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Topic: Two Moods for Mallet Quartet

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  1. #1

    Two Moods for Mallet Quartet

    Hello everybody! Here is a mallet quartet finished today. It is written for Glockenspiel, Vibraphone, and two Marimbas. The glockenspiel and vibraphone are both GPO, and the marimbas are Virtual Drumline.

    Typically, I would hesitate before posting something that is only 1/2 GPO on this forum, but I am in need of some help! Perhaps I am just being paranoid, but I feel some of the melodies used in this sound familiar...a bit too familiar, so if you happen to recognize them from somewhere, please let me know.

    Otherwise, I hope you enjoy, "Two Moods!"

    http://www.soundclick.com/player/sin...=11466671&q=hi

    Thanks for listening!

    (Note, though the quartet is generally piano to mezzo forte, I wouldn't be offended if you turned up the volume a bit )
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  2. #2

    Re: Two Moods for Mallet Quartet

    Quote Originally Posted by sanyarem View Post
    Hello everybody! Here is a mallet quartet finished today. It is written for Glockenspiel, Vibraphone, and two Marimbas. The glockenspiel and vibraphone are both GPO, and the marimbas are Virtual Drumline.

    Typically, I would hesitate before posting something that is only 1/2 GPO on this forum, but I am in need of some help! Perhaps I am just being paranoid, but I feel some of the melodies used in this sound familiar...a bit too familiar, so if you happen to recognize them from somewhere, please let me know.

    Otherwise, I hope you enjoy, "Two Moods!"

    http://www.soundclick.com/player/sin...=11466671&q=hi

    Thanks for listening!

    (Note, though the quartet is generally piano to mezzo forte, I wouldn't be offended if you turned up the volume a bit )
    Hi, Michael -- I enjoyed your moody percussion piece. I have a new descriptor for it - "Phillip Glass meets Steven Spielberg"--- not that Steven is a composer, but we all associate a certain "tinkly, wondrous adventure" sound with his films, and there was some of that mood in your music.

    As far as passages being familiar or exactly like something else - all that comes to mind for me is that the first theme in your piece features a repeating arpeggio which is the kind of thing Glass has made a trademark. That's coupled with the suspended then resolved tinkly melody on top which is cinematic and familiar sounding, but I wouldn't be able to say it's exactly like something else. -- I should add that I don't think I've ever heard any music which doesn't remind me of something else, because everything written is a continuum of what already exists in the universe.

    The Marimbas have a boomy quality which grates on me a bit, but that reaction isn't specific to your recording. Marimbas always do that to me when they're used so constantly - they're something I prefer in small doses, especially when low octaves are emphasized like in this music. Those hollow, somewhat boomy low notes are emphasized by the reverb too. So, well, that's just a personal taste issue with me.

    I found it very interesting - Thanks, Michael.

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: Two Moods for Mallet Quartet

    Thanks Randy, your advice is always greatly appreciated. You're probably right in that this is just a case of having a lot of similar qualities to other composers (Glass is spot on, I'm surprised I didn't think of him). I usually try to avoid writing something that fits so clearly into a specific style, but I do agree with your philosophy that music isn't created in a vacuum...at least, not in a proverbial vacuum. I suppose one could attempt to compose something within a vacuum, whether a true vacuum, or something more along the lines of a Hoover or Oreck.

    As for the marimba, I can understand where you area coming from. Personally, I love the lower registers of the marimba, but that may be why it comes across a bit too heavy. Perhaps it is more of a balance issue in spots, and after listening to it with that in mind, I can see where there are a few points where some of the notes resonate together more than in other spots (boomy is a good word choice, though my browser claims it isn't a word...). I spent a lot of time working with the balance of the instruments in this recording, more than usual, but my focus was making sure the glockenspiel wasn't over-powering the other instruments (as is so easily done) and that the vibraphone had a slightly more distinct timbre so it could be detected over the running triplets of the marimbas. Basically, I was trying to make the samples sound played with a different type of mallet than what they were recorded with, without using samples of the instruments actually being played with different mallets. (something I have yet to purchase, as I'm using the GPO that came with Finale )

    More on the lower marimba notes, as this is a topic I like to talk about...typically lower notes will be played with a softer mallet (depending on the performed piece) for the very reason you mentioned. The notes can sound too pronounced, and ring louder and longer than the notes in the higher registers, which sometimes is desirable, other times not (again, just depends on the piece). In my case, the running triplets in the lower registers are meant to be accompaniment, not in the forefront, so perhaps your fresher ears that have not been listening to this for the past two days were better ready to pick up on that.

    Well, this response was longer than I expected, but thanks for listening and responding! I will end now.
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  4. #4

    Re: Two Moods for Mallet Quartet

    How original. Since you have proved being a "master" in this, why not doing a complete percussion symphony? This is not a joke, but a real question. In any case, this piece attracted me very much. You set me thinking about using one of these instruments in a new piece. Is this called "inspired" by Sanyarem? Yes!

