My goal in writing “Peace Intermezzo” was to create a short vibraphone solo with a long melodic line and full harmony using just two mallets, two textures, and a couple of dampening techniques. While pedaling in vibraphone literature can sometimes be ambiguous or left to the discretion of the player, the score for “Peace Intermezzo” details all the pedaling exactly as it should be performed. The use of mallet dampening allows the player to preserve the continuity of a melodic line without either cutting off the harmony or allowing tone clusters to build up around the moving parts. The occurrences of mallet dampening are marked with a small “x” subsequent to the pitch that should be dampened. Mallet dampening should be executed by pushing into the bar with the mallet opposite the hand striking a new pitch.
“Peace Intermezzo” consists of a very simple melody harmonized over five phrases in a form reminiscent of an open-ended rounded binary. Although an authentic cadence never occurs, the piece is most easily considered in e minor.
The following points may be helpful in preparing the piece for performance:
• Part of the challenge in mallet dampening is keeping track of which bars are currently ringing. Choreograph your movements precisely when shifting to dampen bars.
• When mallet dampening, try to stay very close to the bar to avoid extra contact noise, and consider using a mallet with a rattan shaft.
• The B section features the melody accompanied by a sixteenth-note texture. Use the tenuto markings as an indicator of which pitches to emphasize, and don’t let the combined ring of the harmonizing bars build up over the level of the melody.
• Also in the B section, the phrases should be played expressively in a way that uses the push/pull of slight tempo adjustments and dynamic phrasing within the context of the marked dynamics. Take liberty to stretch the sixteenths to highlight the phrasing indicated in the score.
An intermezzo, loosely interpreted, is a piece of music occurring in the transition between other larger entities. Perform it as a breath of fresh air or a moment of peace amongst the larger concerns of life and music.
Dr. Greg Haynes is a Connecticut-based percussionist, educator, and composer. Haynes is active internationally as a soloist and a chamber player, having performed concertos by Keiko Abe, Allan Bell, Michael Daugherty, Craig Fitzpatrick, Ney Rosauro, and Kerwin Young, in addition to other works. Haynes serves as Assistant Professor of Music at Western Connecticut State University. Previously, Haynes served on the faculties of Western State Colorado University, Missouri Western State University, and Missouri Southern State University. Haynes is the owner of Strikeclef, LLC, a publishing company for percussion compositions, and also works as a film and media composer through GHM Scoring. Haynes received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kansas in 2009.