Fourteen Percussions (2000)

Basic Information
Japanese フォーティーン・パーカッションズ
German Fourteen Percussions
Opus 119
Year 2000
Category Chamber
Duration 14 min.
Instruments perc
Score information
Steve Weiss Music
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Description by the Composer

In this work, two players each play seven percussion instruments, which they have chosen from within some given constraints: Each player selects two metal, two wooden, and two membrane percussion instruments with short reverberation, and one percussion with long reverberation. In addition, one player can only choose among high to medium pitch instruments, and the other player only among medium and low pitch ones.

"Fourteen Percussions" bears some similarities to my earlier work "Thirteen Drums" (1985, op. 66), of which the similarity in name is immediately apparent. But while the latter is structured around the number "13", this composition follows a "7 x 2 = 14" structure.

Both works also have conceptual resemblances; here the main difference lies in their respective use of timbre or tone colors. In "Thirteen Drums", the rhythmical transformation occurs with the 13 membrane instruments, leading to a more monochromatic timbre, whereas the instrumental choice given in "Fourteen Percussions", result in a much greater variety of tone colors as well as pitch ranges, through which the rhythmical and structural values are transformed.

Furthermore, the varying playing methods of the fourteen different percussion instruments likewise lead to tone color changes, letting the rhythmical patterns evolve from "simple"—traditional playing methods—to "complex"—the intricate playing methods prevalent in contemporary music.

Maki Ishii, March 2001 (transl. K. Ishii)