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Genus Australis

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This is a suite for percussion instruments with a core of four players.

1 - Marimba doubling on Xylophone

2 - Marimba

3 - 5-octave Yamaha Grand Marimba

4 - Vibraphone

The additional instruments can be either real or sampled keyboard instruments at the discretion of the director and core players. For example, waterphones and prayer bells that play on pitch will be very difficult to find. Also, stage amplification and audio effects are required for the toy piano and the celesta, if they are the real thing. There is an instrument that may sound familiar and that is the Marimbarium, a synthesized instrument which is based on a marimba but has sustain and morphing abilities.  I will probably add one or two more movements, and finish with a Presto, but so far this is it. I'll come back to it later as I have to move on to other stuff! I hope that you like it.

The general conceit here is that these fictional creatures may or may not exist somewhere in Australia. But with thousands of square miles yet unexplored, who's to say they don't?

Edited by Ken320
Correction: Millioins of square miles, not thousands.

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An ambitious suite. I mean, it's complicated to write for a percussion ensemble because of one player can take several instruments. I like the way you have built it up thinking in live performance.

Of course I can't tell you anything technically speaking. It's perfect and a lesson about scoring for these instruments.

I would define this pieces (from my experience as a listener) as "soundscapes". I think the third one is my favourite, although the last one is fascinating.

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Thank you for taking the time to listen and comment, Luis. I've been wanting to do a percussion piece for a while. Now I guess I can cross it off the list.

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Awesome piece!!

Mv. 1 The interplay is great, sounds really effortless.

Mvt. 2: image.png.343c2d3a06b70842b7b3932b1977e865.png Might have liked to see this tonal expression worked in a little more if you're going to use it. I liked it, but didn't hear references to it before or after, and because it was a nice unique moment my ear wanted to hear more of it.

Mvt. 3 is beautiful, the way everything works together is quite nice. Everything sounds very similar throughout, I'm beginning to lose track of myself and lose focus as I listen. You put so much work into the notes and rhythms, but I'm not sure I'd be able to walk away from that with "something to hum", if that makes sense. The textures are so gorgeous, though, that I enjoy listening even if I won't be able to recall specifics from this movement.

Mvt. 4 - Nice!

I love works written for live musicians, and if it involves unique aspects like the live synthesized stuff then that's something truly special. Would love to see this performed!



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Thanks for your comments, Gustav. the good thing about suites is that you can add more on and take some off, depending on what works and what doesn't. I think I'll replace the second movement with something more in keeping with the others. The line you quoted is a written solo line and not meant to be developed except maybe if I had a relationship with some percussionists I could approach the score more as jazz with a lot of 'ad libs' peppered all over the place with repeats, as they soloed over the chords. As it is, I should probably stick with the hypnotic ostinatos.

Your comments were very helpful!

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