    Thanks a lot,

    Raymond

  5. #5

    Re: Two Moods for Mallet Quartet

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond62 View Post
    How original. Since you have proved being a "master" in this, why not doing a complete percussion symphony? This is not a joke, but a real question. In any case, this piece attracted me very much. You set me thinking about using one of these instruments in a new piece. Is this called "inspired" by Sanyarem? Yes!

    Thanks a lot,

    Raymond
    Aww, you flatter me, Raymond

    I really appreciate your comment, and to answer your question, I have considered writing a lengthy percussion piece, whether it is actually a symphony or something that can stand alone in a concert setting. One reason I am staying away from that right now is that if I were to take on such a project, I would want an instrument to use as a point of reference. Sure, I can use my keyboard to see how the notes lie, and in most cases, I can figure out what I need to know from that. However, recently most of my compositions for percussion have been somewhere in the range of beginner-intermediate in difficulty, and if I write something longer, I really want it to be at least somewhat challenging to the performer, while still being impressive to the listener, and for that, I would feel much more comfortable with a marimba to play around on (which is something I hope to purchase in the next two or three months...I'm very excited )

    If you are interested in using mallets, or just percussion in general, I would highly recommend looking up Casey Cangelosi on youtube. I vaguely remember seeing a video of him on youtube around 2009 or 2010, but in the past couple years, his popularity has exploded and for a very good reason. He has some done some very great work for percussion, including a marimba concerto and some etudes that are out of this world. (A minor #2 just captivates me every time I see/hear it)

    Anyways, if you're up for some more percussion listening and ideas, check him out
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  6. #6

    Re: Two Moods for Mallet Quartet

    Listened to this A minor #2 and the Etude in C minor. Great doing. Wonderful that a man can hanlde two sticks in one hand and let those "mallets" play individually.

    Thank you giving this idea for Youtube,

    Raymond

  7. #7

    Re: Two Moods for Mallet Quartet

    Very dreamy - love the sound of the mallets. I tired composing in a vacuum, but I couldn't hear anything. (ba-boom-tish).

    I really under use mallets - you've given me some inspiration...
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  8. #8

    Re: Two Moods for Mallet Quartet

    Quote Originally Posted by Plowking View Post
    Very dreamy - love the sound of the mallets. I tired composing in a vacuum, but I couldn't hear anything. (ba-boom-tish).

    I really under use mallets - you've given me some inspiration...
    Thank you very much, it makes me very happy to hear that this has encouraged people to use more instruments from the realm of mallets

    There is sort of a cult-following of percussion music on the interwebs, which, don't get me wrong, is great, but I would love to hear more of it in the main-stream classical literature (or other genres, for that matter). I do believe compositions for percussion have come a long way in the past 40 years, not to mention the last 100.

    Again, if you want more inspiration for percussive goodness, I would send you to the same videos I referred Raymond to in my earlier post!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  9. #9

    Re: Two Moods for Mallet Quartet

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond62 View Post
    Listened to this A minor #2 and the Etude in C minor. Great doing. Wonderful that a man can hanlde two sticks in one hand and let those "mallets" play individually.

    Thank you giving this idea for Youtube,

    Raymond
    Hello again Raymond, I'm glad you mentioned the 2-mallets per hand. The technique has been around for a very very long time, but it has really become more commonplace as of late. It started as sort of a novelty effect, but percussionists like Musser (whose grip is the basis for the grip used in the video you saw) really brought it into popularity. Throw in percussionists Burton, Glennie, and Abe, and you've got (at least what I consider, in my unprofessional opinion) the roots of modern marimba/mallets.

    A brief anecdote: At my small high school in Indiana, years ago, when I attempted a four-mallet grip (in which I now realize I had no idea what I was doing, having no one with experience to help) I thought it was sooo difficult. Though I wouldn't dare say it out loud, I thought the fact that I could play a four-mallet marimba solo by 10th grade was pretty awesome. Then I moved to Georgia my senior year, and as a member of the Georgia Youth Symphony orchestra, I saw another percussionist practicing the same solo I had learned. She was in 7th grade. There went my ego

    My point is, 4-mallet technique is getting to the point where it is practically standard for a percussionist to learn (especially for percussionists who perform in competitive environments).
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  10. #10
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    Re: Two Moods for Mallet Quartet

    Sounds great. Randy said it reminds him a little of Phillip Glass but I say parts of it remind me lot of Phillip Glass, particularly on the album Glassworks. Here is a sample - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDN8NzIGz-Y&feature=fvsr but there are other things I can't find as easy that are closer - it isn't just the arpeggios but the chord progression.

    And then there are parts that don't remind of Phillip Glass at all. Parts of it have an almost gamelan sound, not as a cliche for mallet instruments but as a point of departure.

    Overall I really like this. It has a great sound. I agree with Raymond that you should write something bigger - can't wait to hear what you post once you do have a marimba to play around with.
    Trent P. McDonald

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