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Spiral

for percussion quartet (or optional mallet trio)
Level: Advanced
Duration: 7:20–7:45
Personnel: 3-4 players
State Lists: Texas | Florida
Release Date: 2021
Product ID : TSPCE20-032
Price: $40.00
Item #: TSPCE20-032

Formats Available:


Description

Spiral by Alex Stopa is an exploration of rhythmic relationships within odd-time meters, with a fusion of the harmonic languages of jazz and pop music. At its core, the piece is made up of a spiraling rhythmic pattern of five, what Stopa calls a “musical double helix,” which is omnipresent throughout. There is also an element of improvisation in the piece, as there are moments where players take solos. For performers uncomfortable with improvising, written-out mallet solos are included.

This piece may be performed as either a percussion quartet, or mallet trio. Ossia measures and a cut are notated for the trio version.



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

Instrumentation

1 glockenspiel

1 vibraphone

2 marimbas — (1) low A, (1) low C

1 timpano* (32” or optionally a 29” and 32”)

Drums* — 3 concert toms, snare drum, kick drum w/ pedal

Cymbals* — 2 suspended cymbals—small and large

Accessories* — mark tree, 1 tubular bell—Eb4

*This piece is playable as a percussion quartet or as a mallet trio option. If performing as a mallet trio, percussion instruments listed with asterisks are not required.

Reviews

Alex Stopa explains that “Spiral” is based around quintuplet figures “spiraling” around each other much like a double helix and DNA. The figures wrap around symbolically as “we are bound together molecularly as a species, regardless of ethnicity, creed, or circumstance.”

The work can be performed as a quartet, or as a trio if the percussion is removed. There are alternate suggestions in the score for when it is being performed as a trio. The mallet players are the driving force of this work. Often, one player will have an ostinato with the other two having short interjections. As with many of Stopa’s works, the groove element is strong in the ostinato patterns, and requires good timing and feel from all ensemble members.

The work is energetic throughout; there is very little downtime for the players, requiring them to be completely focused throughout the work. Each mallet player is given the opportunity to improvise. This is to represent that while we are all connected, we are still individuals. There are written-out solos in the score if the players don’t feel comfortable improvising, and chord changes are given in the parts. The players must be very comfortable with syncopation and odd-meter counting to be successful.

This work is sure to be a crowd pleaser for any concert, but would go well on an underclass college or advanced high school ensemble concert. The improvisation sections give the students the chance to practice that skill and explore the instruments. The driving nature of this work combined with Stopa’s jazz harmonies are sure to keep the attention of any audience, and keep students engaged and excited about performing!

—Josh Armstrong
Percussive Notes
Vol. 59, No. 3, June 2021

Description

Spiral by Alex Stopa is an exploration of rhythmic relationships within odd-time meters, with a fusion of the harmonic languages of jazz and pop music. At its core, the piece is made up of a spiraling rhythmic pattern of five, what Stopa calls a “musical double helix,” which is omnipresent throughout. There is also an element of improvisation in the piece, as there are moments where players take solos. For performers uncomfortable with improvising, written-out mallet solos are included.

This piece may be performed as either a percussion quartet, or mallet trio. Ossia measures and a cut are notated for the trio version.



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

Instrumentation

1 glockenspiel

1 vibraphone

2 marimbas — (1) low A, (1) low C

1 timpano* (32” or optionally a 29” and 32”)

Drums* — 3 concert toms, snare drum, kick drum w/ pedal

Cymbals* — 2 suspended cymbals—small and large

Accessories* — mark tree, 1 tubular bell—Eb4

*This piece is playable as a percussion quartet or as a mallet trio option. If performing as a mallet trio, percussion instruments listed with asterisks are not required.

Reviews

Alex Stopa explains that “Spiral” is based around quintuplet figures “spiraling” around each other much like a double helix and DNA. The figures wrap around symbolically as “we are bound together molecularly as a species, regardless of ethnicity, creed, or circumstance.”

The work can be performed as a quartet, or as a trio if the percussion is removed. There are alternate suggestions in the score for when it is being performed as a trio. The mallet players are the driving force of this work. Often, one player will have an ostinato with the other two having short interjections. As with many of Stopa’s works, the groove element is strong in the ostinato patterns, and requires good timing and feel from all ensemble members.

The work is energetic throughout; there is very little downtime for the players, requiring them to be completely focused throughout the work. Each mallet player is given the opportunity to improvise. This is to represent that while we are all connected, we are still individuals. There are written-out solos in the score if the players don’t feel comfortable improvising, and chord changes are given in the parts. The players must be very comfortable with syncopation and odd-meter counting to be successful.

This work is sure to be a crowd pleaser for any concert, but would go well on an underclass college or advanced high school ensemble concert. The improvisation sections give the students the chance to practice that skill and explore the instruments. The driving nature of this work combined with Stopa’s jazz harmonies are sure to keep the attention of any audience, and keep students engaged and excited about performing!

—Josh Armstrong
Percussive Notes
Vol. 59, No. 3, June 2021



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