Paul Cox's 2012 first original score for light drums. Performed by Samuel Haese, Ryan Hilty and Eric Young.
Thunderclap for Six Kinetic Light Drums
By Paul Cox
Thunderclap for six kinetic light drums is a composition inspired by both literal and literary sources. Literally, the work recalls the sounds of an approaching thunderstorm, with the low drums emulating the distant rumblings of thunder. It is also based on a literary source, James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake, specifically the moment at the beginning of the book when a thunder clap signals the start of a new supernatural age, the fall of Finnegan, and the introduction of the voice of God as expressed by Joyce's hundred-letter word:
I use this word as the basis for the composition. Each section of the word is translated into a rhythmic gesture. For example, "bababa dal" is converted into three eighth notes and one quarter note. This rhythmic translation is derived from the sound of speaking the fragment. As such, the entire word generates a set of rhythmic gestures that are combined into one long rhythmic phrase that serves as the material for the entire work.
To highlight the visual capabilities of the drums, different mallets are used, including a "rubber ball" mallet, which uses friction-generated sounds to create sustained light beams. Brushes, hard mallets and sticks are also used on the drumhead, as well. Clicks on the rim and body of the drums are also used throughout the piece.