If you are interested in commissioning the next piece on the Portable Percussion Series, please follow this link. $20 to sign up.
This is an ongoing series for small percussion instruments. The next one is coming up at the end of this year (2018). it's going to be a duet, but I don't have any specific plans as to which instruments to use. If you have suggestions, please email me!
All of these pieces are available for purchase. Follow this link.
Four for Flexatones (2009)
Cody Jensen, Tim Berg, Zack Penckofer, Brandon Runyon, flexatones; Vincent Caliano, video
Tim Berg, Justin Peters, Mark Eichenberger wah wah tubes; Evan Chapman, audio & video
Can be played as a duet, trio, quartet or quintet. I have only heard the duet and trio versions. As far as I know, no group has tried it with five tubes.
Meinl Percussion makes two pitches; they are substantially larger with warm tones. The instruments shown in the video are from Schlagwerk. They are much more toy-like than Meinl ones. You can easily find them in the US.
Here's another video of Tim and Justin playing it with Meinl tubes.
The performers choose pitch combinations.
The Well Seasoned Iron Pan (2015)
Mark Eichenberger (9-inch lodge cast iron skillet), Loren Stata, audio & video
Due to improper care, my cast iron pan came to its demise with rust and scratches. The rust and scratches gave it a beautifully complex resonance. The chopstick play is partly inspired by numerous Chinese martial arts films I watched growing up where characters frequently fought over food using chopsticks. I remember the joy and surprise those silly scenes brought to my family—an insignificant material presented with such marvelous dexterity, violence, and humor! I also loved the idea of controlling something that controls something else, providing a delightful slackening of precision. The Well Seasoned Iron Pan was written in the spring of 2015 for my dear husband Mark Eichenberger.
Triangle Trio (2013, rev. 2016)
Tim Berg, triangle; Justin Peters, castanets; Mark Eichenberger, tambourine; Evan Chapman, audio & video
Triangle Trio is the second piece from my series for portable percussion instruments. I spent my childhood in South Korea in the 1980s-90s where expensive classical instruments were not available in public schools. Most of the music classes were conducted in a crowded classroom of 50-something children; triangle, castanets, and tambourine comprised the main rhythm section while melodions and recorders played tunes.
Decades later, I decided to elevate this sheer joy of noise-making. My desire to rethink music, coupled with the belief that the silly little instruments can create an intricate musical structure, found a surprising parallel from this childhood experience. Triangle Trio unfolds in cycles. Each cycle develops some characteristic element from the initial rhythmic motive. After a written-out ritardando at the end of the piece, the beginning rhythm is restated at 1/16th of the initial tempo, transformed unrecognizably. Triangle Trio is written for and dedicated to my good friend, e-cigarette smoking Tim Berg.
水 (Shuǐ, 2017)
Tim Berg, Mark Eichenberger & Justin Peters, percussionists; Evan Chapman, audio & video
I conceived Shui as a miniaturized version of an extended musical meditation. The circular shape of the instrument, the round bowl, and the long resonance are all conducive to meditative environment. As in any ensemble music--perhaps more palpable in this case--the performers are indispensable parts of the whole. Each performer has only two pitches so that all melodies have to be played collectively. There’s one moment they have to pass crotales to each other without killing the resonance, as if the sound is a living being.