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Three Shells

marimba solo
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Composer: Christopher Deane
Publisher: Innovative Percussion, Inc.
Instrumentation: Marimba - four and a third octave

Program Notes:
Three Shells creates an abstract narrative between the basic motivic materials. An echo like motive based on a tone row gives a sustaining quality to the marimba while the second element emerges as a traditional melody accompainment figure. The third element is an interruptive motive based on the original row. Mark Ford performed the premier of Three Shells in 1993 and the work is dedictated to my sister Leslie, who's pen and ink drawing provided me with the title. The four mallets to be used when performing this work should be chosen with as rich a tone quality as is possible yet still having the capability to speak clearly in all registers and within a wide dynamic range.

"Three Shells is a work for solo marimba (a 4 1/3 octave instrument will suffice) that is probably already familiar to many serious marimbists. It has been available since 1992, the year it won second prize in the PAS composition competition, and can now be heard on Mark Ford's CD, Polaris. Three Shells is an excellent example of a composition that exploits a particular idiomatic technique used in the performance of an instrument--in this case, the execution of double lateral strokes, played simultaneously by both hands, and also alternated, hand-to-hand fashion. Of course, in the hands of a good composer, applications of a particular technical approach would be used only as a means to a musical end. This is the case with Deane's piece, which can certainly stand on its own musical merits. His use of the rapid, dependent rotary strokes sets up an interesting, kaleidoscopic effect, as right and left hands interact in various combinations. The repetitious motor rhythms set up by these interactions are broken up by contrasting slower, lyrical sections that utilize a rich harmonic palette. Any serious college marimbist, who has mastered the requisite techniques and spends the necessary time to learn this solo, should be amply rewarded for the effort." - John R. Raush Percussive Notes, April 1997

Related Artists

Christopher Deane Christopher Deane
University of North Texas
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