A Deconstruction of 5, for solo percussionist

A Deconstruction of 5 was composed as part of a collaboration project for UC Davis graduate composers initiated by Professor Sam Nichols and Percussionist Chris Froh in Fall 2016. The project includes 5 seminar-demonstrations and a premier concert of the works by all participants on Apr.7 2017.

In the 5 seminar-demonstration, Chris demonstrated a wide variety of percussion instruments and discussed related issues with participating composers. Among these wild attempts, I was particularly fascinated by the effects of the brake drum when it was combined with other metallic instruments.


The possibility and its industrial metaphor of brake drums then struck me with a contrasting form of music: Nanguan, a traditional musical genre popular in Han cultural region. Nanguan was an entertainment of educated people who lived hundreds of years ago. Its music features harmonious and slow, subtle changes of intonations. (photo credit: Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan. more info please visit http://trd-music.tnua.edu.tw/en/intro/c.html )

Nanguan setting.jpg

I was inspired by the harmonious quality and concept of “5” of Nanguan music, both on the setting, motivic patterns, and aesthetics. Therefore, I took it as a departure point and experimented the idea on 5 percussive instruments: 2 brake drums, 1 bass drum, 3 pitched gongs, 4 wood blocks and 5 triangles. In the composition process, I paid particular attention to the flow of timbre and pulses, figuring ways to illustrate the music with subtle yet powerful gestures.

A Deconstruction of 5 will be premiered along with 6 pieces composed by UCD grad composers on Apr.7, free, non-ticketed! Please join us and experience our wild tricks on the percussion instruments!





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