RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

R!Solo: Circular Reasoning for Ride Cymbal, Woodblock, Snare Drum, and Low Tom by Josh Gottry

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

PERFORMANCE NOTES
“Circular Reasoning” mixes two rhythmically equal time signatures (6/8 and 3/4) that metrically feel much different. The 6/8 time signature has two strong beats, each divided into three smaller pulses, while the 3/4 time signature has three strong beats, each divided into two smaller pulses. Even though each measure is technically equal in value, as you perform this solo, make sure the difference in feel between the two meters is clear.

Here are a few additional suggestions that may assist in preparing this solo:
• Before you begin, consider your setup. Playing works for multiple percussion is all about logistics! Determine if you need to sit or stand (depending on the height options for your instruments), and make sure all of the playing spots are easily accessible. The setup used on the video is just one option; you may find something that works even better for your own performance.
• Once you determine a good setup, figure out a sticking that works and write it in. Practicing with a logical sticking the same way every time is the best method for ensuring a consistent and accurate performance.
• All of the rolls in this solo should be performed as buzz or multiple-bounce rolls. In most cases, a sixteenth-note pulse will work best for those rolls, given the marked tempo.
• Give some consideration to the sticks you use and the playing spots for each instrument, as this assortment doesn’t necessarily work perfectly with any one particular stick or mallet. Find an implement that provides a clear articulate sound on the ride cymbal, has enough body to sound good on the low tom, and figure out the best sound you can achieve from the woodblock you use. Ultimately, the priority is to make all the different instruments
sound as one balanced collection.

PERFORMANCE NOTES
“Circular Reasoning” mixes two rhythmically equal time signatures (6/8 and 3/4) that metrically feel much different. The 6/8 time signature has two strong beats, each divided into three smaller pulses, while the 3/4 time signature has three strong beats, each divided into two smaller pulses. Even though each measure is technically equal in value, as you perform this solo, make sure the difference in feel between the two meters is clear.

Here are a few additional suggestions that may assist in preparing this solo:
• Before you begin, consider your setup. Playing works for multiple percussion is all about logistics! Determine if you need to sit or stand (depending on the height options for your instruments), and make sure all of the playing spots are easily accessible. The setup used on the video is just one option; you may find something that works even better for your own performance.
• Once you determine a good setup, figure out a sticking that works and write it in. Practicing with a logical sticking the same way every time is the best method for ensuring a consistent and accurate performance.
• All of the rolls in this solo should be performed as buzz or multiple-bounce rolls. In most cases, a sixteenth-note pulse will work best for those rolls, given the marked tempo.
• Give some consideration to the sticks you use and the playing spots for each instrument, as this assortment doesn’t necessarily work perfectly with any one particular stick or mallet. Find an implement that provides a clear articulate sound on the ride cymbal, has enough body to sound good on the low tom, and figure out the best sound you can achieve from the woodblock you use. Ultimately, the priority is to make all the different instruments sound as one balanced collection.

Circular Reasoning

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Josh Gottry
is a respected educator and internationally recognized composer who has been working with the next generation of percussionists for over 20 years. He is part of the music faculty at Chandler-Gilbert Community College and Grand Canyon University and works with percussion ensembles and students at all grade levels as a clinician and within his private lesson studio. 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 ASCAP and has presented clinics at the Arizona Music Educators Association Conference, Arizona PAS Day of Percussion, New Mexico PAS Day of Percussion, and PASIC. 

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