RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • R!Solo: The Legend of Cú Chulainn for Timpani by Dr. David O'Fallon

    by Hillary Henry | Oct 10, 2020

    “The Legend of Cú Chulainn” (koo HUH-len) is the third piece I’ve composed this year that was inspired by looking into my Irish heritage. It calls for five drums, and I recommend using staccato or ultra-staccato mallets. If the smallest drum is unavailable, you may use an appropriately-tuned snare drum (with snares off), concert tom, RotoTom, or timbale. 

    As for the title, Cú Chulainn is a warrior from medieval Irish mythology, and the rhythmic profile of the piece would be recognizable to those familiar with Irish music as a slip jig. The three slip jigs in this piece are separated by brief interludes during which there is a pedal change on the lowest drum.

    When slip jigs are danced, the tempo, although lively, is typically somewhat slower (about dotted-quarter note equals 112) than what I have indicated, but reading about the exploits of Cú Chulainn seemed to suggest a tempo with a bit more urgency (120). The ornamentation in the last measure will be clearer if the E-flat is immediately dampened after it is struck.

    Chulainn Page 1

    Chulainn Page 2

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    David O'FallonDr. David O’Fallon
    is a composer, percussionist, and educator originally from the Chicago area and currently residing in Florida. His background as a performer includes working for many years in Chicago as a free-lance percussionist and as a frequently called extra and substitute percussionist for the Chicago Symphony, with whom he has toured and recorded extensively. He completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition degree at the University of Kentucky in 2015 and has taught percussion, music theory, orchestration, and music-related humanities courses at a number of colleges and universities in Illinois and Florida. He currently serves on the PAS Composition Committee, and his compositions are available through Alfred Music, Per-Mus Publications, and self-publication.

    Lucas-SanchezLucas Sanchez, originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, enjoys a multi-faceted career as a timpanist, percussionist, and teacher. Sanchez performs with the Palm Beach Symphony under the direction of Gerard Schwarz, the Florida Grand Opera, the Nu Deco Ensemble, and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra. In the past he has appeared with the Houston Symphony and the Amarillo Symphony.

  • R!Solo: Intro de Franco for Rudimental Snare Drum by Daniel J. Krumm

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Aug 15, 2020

    This piece is inspired by Joseph Tompkins’ work combining the French and American rudimental traditions. The piece introduces five French elements in a brief and consistent format. Here are a few things to note as you begin to work on this solo.

    First, the tempo is very slow compared to the American tradition to allow for the dense and complex groupings of the style. Second, the "charged stroke” rudiment opens the piece: a dotted rhythm where the shortest note is accented off the beat, almost like a reverse flam. Third, the use of “embedded rhythms” first appears in bar 4 and is a consistent element across all subdivisions. These are frequently deployed in single-stroke sticking combinations. Fourth, bar 5 includes the first use of 5-tuplet groupings, which commonly have embedded rhythms with them as well. In the French style, 5-, 7-, and 9-tuplet groupings are common. And finally, both double-bounce and multiple-bounce rolls are present throughout, adding expressive range through roll density and color.

    I recommend practicing the piece one measure at a time, mastering the combinations and deliberately placing each element before attempting to flow through the phrases. The dynamic range is fairly simple to allow for a clear separation of tones and an opportunity to master the elements of the piece with different characterizations.

    Players interested in further study of this style should look into the work of Joseph Tompkins and Guy Lefevre.

    Intro de Franco 

    Intro de Franco from Percussive Arts Society on Vimeo.

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    Dan KrummDaniel J.
    Krumm is a percussionist of wide-ranging experience. Equally at home in the symphony orchestra, musical theatre ensemble, samba bateria, salsa band, folklorico, djembefola, chamber ensemble, solo stage, or teaching studio, he brings a diverse array of skills and sensibilities to any situation. Having received formal training in percussion during his undergraduate studies at Iowa State University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Dan is now living and working in central Iowa. He can be heard on Matthew Coley’s CD Souvenirs, Neil Thornock’s CD Between the Lines, and the Heartland Marimba Festival’s inaugural CD, Heartland Marimba Dances.

  • R!Solo: Bit Crusher for Minimalist Drum Set And Track by Greg Haynes

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Jun 13, 2020

    This short piece includes an optional electronic play-along track in the kawaii bass style that emphasizes many of the accented syncopations in the drum set part. All of the patterns written for the drums feature the use of dotted-eighth durations spread across three or more measures at a time. In this sense, the piece is monothematic for the drums, and each section incorporates a different variation technique. On snare drum, ghost notes should be kept as low as possible, and the marcato accents should be played as rimshots.

    The following section information may be helpful in learning the piece and playing with the track provided. In the A section, rimshots are doubled in the upper chip-based synths while the kick drum is generally doubled in the saw chords. In the B section, the right hand repeatedly sweeps out to the floor tom for the first four measures and then sweeps inward for the last four. The drop occurs in the C section, and the kick is doubled in the synth bass. The D section features a brief return to the initial pattern followed by a new variation of the B section pattern where the right hand alternates between sweeping out and sweeping in.

    To maximize the playability of this piece during the COVID-19 pandemic, when percussion equipment access may be more limited, the drum set part only requires four pieces: hi-hat, snare, kick, and floor tom. Enjoy “Bit Crusher,” and I would love to hear any new recordings that are produced, with or without the track.

    Bit Crusher Page 1

    Bit Crusher Page 2

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    Greg HaynesGreg Haynes
    is a percussionist, composer, and educator based in the Connecticut/metro New York area. Haynes is active as both a soloist and an ensemble player, having performed concertos, solo recitals, chamber works, and orchestral pieces throughout the United States and internationally.  He has performed with a diverse selection of ensembles including the Hartford Symphony, the Longmont Symphony, the Midwest Chamber Ensemble, Banda Sinfonica de Santa Fe in Argentina, Marimba Sol de Chiapas, and the Redemption Sound Setters steel orchestra in Tobago. Haynes serves as Assistant Professor of Music at Western Connecticut State University. He composes chamber and percussion works by commission and produces music for film and media via GHM Scoring. Haynes received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kansas in 2009 and holds a professional certificate in advanced music production from Berklee Online.


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