PhylogenesisPhylogenesis
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Phylogenesis

for solo snare drum and audio
Level: Advanced
Duration: 7:25
Personnel: Solo (snare)
Release Date: 2016
Delivery Method: Physical
Product ID : TSPCS16-010
Price: $23.00
Item #: TSPCS16-010

Formats Available:



Description

Phylogenesis is a work for a solo percussionist using two snare drums and audio. The title refers to the evolutionary history and development of an organism, and the musical development within the piece loosely mirrors that concept.

Russell Wharton creates a mesmerizing array of timbres and effects through use of a rasping (scraper) stick, a muted drum, and a numerous other playing techniques. Strong command of rudimental language is necessary, but musical sensitivity and a good feel for odd metered ostinato is equally, if not more important.

The accompanying audio track (included on CD-ROM) is initiated by the performer about one-third of the way into the piece and it provides clever use of acoustic imitation, creating a duo of sorts between soloist and audio. 

Phylogenesis is bound to stand out as one of the more creative snare drum solos in contemporary percussion repertoire. This piece ships as a professionally spiral bound folio with a full color cover.  Audio accompaniment track is included on CD-ROM.


Instrumentation

  • Concert snare drum
  • Field drum (or deep concert snare drum)
  • Rasping (scraper stick)
  • Playback system

Reviews

“Phylogenesis” is a new work for solo snare drum in three large sections, with a duration around 7.5 minutes. It was commissioned by Francisco Perez. Extended techniques and strokes are carefully notated in the score, and while some are difficult to convey via the written word, they are easily understood by Perez’s performance on the Tapspace YouTube channel. 

In the beginning of the piece, the performer is required to create a dozen different sounds across two snare drums, with a normal drumstick in the right hand and a rasping/scraping stick in the left hand. The two drums are tensioned higher and lower in pitch, and the lower drum is prepared with a towel covering all but the top and bottom edges of the head. This first section of music is effectively a “groove” created by these extended playing techniques, with small rhythmic variations as the texture develops. I found the writing here highly effective. 

After this first section, the audio playback is introduced. The track begins as a pre-recorded version of the groove created in the first section. Over top of this accompaniment the performer plays a lengthy solo on the lower drum without snares, using strictly traditional performance techniques. This music might feel improvised due to a lack of interaction with the mostly static audio track (there are accents at the peaks of some phrases), but is completely notated and includes a healthy dose of flams and diddles that one might expect from a snare drum solo published by Tapspace. 

After the extended solo, the audio track morphs slightly to include some of the rhythms from the previous section. And then, it begins again. More notes on the snare drum (this time on the higher pitched drum with snares on). While this allows the composer to utilize closed rolls, this section of music is still remarkably like the previous in feel and character. Once the solo concludes, a very brief reprise of the opening material occurs and then the music fades into the sunset. After such interesting material at the outset, the rest of the work left my ears a bit unsatisfied. 

Many works for snare drum and digital playback have been introduced over the past several years. While it begins with a bang, “Phylogenesis” is ultimately not the most sophisticated in the category. It could be one of the more technically demanding solos of this genre from a “chops” standpoint, and from that perspective may interest a great number of students and players. Only time will tell if it is to find a permanent place in the repertoire. 

—Phillip O’Banion 
Percussive Notes 
Vol. 55, No. 2, May 2017

Description

Phylogenesis is a work for a solo percussionist using two snare drums and audio. The title refers to the evolutionary history and development of an organism, and the musical development within the piece loosely mirrors that concept.

Russell Wharton creates a mesmerizing array of timbres and effects through use of a rasping (scraper) stick, a muted drum, and a numerous other playing techniques. Strong command of rudimental language is necessary, but musical sensitivity and a good feel for odd metered ostinato is equally, if not more important.

The accompanying audio track (included on CD-ROM) is initiated by the performer about one-third of the way into the piece and it provides clever use of acoustic imitation, creating a duo of sorts between soloist and audio. 

Phylogenesis is bound to stand out as one of the more creative snare drum solos in contemporary percussion repertoire. This piece ships as a professionally spiral bound folio with a full color cover.  Audio accompaniment track is included on CD-ROM.


Instrumentation

  • Concert snare drum
  • Field drum (or deep concert snare drum)
  • Rasping (scraper stick)
  • Playback system

Reviews

“Phylogenesis” is a new work for solo snare drum in three large sections, with a duration around 7.5 minutes. It was commissioned by Francisco Perez. Extended techniques and strokes are carefully notated in the score, and while some are difficult to convey via the written word, they are easily understood by Perez’s performance on the Tapspace YouTube channel. 

In the beginning of the piece, the performer is required to create a dozen different sounds across two snare drums, with a normal drumstick in the right hand and a rasping/scraping stick in the left hand. The two drums are tensioned higher and lower in pitch, and the lower drum is prepared with a towel covering all but the top and bottom edges of the head. This first section of music is effectively a “groove” created by these extended playing techniques, with small rhythmic variations as the texture develops. I found the writing here highly effective. 

After this first section, the audio playback is introduced. The track begins as a pre-recorded version of the groove created in the first section. Over top of this accompaniment the performer plays a lengthy solo on the lower drum without snares, using strictly traditional performance techniques. This music might feel improvised due to a lack of interaction with the mostly static audio track (there are accents at the peaks of some phrases), but is completely notated and includes a healthy dose of flams and diddles that one might expect from a snare drum solo published by Tapspace. 

After the extended solo, the audio track morphs slightly to include some of the rhythms from the previous section. And then, it begins again. More notes on the snare drum (this time on the higher pitched drum with snares on). While this allows the composer to utilize closed rolls, this section of music is still remarkably like the previous in feel and character. Once the solo concludes, a very brief reprise of the opening material occurs and then the music fades into the sunset. After such interesting material at the outset, the rest of the work left my ears a bit unsatisfied. 

Many works for snare drum and digital playback have been introduced over the past several years. While it begins with a bang, “Phylogenesis” is ultimately not the most sophisticated in the category. It could be one of the more technically demanding solos of this genre from a “chops” standpoint, and from that perspective may interest a great number of students and players. Only time will tell if it is to find a permanent place in the repertoire. 

—Phillip O’Banion 
Percussive Notes 
Vol. 55, No. 2, May 2017



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