Sunday, March 09, 2008

Triangle Music

"The triangle is by no means a simple instrument to play."
James Blades, English Percussionist
The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

Tonight I attended a concert in Keller Hall at UNM. More specifically, this was a percussion concert centering on one particular faculty member whose name escapes me right now (I probably should have kept that program). Anyway, he performed four pieces starting with a collaboration with two other percussionists playing on just one snare drum. Maintaining the same basic beat and tempo throughout the piece, they explored a myriad of tones and sounds that can be made with just drum sticks and a snare - including the sound of drum sticks hitting the air just above the drum, seriously.

But the absolute highlight had to be the triangle.

Suspended by fine fishing line in the middle of a metal hoop sat a single triangle. The main performer stepped up to the triangle and began to strike it with his wand, beginning a simple, rhythmic pattern and continued playing and, like the snare drum piece, began exploring every manner in which a simple triangular piece of metal could produce sound.

And that sound became music.

He produced so many different notes and, if you listened closely, a melody. Beyond just a melody, he manipulated the sound with every change in technique. At one point, once he had managed to produce such an intense volume and frequency, he reached in to the center of the triangle and "pushed" the sound out. That's the only way I can describe it. He actually manipulated the frequency and vibrations with his hand.

He literally pushed music with his hand.

It was all I could think of for the remainder of the piece. He just pushed music with his hand.

And somehow I've taken that thought and allowed it to inspire me to push myself in my own music. And for that I am grateful.

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