In the spirit of Halloween, I chose to compose a multi-percussion solo that is inspired by the haunted corn maze attractions in rural areas across the United States. If you have ever been to a haunted corn maze, you know that they aren’t always the most calming of places. I did my best to portray that in this month’s R!Solo. I was given the option of composing for multi-percussion or world percussion, and my aim was to accomplish both through instrumentation and implements used. Therefore, proper hand drumming techniques for bongos (fingertips) should be studied and utilized during the opening section of the work.
Notation Legend for Corn Maze
Here are a few helpful hints for performing “Corn Maze”:
• Perform the opening section of the work as if it is improvised and in a way that clearly sets the tone and character of the piece. Think “thin airy sounds” when using your hands on the drums to aid in creating a “haunting” atmosphere. Be expressive here, and don’t be afraid to make your own musical decisions.
• At letter A, the squared noteheads represent the rhythmic articulation of the snares striking the resonant head of the snare drum when activating the snare mechanism with the left hand.
• In measure 12, you should pick up a stick in your left hand, and the first note struck with the stick will be on the “&” of beat 4 (buzz press). The downbeat of measure 13 will be struck with the right hand followed by eighth notes on the low tom with your left hand. While playing the eighth notes, pick up a stick in your right hand. By beat 4 of measure 13, you should be playing with sticks. You will continue with sticks through the remainder of the piece.
• Pay careful attention to all types of articulations and accents, making sure there is a difference between each. Do the same for the dynamic levels included throughout the work. In addition, do your best to bring attention to or emphasize the reoccurring rhythmic motive that is passed from the snares striking the resonant head, to the drum and cowbell at letter B, and then to the closing phrase of the piece.
Dr. Joe W. Moore III is a percussionist, composer, and educator. He serves as 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 music conferences and events. Dr. Moore is a member of PAS, ASCAP, and TMEA.