Willmarth has helped fill this void in our repertoire. He also made the composition easy enough and the reference material fun enough to make them approachable for young performers. As such, these works de- serve to get a lot of play.

—Kyle Cherwinski
Percussive Notes
Vol. 59, No. 2, April 2021



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