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  • R!Solo: Office Job for Solo Multi-Percussion by Matthew Richmond

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Dec 01, 2019

    “Office Job” was inspired by fidgeting at my desk, wondering what instrumentation I should choose for the new multi-percussion piece I needed to write for PAS. The usual types of setups weren’t interesting me, and I was searching for something unusual. As so many of us percussionists do, I started tapping absentmindedly with my pen; before long I was excitedly trying out everything within arm’s reach to see what sounds I could combine. The stapler was good, but when I remembered the childhood buzzing-ruler sound I knew I had a piece.

    Here are a few pointers for playing “Office Job”:

    • Right-handed players should hold the ruler on the desk with their left hand and have a pen or pencil in their right hand. The left hand moves the ruler to change pitch and the right hand does everything else.

    • These are obviously non-standard instruments, so every person who plays this piece will have a slightly different sonic palette. Experiment! Take the importance of tone as seriously as you would on any other instrument. You may be surprised at how much variety is available. For example, I found that small changes in pressure with my left hand would change the tone of the ruler dramatically.

    • While there are no definite pitches in this piece, the ruler is pseudo-melodic, and the pitches of the coffee cup and water bottle interact with the ruler and each other. Find pitches that sound good to you (adding liquid to the cup and bottle can help), and try to be as consistent as possible with the placement of the ruler.

    • Dynamics are a challenge! Do the best you can but remember that you can only get so much expressive range with a stapler. You can make up for some of the shortfall by having lots of contrast on the instruments that are more capable of change. But this is by nature an intimate, close-up piece, so subtlety of dynamics is just fine.

    Office Job

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    Matthew RichmondMatthew Richmond is a percussionist, composer, recording artist, and educator in Asheville, North Carolina. He teaches percussion, composition, and other subjects at the UNC Asheville and is the principal percussionist of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra. He contributed vibraphone and percussion to Infinity Plus One by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, which won the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album. He has also performed and/or recorded with Jonathan Scales, Lizz Wright, Jeff Sipe, Free Planet Radio, Billy Jonas, Kevin Spears, Kat Williams, and many others. Matthew loves musical theater, and he has played or music directed more than 70 productions from Amélie to Zombie Prom. He has also composed and directed music for dance and drama performances by Asheville Ballet, Norte Marr, TheaterUNCA, Black Swan Theatre, and The Road Company, and created the score for the feature film Flight of the Cardinal (Gaston Pictures).
  • R!Solo: Right or Left? for Solo Timpani by Nicholaus Meyers

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Oct 01, 2019

    “Right or Left” is an intermediate-level timpani solo written as an exploration of figures leading with both the right and left hands. When performing this solo, be sure to follow the sticking patterns given. Where a specific sticking is not indicated, simply maintain the idea of the patterns presented up to that point. All sticking indications are based on a French timpani setup (lowest drum to the player’s left); if using a German setup (lowest drum to the player’s right), simply reverse the stickings indicated. When performing other solo works or timpani parts in ensembles, the sticking concepts presented in this solo will hopefully be something you can apply to that music. 

    Right or Left

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    Nick MeyersDr. Nicholaus Meyers
    is Director of Bands and Percussion at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. He is an active composer, conductor, and performer, giving clinics and masterclasses throughout the United States. Additionally, he is the Chair of the PAS Composition Committee and past President of the North Dakota PAS Chapter. 

  • R!Solo: The Backbeat of Paris for Solo Rudimental Snare Drum by Francisco Perez

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Aug 01, 2019

    “The Backbeat of Paris” is a short, upbeat rudimental solo for the intermediate snare drummer. Lightly inspired by the ancient rudimental snare drum solo “The Downfall of Paris,” this solo juxtaposes bits of modern drum corps vocabulary and Afro-Cuban lilt against a traditional style. 

    I recommend practicing this solo significantly under tempo with a metronome to work out any tricky stickings and rhythms to ensure relaxed technique as well as a consistent sound and tempo. Additionally, feel free to add your own expression with nuanced dynamics, such as a slight crescendo during the sextuplet-based seven-stroke rolls in section A and C. Good luck!

    The Backbeat of Paris


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    Dr. Francisco PerezDr. Francisco Perez is a percussionist, composer, and educator from Pflugerville, Texas and serves as Assistant Professor of Music (Percussion) at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. As an active performer, he has accepted international engagements in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Spain, and China, toured extensively throughout the U.S., and regularly performs with the BlueSHIFT Percussion Quartet. For more information about Francisco and his compositions/arrangements, visit:


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