3 years ago


  • Text
  • Audio
  • Timpani
  • Psathas
by John Psathas | Timpani and Digital Audio. The variety of playing techniques in Buyan demonstrate the subtleties offered—yet often overlooked—by the timpani. The player must navigate syncopated grooves in compound time, simmering roll and glissandi techniques, and playing with fingers. Most challenging of all, though, is the extensive pedalling required to articulate Buyan’s melodic material.

that supported melodic

that supported melodic lines, but never got in the way of them. I realised John had an understanding of how to make timpani sing. The pedalling required was extremely challenging, and I loved that. It was exhilarating and I craved more of it, which led me to eventually learning the entire concerto. Once I started to look for other new works to play, I found that the repertoire for timpani with advanced pedalling is quite limited, and that we haven’t even come close to exploiting its melodic potential. This is what eventually led to my Melodic Timpani Project, in which I asked composers to explore this potential and see what is possible. My instructions were: “Do not write a timpani solo. Write music as you would for any other instrument, and my challenge is to figure out how to play it on timpani”. Being the inspiration for the whole idea, John was the first person I asked to write for the project. If you have ever played any of John’s music, you know that he doesn’t take it easy on the performer. After studying one of the early drafts of Buyan, I asked John to add more pedalling. Being aware of his reputation for writing extremely challenging music, John was both stunned and amused, revealing that I was the first person to ever ask him to make a piece more difficult. In hindsight that was probably a dangerous request as Buyan’s difficulty level then skyrocketed. Some advice to future performers: Be mentally engaged the whole time. Don’t depend solely on muscle memory as there is no time to react and recover. Your pedal motions should be quick and precise, and your physical movement around the drums should never distract from the music. Be vigilant in releasing unnecessary tension from your technique, otherwise it will slow you down. Performing Buyan is invigorating from start to finish. Enjoy the journey, and don’t forget to breathe. Buyan is very representative of the potential of timpani in a melodic context and I am beyond thrilled with the outcome. I am honoured to have a part in this, knowing how much of an impact this piece will have on the future of melodic timpani. Performance notes • Drum requirements: 5–6 timpani spanning two octaves from low C to high C. • In the section starting m.135, it is suggested that a second 32” timpano is used solely for the low C. If this is not available then use a bass drum instead. PE189 – vi

• Balanced action pedals are recommended as tuning changes occur rapidly throughout. • Quick pedalling motion during melodic passages is required to avoid glissandi between pitches (except where glissandi are specified). Overall, the pedalling should not distract from the performance of the work. Digital Audio There are a few options available for the digital audio component of this work: 1. Performance DryMix: This is the recommended track for most situations. It has no added reverb (apart from a few essential exceptions), and will match the non-amplified dry, non-reverbed sound of acoustic timpani in a recital space. Using this track will result in the most natural blend between pre-recorded elements and the live timpani. 2. Performance Reverb: This reverb-only track can be mixed with the DryMix track as needed to add a controllable amount of reverb to the digital audio component. This track cannot be used by itself and must be used in conjunction with the DryMix track by using a digital audio workstation (DAW) software to play both tracks simultaneously. This is an option for extremely dry acoustic situations where some reverb may be needed for the digital audio. Having the reverb separated allows for variable degrees of wetness for a range of situations. 3. Alternate Performance Mix: In cases where the timpani are amplified and reverb is added to the amplified timpani, this track is fully mixed with reverb to match. This option is intended for larger-scale, louder performances. 4. Click: The performance tracks above are intended to provide the timpanist with all the audio information required to perform without a click track. But in cases where an in-ear click track is necessary it is provided here. There are no additional count-in bars as the timpanist does not begin playing immediately. A playback solution with multiple outputs would be required to use this click track with one of the performance mixes. 5. Reference Mix: A reference track including a MIDI timpani performance. This is not to be used in performance. The digital audio was mixed by John Neill at Park Road Post Productions. PE189 – vii

Score Library

Digital Audio Timpani Psathas