RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

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

Oct 10, 2020, 08:00 AM by Hillary Henry

“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.

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