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R!Solo: Mountain Climbing for Xylophone or Marimba by Josh Gottry

Apr 1, 2015, 00:00 AM by Rhythm Scene Staff

“Mountain Climbing” makes use of significant ascending and descending scale fragments, covering just over two octaves of the instrument’s range. Before beginning the solo, it would be beneficial to practice the E-flat major scale over that two-octave range (if not a little more).

The piece shifts between opening and concluding sections in E-flat major, separated with about 10 measures in C minor, which is the reason for the occasional accidentals on A and B from measures 13 through 18.

Here are a few additional tidbits of information that may assist in preparing this solo:
• Most of the melodic motion in this solo is stepwise. The skips that are included fit into one of two categories: either skips by thirds (e.g., measure 2), or skips within the tonic (measures 2–3) or dominant (measure 32) triads.

• Musical phrasing suggests that as the pitch ascends, the dynamic level should do the same; and as the pitch descends, the dynamic level should decrease as well. For the most part, this solo follows that general tendency, but be sure to note the one obvious exception in measure 10.

• There is a slur marking over the rolls in measure 7. Strive to connect those three notes as one continuous roll. Rolls later in the piece are not connected, so each roll should be separated slightly from the following note.

• Accents should be clearly brought out of the texture, but strive to maintain a full sound after the accent and avoid any excess force that would create an ugly sound on the instrument. The tenuto marks in measure 18 suggest a little extra weight or emphasis in an effort to bring out the quarter-note pulse that runs contrary to the natural 6/8 dotted-quarter-note feel.

Make sure double-stops are executed such that both notes sound at the exact same time (no flams!).

Mountain Climbing


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Josh Gottry
is an educator and composer. He is on the music faculty at Chandler-Gilbert Community College and works with percussion ensembles and students at all grade levels as a clinician and within his private lesson studio. Starting in 2011, he was selected to serve as a teaching artist with the Arizona Commission on the Arts, presenting clinics and residencies for schools and after-school programs. Gottry is an ASCAP award-winning composer whose works have been credited as engaging, pedagogical, and brilliantly creative. He is a member of PAS and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers and has presented clinics at the Arizona Music Educators Association Conference, New Mexico PAS Day of Percussion, and PASIC.

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