Commissioned by Dame Evelyn Glennie, Drum Dances has become a standard for drum kit and piano repertoire. This piece was written during the launch and rise of Chick Corea’s Elektric Band, a band that also revealed the genius of Dave Weckl (along with John Patitucci, Eric Marienthal, and Frank Gambale) to the world. I was mesmerized by the interaction between drums and keyboard in the Elektric Band, and the influence of that music is evident in Drum Dances. This work is heavily influenced by jazz and rock music, particularly from the late 1980s to early 1990s. I am greatly inspired by the drumming of Dave Weckl, the very different pianistic styles of Keith Jarret and Chick Corea, and the enormous energy in the music of guitarists like Steve Vai. Each of the four dances was stimulated by a certain rhythmic interaction possible between two performers. From the chaotic first movement (which is like a game where both players attempt to force each other's cadences), to the ending of the prestissimo fourth movement (where both parts are synchronised) the two performers gradually begin working together instead of battling for priority. The second movement includes a glockenspiel part for the percussionist, and is a loosely written, stately dance. The third movement involves very tight rhythmic interaction and is driven by syncopation simultaneously occurring on several levels (i.e. from the semiquaver to the crotchet).
I would like to add that it is a great privilege to write for Evelyn Glennie and that her interest in my music has had a major positive impact on my experiences as a composer.
This work is dedicated to my wife, Carla.
Watch and Listen
Drum Dances (drum set and piano)
for Drum Set and Piano
Commissioner: Dame Evelyn Glennie
Dedication: Carla Psathas
Instrumentation: Drum Set/Glockenspiel and Piano
Players 1: Drum Set (with Glockenspiel)
Player 2: Piano (it is strongly recommended that the piano is amplified)
- The piano must be amplified.
- The first two movements are to be played as one with no break in the sound.
- The third and fourth movements are to be played as one with no break.
- Accidentals are relevant only in their specific register and effect an entire measure.
- The open hi-hat under the stave is a foot splash.
- Where ever possible a closed hi-hat immediately following an open hi-hat is a 'foot- closed-hi-hat'.
- While the snare ghost notes are meant to be very quiet, they form an integral part of the rhythm and so must be audible.
- In the second movement the glockenspiel beaters can be used on the snare, toms, and the crash cymbal. It is also acceptable if the performer feels comfortable to make a quick change from drum sticks and back to glockenspiel beaters.
- In m.31 of the second movement the performer is to mute the crash cymbal immediately after striking.
- It has been left to the performer to decide where to use the various crash cymbals. The only suggestion I have is that in the third movement, as there are an abundance of cymbal crashes, a variety of sound should be aimed for to help sustain the impact of these punctuations - it is recommended that the china crash be saved for the more important cadences.