Rock Paper ScissorsRock Paper Scissors
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Rock Paper Scissors

for percussion quartet
Level: Med-Advanced
Duration: 6:30
Personnel: 4 players
Release Date: 2020
Product ID : TSPCE20-006
Price: $38.00
Item #: TSPCE20-006

Formats Available:


Description

Rock Paper Scissors is a medium-advanced work for percussion quartet by Russell Wharton. In it, three types of instruments (wood, skin, and metal) are used to represent rock, paper, and scissors. Through the musical material, these instruments also have their own musical personalities. The woods play hocketed 16th notes, the skins play aggressive polyrhythms and the metals hint at a 5:4 metric modulation. Though in the end they maintain their individual characteristics, these sound families exert influence on one another, just like the classic score-settling game played by millions across the world.

This piece was composed for the Four/One Percussion Quartet (Mitchell Beck, Paul Millette, Steven Partida, and Russell Wharton) and was premiered at Indiana Unviersity on March 25, 2018. It also includes two unique sets of program notes, allowing listeners to decide which set they prefer.


This piece comes as a professionally printed and bound score and includes individual parts in PDF format for printing or for tablet viewing.

Instrumentation

Drums (4 “high drums”, 1 concert bass drum)

Accessories (4 high woodblocks, 4 low woodblocks, 12 metal pipes)

Reviews

Composed for the Four/One Percussion Quartet, “Rock Paper Scissors” is a joy to listen to and (I’m assuming) perform, as well. The piece is scored for four players positioned around a horizontal bass drum, which is shared, in addition to each performer having an identical setup of a tom-tom, 2 woodblocks, and 3 metal pipes (pitch designations for each player’s metal pipes are suggested in the performance notes). This economic setup would make the piece ideal for groups looking to travel or rehearse/perform without the resources of a school or university music department. 

The economy of instrumentation is equally matched by the composer’s thoughtful placement of wood, metal, and drum timbres throughout the piece, creating a work that is beautifully paced, satisfying, and intellectual—yet accessible to most audiences. The compositional tactics include interlocking hocket rhythms, stretto entrances of themes, and metric modulation. While few of the rhythms venture beyond sixteenth notes, the communication and concentration skills required between the performers would lend this piece nicely to a quartet of advanced undergraduate students, but it would equally be appropriate on a professional concert. 

Russell Wharton has certainly satisfied the “less is more” philosophy of percussion scoring by creating a work that centers on timbre, pacing, and rhythm. I hope to see many performances of this piece in the future and look forward to sharing it with my own students. 

—Jason Baker
Percussive Notes
Vol. 58, No. 6, December 2020

Description

Rock Paper Scissors is a medium-advanced work for percussion quartet by Russell Wharton. In it, three types of instruments (wood, skin, and metal) are used to represent rock, paper, and scissors. Through the musical material, these instruments also have their own musical personalities. The woods play hocketed 16th notes, the skins play aggressive polyrhythms and the metals hint at a 5:4 metric modulation. Though in the end they maintain their individual characteristics, these sound families exert influence on one another, just like the classic score-settling game played by millions across the world.

This piece was composed for the Four/One Percussion Quartet (Mitchell Beck, Paul Millette, Steven Partida, and Russell Wharton) and was premiered at Indiana Unviersity on March 25, 2018. It also includes two unique sets of program notes, allowing listeners to decide which set they prefer.


This piece comes as a professionally printed and bound score and includes individual parts in PDF format for printing or for tablet viewing.

Instrumentation

Drums (4 “high drums”, 1 concert bass drum)

Accessories (4 high woodblocks, 4 low woodblocks, 12 metal pipes)

Reviews

Composed for the Four/One Percussion Quartet, “Rock Paper Scissors” is a joy to listen to and (I’m assuming) perform, as well. The piece is scored for four players positioned around a horizontal bass drum, which is shared, in addition to each performer having an identical setup of a tom-tom, 2 woodblocks, and 3 metal pipes (pitch designations for each player’s metal pipes are suggested in the performance notes). This economic setup would make the piece ideal for groups looking to travel or rehearse/perform without the resources of a school or university music department. 

The economy of instrumentation is equally matched by the composer’s thoughtful placement of wood, metal, and drum timbres throughout the piece, creating a work that is beautifully paced, satisfying, and intellectual—yet accessible to most audiences. The compositional tactics include interlocking hocket rhythms, stretto entrances of themes, and metric modulation. While few of the rhythms venture beyond sixteenth notes, the communication and concentration skills required between the performers would lend this piece nicely to a quartet of advanced undergraduate students, but it would equally be appropriate on a professional concert. 

Russell Wharton has certainly satisfied the “less is more” philosophy of percussion scoring by creating a work that centers on timbre, pacing, and rhythm. I hope to see many performances of this piece in the future and look forward to sharing it with my own students. 

—Jason Baker
Percussive Notes
Vol. 58, No. 6, December 2020



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