BlinkerBlinker
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Blinker

for percussion ensemble
Level: Medium
Duration: 4:00
Personnel: 11-14 players
Release Date: 2022
Product ID : TSPCE22-001
Price: $40.00
Item #: TSPCE22-001

Formats Available:


Description

Chuck Ricotta wrote Blinker as a follow-up to Sofapilla, another large ensemble work of his. That work aimed to develop students’ pulse control skills while playing overlapping ensemble polyrhythms. Soon after creating this exercise, Ricotta was inspired to expand upon this concept, leading to Blinker (named after the familiar sound of a vehicle’s turn signal).

Beginning with a steady pulse, the piece quickly builds into a densely-layered texture of orchestrated polymeters. Elements of post-minimalism are explored, drawing from simple harmonic ideas to weave a fabric of sound reminiscent of John Adams. Ricotta aims to take the listener on a musical journey through a dreamlike state, suspended in time, before ultimately returning to the familiar pulse from the beginning.

From an educational standpoint, Ricotta designed the individual parts to vary in difficulty and cover a range of experience levels. Some multipercussion parts may be doubled or split between players depending on the needs of the ensemble. The marimba parts may be performed on shared instruments, and two of these parts may optionally be covered by a single player holding 4 mallets. Plenty of optional notes are indicated in the score to cover all possible player configurations. All in all, this work is highly engaging for the listener and ideal for intermediate-level percussion ensemble concerts!

Blinker ships as a printed, professionally bound score, and includes individual parts in PDF format for printing or tablet viewing.

Instrumentation

  • Glockenspiel
  • Xylophone
  • Chimes
  • 2 vibraphones
  • 2-4 marimbas* — (2) 4-octave, (2) low A
  • Timpani (4 drums)
  • Drums — snare drum, mounted kick drum, 4 concert toms, concert bass drum, bongos
  • Cymbals and gongs — splash cymbal, Zil-Bel, 2 suspended cymbals, 2 hi-hats, China cymbal, crash cymbals (optional), tam-tam (optional), high C crotale
  • Accessories — 2 high woodblocks, brake drum, One-Shot shaker, shekere, cabasa

* If 4 marimbas aren’t available, this piece can be performed with 2 instruments: M1 and M2 sharing the 4-octave instrument and M3 and M4 sharing the low A instrument.

Reviews

“Blinker” is a follow-up to Chuck Ricotta’s “Sofapilla,” also composed for large percussion ensemble. Although the instrumentation is extensive, many of the instruments are common in high school and college collections, so the piece should be accessible to many. Furthermore, Ricotta gives instructions on instrument sharing (including marimbas) and what potentially can be left out.

“Blinker” has much pedagogical value, including the use of small multiple-percussion setups for several of the players as well as varying levels of difficulty among the parts. If each part is assigned to an individual performer, the mallet instruments all use two-mallet technique. The timpani part mostly uses the pitches “A” and “E,” but does include some tuning changes. Tapspace includes a clear setup diagram, instructions, and notation, including parts available as pdf files.

The music is inspired by the sound of a vehicle’s turn signal (first heard in the woodblocks) as well as post-minimalism á la John Adams. Ricotta describes “Blinker” as a musical journey that “transcends the confines of the vehicle and transports the listener to a dreamlike state where time and space are briefly suspended.” Post-minimalism is represented throughout, with many repeated patterns layered in an additive fashion. The melodic and harmonic material is also fairly static and tonal. Although the meter is consistent from part to part, Ricotta uses polyrhythms and polymeters including, for example, 5/4 phrases within a 3/2 meter. Ricotta also writes tempo modulations that, combined with the other rhythmic elements, make “Blinker” quite a useful study in rhythm.

—Joseph Van Hassel
Percussive Notes
Vol. 60, No. 3, June 2022

Description

Chuck Ricotta wrote Blinker as a follow-up to Sofapilla, another large ensemble work of his. That work aimed to develop students’ pulse control skills while playing overlapping ensemble polyrhythms. Soon after creating this exercise, Ricotta was inspired to expand upon this concept, leading to Blinker (named after the familiar sound of a vehicle’s turn signal).

Beginning with a steady pulse, the piece quickly builds into a densely-layered texture of orchestrated polymeters. Elements of post-minimalism are explored, drawing from simple harmonic ideas to weave a fabric of sound reminiscent of John Adams. Ricotta aims to take the listener on a musical journey through a dreamlike state, suspended in time, before ultimately returning to the familiar pulse from the beginning.

From an educational standpoint, Ricotta designed the individual parts to vary in difficulty and cover a range of experience levels. Some multipercussion parts may be doubled or split between players depending on the needs of the ensemble. The marimba parts may be performed on shared instruments, and two of these parts may optionally be covered by a single player holding 4 mallets. Plenty of optional notes are indicated in the score to cover all possible player configurations. All in all, this work is highly engaging for the listener and ideal for intermediate-level percussion ensemble concerts!

Blinker ships as a printed, professionally bound score, and includes individual parts in PDF format for printing or tablet viewing.

Instrumentation

  • Glockenspiel
  • Xylophone
  • Chimes
  • 2 vibraphones
  • 2-4 marimbas* — (2) 4-octave, (2) low A
  • Timpani (4 drums)
  • Drums — snare drum, mounted kick drum, 4 concert toms, concert bass drum, bongos
  • Cymbals and gongs — splash cymbal, Zil-Bel, 2 suspended cymbals, 2 hi-hats, China cymbal, crash cymbals (optional), tam-tam (optional), high C crotale
  • Accessories — 2 high woodblocks, brake drum, One-Shot shaker, shekere, cabasa

* If 4 marimbas aren’t available, this piece can be performed with 2 instruments: M1 and M2 sharing the 4-octave instrument and M3 and M4 sharing the low A instrument.

Reviews

“Blinker” is a follow-up to Chuck Ricotta’s “Sofapilla,” also composed for large percussion ensemble. Although the instrumentation is extensive, many of the instruments are common in high school and college collections, so the piece should be accessible to many. Furthermore, Ricotta gives instructions on instrument sharing (including marimbas) and what potentially can be left out.

“Blinker” has much pedagogical value, including the use of small multiple-percussion setups for several of the players as well as varying levels of difficulty among the parts. If each part is assigned to an individual performer, the mallet instruments all use two-mallet technique. The timpani part mostly uses the pitches “A” and “E,” but does include some tuning changes. Tapspace includes a clear setup diagram, instructions, and notation, including parts available as pdf files.

The music is inspired by the sound of a vehicle’s turn signal (first heard in the woodblocks) as well as post-minimalism á la John Adams. Ricotta describes “Blinker” as a musical journey that “transcends the confines of the vehicle and transports the listener to a dreamlike state where time and space are briefly suspended.” Post-minimalism is represented throughout, with many repeated patterns layered in an additive fashion. The melodic and harmonic material is also fairly static and tonal. Although the meter is consistent from part to part, Ricotta uses polyrhythms and polymeters including, for example, 5/4 phrases within a 3/2 meter. Ricotta also writes tempo modulations that, combined with the other rhythmic elements, make “Blinker” quite a useful study in rhythm.

—Joseph Van Hassel
Percussive Notes
Vol. 60, No. 3, June 2022


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