“Blues for Brandi” is a slow 12-bar blues head that focuses on chord structures and various forms of dampening. Pay particular attention to the markings for the sustain pedal, as well as the dead stroke and muffling instructions. The muffling can be accomplished a number of ways, but was written with mallet dampening in mind. Great explanations of this can be found in various places, but if watching the video, note that the mallet doing the muffling is silently contacting the bar with enough pressure that the rattan slightly bends. It is recommended to try this only with rattan shaft mallets, as birch mallets do not possess the same flexibility.
The melody notes used for the piece highlight possible chord tones to use in a solo, and performers are encouraged to continue improvising over the chord changes after the melody is complete. Chord symbols are included to highlight what melody tones are associated with what chord. Use these as a jumping-off point, and see what you find! Playing with a bass player, piano, guitar, another vibraphonist, or other chording instrument is highly encouraged, and will open up new avenues for the piece. Enjoy, and please share your efforts!
Mark McCafferty is an in-demand percussionist in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area, and has been featured on concerts as close to home as Delhi, Ohio, and as far away as Valencia, Spain. Teaching credits include hundreds of private-lesson students and numerous marching and concert ensembles. Most notably, McCafferty serves as Percussion Instructor, and Chair of the Department of Music at Mount St. Joseph University. An active composer and arranger, McCafferty’s work ranges from commissions and originals to arrangements of pop tunes. His works are available at mccaffertypercussion.com and at sheetmusicplus.com.