Another percussion ensemble piece published!
This work, entitled "Syzygy", has to be one of my most favorite compositions I've ever done.
This piece features only melodic percussion. In my experience, quality pieces with this instrumentation are few and far between and can add a lot to your concert program.
Syzygy includes 3 marimba parts (none of which require a 5-octave range), 2 vibraphone parts, glockenspiel, chimes, and xylophone. Most high school and college programs have access to these instruments, which makes this piece accessible to all.
When I sit down to write a piece, I must choose between two paths. I can write a piece simply from a musical idea, finish the work, and then come up with a name, OR I can come up with a name first and write a piece based off a title. Syzygy is a prime example of the latter.
I was drawn to the word "Syzygy" after reading it in an article about the impending Solar Eclipse on 8/21/2017. I love peculiar words, and this one spoke to me. The definition of the word is "the alignment of celestial bodies". This immediately got the cogs turning in my brain, and I had to write down some of my musical ideas.
The piece fades in with a quiet blanket of marimba rhythms, all playing differing 16th note partials, and muting the bars with one hand. This creates the feeling as if a Solar Eclipse event is about to happen. The cluster chord created by the different marimba notes creates a very ethereal feeling. As the first phrase progresses, the rhythms start to line up and split apart again, representing "syzygy".
The next phrase builds in intensity, creating tension which is released in the following phrase with a lush melody provided by marimba arpeggios and vibraphone lines. The middle of the piece represents the peak of alignment.
The piece ends in the same way it began; quiet and ethereal, slowly fading out just as the eclipse began.
I hope you enjoy Syzygy. Please contact me if you plan to perform this piece, I'd love to feature your event on my website. Also, check out some of my other compositions and pieces, some of which are FREE!
Updates from music educator and composer, Matthew Curley.