This piece is inspired by Joseph Tompkins’ work combining the French and American rudimental traditions. The piece introduces five French elements in a brief and consistent format. Here are a few things to note as you begin to work on this solo.
First, the tempo is very slow compared to the American tradition to allow for the dense and complex groupings of the style. Second, the "charged stroke” rudiment opens the piece: a dotted rhythm where the shortest note is accented off the beat, almost like a reverse flam. Third, the use of “embedded rhythms” first appears in bar 4 and is a consistent element across all subdivisions. These are frequently deployed in single-stroke sticking combinations. Fourth, bar 5 includes the first use of 5-tuplet groupings, which commonly have embedded rhythms with them as well. In the French style, 5-, 7-, and 9-tuplet groupings are common. And finally, both double-bounce and multiple-bounce rolls are present throughout, adding expressive range through roll density and color.
I recommend practicing the piece one measure at a time, mastering the combinations and deliberately placing each element before attempting to flow through the phrases. The dynamic range is fairly simple to allow for a clear separation of tones and an opportunity to master the elements of the piece with different characterizations.
Players interested in further study of this style should look into the work of Joseph Tompkins and Guy Lefevre.
Intro de Franco from Percussive Arts Society on Vimeo.
Daniel J. Krumm is a percussionist of wide-ranging experience. Equally at home in the symphony orchestra, musical theatre ensemble, samba bateria, salsa band, folklorico, djembefola, chamber ensemble, solo stage, or teaching studio, he brings a diverse array of skills and sensibilities to any situation. Having received formal training in percussion during his undergraduate studies at Iowa State University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Dan is now living and working in central Iowa. He can be heard on Matthew Coley’s CD Souvenirs, Neil Thornock’s CD Between the Lines, and the Heartland Marimba Festival’s inaugural CD, Heartland Marimba Dances.