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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Like Stomp? Percussion ensemble rocks Crowder

    The Arizona Percussion Ensemble, composed of music performance and music education majors, uses untraditional instruments like newspapers, cards, and tables. They also perform an entire Steve Reich piece by clapping their hands. You still have to clap after theyre done, though.
    The Arizona Percussion Ensemble, composed of music performance and music education majors, uses untraditional instruments like newspapers, cards, and tables. They also perform an entire Steve Reich piece by clapping their hands. You still have to clap after they’re done, though.

    A deck of cards. Newspapers. These are not typical percussion instruments, but they will be used to make music in the Arizona Percussion Ensemble’s performance Saturday.

    The 15-member group, composed of music performance and music education students, will bring together a variety of contemporary and unconventional pieces. These pieces will include Steve Reich’s “”Clapping Music,”” which is composed of nothing more than two people clapping.

    “”Steve Reich had been traveling around the world giving concerts carrying thousands of pounds of instruments, so he wanted to write a piece that required no instruments,”” said Norman Weinberg, a music professor and the group’s director.

    Another alternative piece the group will perform is “”Living Room Music,”” a four-movement work by John Cage. The piece is designed to be played with materials found in somebody’s living room, Weinberg said, so the group will be using a deck of cards and newspapers to hit against walls and tabletops. To create high and low pitches, the musician will have more cards in one hand than the other and tap on tables to produce different pitches.

    Thierry De Mey’s work “”Musique de Tables”” will feature more than 20 ways of imitiating instrument sounds with just the musician’s hands on three amplified tables.

    “”Each of the musicians have a number of different ways they play the table,”” Weinberg said. “”They scratch it with their fingernails, playing with their fingers on the edge, heel of the hand, fist, side of hand.””

    The concert will not just feature these unusual percussion pieces, but also some slow pieces played with xylophones, vibraphones and marimbas.

    “”When they go to the concert, they’re going to hear a variety of sounds and tone colors and special effects that help keep the concert interesting and make each of the pieces different,”” Weinberg said.

    With such an array of unique ways to make sound, there are plenty of difficulties in rehearsing and playing such pieces, he said.

    “”Another issue we constantly deal with is making certain the music has line and shape and color and contour,”” he said. “”Some say percussion is only rhythm, but that’s not the case.””

    Weinberg said the concert should be entertaining to watch and hear.

    “”Playing percussion is very physical and very visual,”” he said. “”They’re exciting pieces.””

    The Arizona Percussion Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. in Crowder Hall.

    Admission is free.

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