A parable is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. This month’s R!Solo covers the basic aspects of timpani playing including sound, touch, muting, rolls, and sticking choices. Each of these skills is essential to timpani performance and should be developed early in your study of the instrument.
Helpful hints for learning “Parable”
I recommend that you select a general mallet with which to perform this piece, and then use different stroke types to achieve clear articulation when notes are marked staccato and a more connected sound for legato. Staccato strokes should have a quicker lift off of the drum, creating a more pointed sound, in contrast to legato strokes, which should be more relaxed.
A legato stroke is needed throughout the piece but most prevalently in mm. 1–10 in order to portray the phrases marked in the music. Beginning at measure 11, you will begin to see noted articulations. Be sure to make a clear distinction between accented, unaccented, tenuto, and staccato notes. Letter B requires double stops in measures 19, 27, and 31. Practice striking both notes simultaneously, avoiding flams. Measure 23 contains unmuted staccato notes in contrast to the muted ones at letter C. Use a quicker lift, as previously mentioned, to get the eighth notes to sound staccato. Remember to include some space following the fermata at the end of letter B, going into letter C, as indicated by the breath mark (apostrophe) in the score. Most of the stickings are left up to you, unless otherwise indicated in the score. There are a few of sticking options for measure 41. One option is to simply use a right-hand lead sticking and shift from drum to drum. The other options include double stickings, as seen below:
Choose the sticking that is most comfortable for you, allowing you to perform the articulations in the measure accurately. Use alternating stickings beginning in measure 42 and continue until the end of the piece. Have fun playing “Parable”!
Dr. Joe W. Moore III is a percussionist, composer, and educator. He is Assistant Professor of Percussion at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley. An active composer, his music has been performed at PASIC, FMEA, SCMEA, TMEA, the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy, and at several other conferences and events. Dr. Moore is a member of PAS, ASCAP, and TMEA.