Macbride, David- Shape Notes, for flute and two percussionists (Digital Download)

(No reviews yet) Write a Review

Includes score and parts.

Print size: 11 x 17"

Review from Percussive Notes (2021):

Shape Notes
David Macbride

“Shape Notes” uses an interesting take on graphic scoring. Each of the three movements is based on a shape: Star, Triangle, Diamond. The shape is drawn in the center of the score and has a short section of music written by each of its corners. The performers can begin at any corner and play the music reading in either direction around the shape, with instructions on how many times to repeat that section. The shape is only included in the percussion parts, the flute part is written in a more standard through-composed manner.

The concept of the piece, inspired by both Lou Harrison’s “First Concerto” and Lois Ehlert’s “Color Zoo,” is original and interesting, and the music itself is alternately groovy and dreamy. The three parts each play in different time signatures, with the eighth note being consistent throughout. Each grouping of two bars comes out to the same number of eighth notes, so while the beat itself is obscured, the players start and end each repetition together.

The instructions leave something to be desired, as the score doesn’t indicate that both percussionists need their own set of instruments, or that they read off of the same part — one reading the top line, one reading the bottom line. Once the concept is understood, the music isn’t overly difficult to read, but it does initially require some puzzling out. The score is handwritten, and it isn’t always intuitive as to which instrument is indicated.

At around two minutes each, the three movements manage to capture the desired concept without running on too long. The music itself is quaint and engaging, and “Shape Notes” would make a cool addition to an undergraduate program looking to dabble in graphic scores, alternative notation, and mixed ensemble playing.

—Marilyn K. Clark Silva


Videos Hide Videos Show Videos