gray – viola and percussion (2017)

This work was originally developed with choreographer Wendell Gray II as a part of Periapsis Music & Dance’s First Emerging Artist Residency. The specific sound of each unit is defined, but the rhythm and overall timing of each section is determined by the dancers. The dancers become a part of the score, determining the rhythm and pacing of the work with their physicality. Both a rehearsal score that includes details based on the original choreography, and a bare performance score are included.

If the work is performed as a concert piece without dancers, the performers should find an organic pacing for the sections, and need not match the timings of the original recorded version. Some suggested solutions:

  • the performers could use a timer (after the introduction [A], each section should be between two to three minutes in length)

  • the performers could choose to watch/project a video of the dance as a part of the score to react to in real time

  • the performers could react to a painter in real time who is creating a watercolor painting on the wall of the space

In any interpretation, the performers should create long lines that explore the subtle shifts in timbre apparent in the writing.

The percussion instruments used are temple bowls, snare drum, and pū‘ili.

pū‘ili. 1. n. Bamboo rattles, as used for dancing. 2. vt. To clasp, hold fast in the hand, embrace, grasp firmly. Pū‘ili mai ‘oe ā pa‘a, hold tight. 3. n. A type of tapa-beater pattern: tips of zigzag ridges in adjacent surfaces meet and form sunken lozenges. Cf. ko‘eau, in which the ridges are parallel.
        — Hawaiian Dictionary. Edited by Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel H. Elbert. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986.

Download the rehearsal score, performance score for percussion, and performance score for viola.

Commissioned and premiered by Periapsis Music and Dance, May 2018. Some images from the premiere performance by dancers Marissa Brielle Wiley Mumford and Isaac Owens with Celia Hatton, viola and Sarah Mullins, percussion.