Gravity (Falling)Gravity (Falling)
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Gravity (Falling)

for percussion ensemble and piano
Level: Med-Advanced
Duration: 5:40
Personnel: 15 players
State Lists: Florida
Release Date: 2023
Product ID : TSPCE23-004
Price: $60.00
Item #: TSPCE23-004

Formats Available:

Performed by the Texas Christian University percussion ensemble from Fort Worth, Texas (Brian West, director)


Description

Gravity (Falling) by Clif Walker is a thematic percussion ensemble for fourteen percussionists and pianist. This medium-advanced piece is inspired by the act and sensation of sky diving. Walker notes that a typical skydive lasts between five to six minutes, with approximately the first 50 seconds spent in a free fall and the remainder of the time parachuting down. The piece opens by mimicking the free fall of a skydive with suspenseful cymbal swells and slowly descending, anxiety inducing cluster chords. Walker then segues the listener into serene parachute ride down to earth. Then a mixed meter section with chromatic, scalar, and intervalic descending lines paired with metric modulations in various percussive elements furthers the sense of disorientation. The descent continues until one final cymbal swell lands the skydiver back on the ground.

Gravity (Falling) requires performers to have great rhythmic control throughout the ensemble and would be an excellent piece for intermediate to advanced students to elevate their playing abilities in a percussion ensemble setting. While being a great display of chops and dexterity, this piece also offers subtle nuance for touch and expressivity in the more serene moments. Last, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser with its rich musical imagery and familiar subject matter.

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

Instrumentation

Crotales (2 octaves)

Glockenspiel

2 Vibraphones

Chimes

Xylophone

4 Marimbas — (2) low A, (2) low C

5 Timpani

Piano 

Steel Drum (lead pan)

Drums — bongos, concert bass drum, concert snare drum, 4 concert toms, congas (2), 4 graduated snare drums (w/ snares off), roto tom

Cymbals & gongs — 2 China cymbals, 2 ride cymbals, sizzle cymbal, 2 suspended cymbals, Zil-bel, tam-tam

Accessories — 2 brake drums, 2 pairs finger cymbals, mark tree (echo tree preferred), slapstick, 5 triangles (w/ water bins), 4 graduated woodblocks

Reviews

This new work by Clif Walker does not disappoint! The sheer contrapuntal feat of balancing 15 percussion instruments is captivating and fun to see unfold within a score. Similar to Walker’s “The Rule of Three,” this work has a way of defying expectations and creating a truly interesting musical moment, which, in the case of “Gravity (Falling),” is inspired by the sensation of freefall during skydiving.

Like its inspiration, this piece lasts around six minutes and is saturated with descending motives reminiscent of falling. Walker often uses meter changes, metric modulations, and metered accelerando and ritardando to exploit the listener’s sense of instability in time and tonal center to add to the idea of free fall. In terms of style, the soundscape in this work is reminiscent of the angularity, precision, and long melodic lines of drum corps, as well as familiar timbres synonymous with canonic percussion orchestra works such Gillingham’s “Stained Glass.”

As is common in large works such as these, many of the parts function independently with imitative entrances that may prove challenging for less experienced players. Additionally, there is frequent use of various subdivisions and thirty-second notes as well as four-mallet keyboard playing. While the notation may be intimidating, the parts are orchestrated well and should be approachable for advanced high school or college ensembles.

“Gravity (Falling),” is an exciting work that would make a great centerpiece on a percussion ensemble concert. Pedagogically, it has clear benefits for developing tempo awareness and reading highly syncopated notation in an accessible way. Additionally, the style of the piece can engage students interested in drum corps with percussion ensemble literature, or to engage concert-focused percussion students to the rich soundscape of drum corps. While the instrumentation is prohibitive for many programs, much of the equipment is becoming more prevalent and could allow larger programs the opportunity to explore large percussion orchestra literature with a unique and approachable harmonic language. Kudos to Walker and Tapspace on an exciting new piece for percussion ensemble!

—Quintin Mallette
Percussive Notes
Vol. 61, No. 4, August 2023

Description

Gravity (Falling) by Clif Walker is a thematic percussion ensemble for fourteen percussionists and pianist. This medium-advanced piece is inspired by the act and sensation of sky diving. Walker notes that a typical skydive lasts between five to six minutes, with approximately the first 50 seconds spent in a free fall and the remainder of the time parachuting down. The piece opens by mimicking the free fall of a skydive with suspenseful cymbal swells and slowly descending, anxiety inducing cluster chords. Walker then segues the listener into serene parachute ride down to earth. Then a mixed meter section with chromatic, scalar, and intervalic descending lines paired with metric modulations in various percussive elements furthers the sense of disorientation. The descent continues until one final cymbal swell lands the skydiver back on the ground.

Gravity (Falling) requires performers to have great rhythmic control throughout the ensemble and would be an excellent piece for intermediate to advanced students to elevate their playing abilities in a percussion ensemble setting. While being a great display of chops and dexterity, this piece also offers subtle nuance for touch and expressivity in the more serene moments. Last, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser with its rich musical imagery and familiar subject matter.

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

Instrumentation

Crotales (2 octaves)

Glockenspiel

2 Vibraphones

Chimes

Xylophone

4 Marimbas — (2) low A, (2) low C

5 Timpani

Piano 

Steel Drum (lead pan)

Drums — bongos, concert bass drum, concert snare drum, 4 concert toms, congas (2), 4 graduated snare drums (w/ snares off), roto tom

Cymbals & gongs — 2 China cymbals, 2 ride cymbals, sizzle cymbal, 2 suspended cymbals, Zil-bel, tam-tam

Accessories — 2 brake drums, 2 pairs finger cymbals, mark tree (echo tree preferred), slapstick, 5 triangles (w/ water bins), 4 graduated woodblocks

Reviews

This new work by Clif Walker does not disappoint! The sheer contrapuntal feat of balancing 15 percussion instruments is captivating and fun to see unfold within a score. Similar to Walker’s “The Rule of Three,” this work has a way of defying expectations and creating a truly interesting musical moment, which, in the case of “Gravity (Falling),” is inspired by the sensation of freefall during skydiving.

Like its inspiration, this piece lasts around six minutes and is saturated with descending motives reminiscent of falling. Walker often uses meter changes, metric modulations, and metered accelerando and ritardando to exploit the listener’s sense of instability in time and tonal center to add to the idea of free fall. In terms of style, the soundscape in this work is reminiscent of the angularity, precision, and long melodic lines of drum corps, as well as familiar timbres synonymous with canonic percussion orchestra works such Gillingham’s “Stained Glass.”

As is common in large works such as these, many of the parts function independently with imitative entrances that may prove challenging for less experienced players. Additionally, there is frequent use of various subdivisions and thirty-second notes as well as four-mallet keyboard playing. While the notation may be intimidating, the parts are orchestrated well and should be approachable for advanced high school or college ensembles.

“Gravity (Falling),” is an exciting work that would make a great centerpiece on a percussion ensemble concert. Pedagogically, it has clear benefits for developing tempo awareness and reading highly syncopated notation in an accessible way. Additionally, the style of the piece can engage students interested in drum corps with percussion ensemble literature, or to engage concert-focused percussion students to the rich soundscape of drum corps. While the instrumentation is prohibitive for many programs, much of the equipment is becoming more prevalent and could allow larger programs the opportunity to explore large percussion orchestra literature with a unique and approachable harmonic language. Kudos to Walker and Tapspace on an exciting new piece for percussion ensemble!

—Quintin Mallette
Percussive Notes
Vol. 61, No. 4, August 2023


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