In Irish traditional music, a slow air is marked by the absence of strict meter and is usually played by an unaccompanied solo instrument. It seeks to emulate the highly-personalized sean-nós (SHAN-ohss), or “old style” of traditional, unaccompanied Irish solo singing, which has a freely floating quality not unlike that of chant.
Examples of instrumental Irish slow airs and sean-nós singing are abundant on the internet, and the timpanist is asked to reference these in the development of a free-sounding, singing tone with expression that is felt rather than read.
The repeats in this solo are optional, but the performer is encouraged in sean-nós fashion to vary the ornamentation and rhythms if the repeats are taken.
Dr. David O’Fallon is a composer, percussionist, and educator. His background as a performer includes working for many years in Chicago as a freelance 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 from the University of Kentucky in 2015, and he has taught percussion, music theory, orchestration, and music-related humanities courses at a number of colleges and universities in Illinois and Florida. He serves on the PAS Composition Committee, and his compositions are available through Alfred Music, Carl Fischer, Per-Mus Publications, and self-publication.
Lucas Sanchez 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.