Ok everyone, this time I would like you to start by creating a non-pitched palette. Think about a painter. He or she begins with only a few colors, but once mixed there are many options. We can do the same thing, but actually dig even deeper since our “colors” often have more than one dimension. Try to diversify your sound sources as much as possible- in other words, your instruments should not all be made of the same material. I have chosen one drum, one wooden instrument and two metallic sounds.
Experiment with each instrument and see what sounds are possible. Out of this set, I have come up with 11 or 12 independent sounds, but there will be more possibilities once mixed. There are even more possibilites when you consider mallet options. Feel free to go outside of conventional playing techniques and keep in mind that it is most difficult to express music on instruments that you don't practice every day, so don’t be afraid to just play around with "sounds" for a while.
Once you have your palette and are ready to create some music, let’s add a bit of structure. If you've checked out my first post, you’ll remember the chart that I created to help you get started improvising. We will start there too. The following two performances are based around the same one-measure theme...
However, I will vary each performance by experimenting with the style, texture, tempo and the sound choices I make.
As always, headphones are recommended!!
The next method of creation is through melodic development. You may simply choose a general direction of “pitch” and play around with that or you may try to create texture through playing counterpoint- melody vs. accompaniment. More ideas will continue to populate based on what you play ("momentary themes"). I also chose to swing this one!
The last performance plays on melodic contour, but my main focus was experimenting with a faster tempo and rhythmic density. Think Moto Perpetuo...
Now it's your turn. What will your palette look like? Please post pictures and especially videos to my social media, email me or leave a link to it in the comments!
Anthony Di Bartolo is a New Jersey-based percussionist, composer, and educator.