Three for Two and One

(2020)
In the summer of 2020, percussionist Joey Van Hassel asked me to write a solo piece for him. Percussion is a big world, and having too many choices can be daunting, so getting a start was slow. Then Joey mentioned he had two marimbas, one of which was tuned a quarter-tone low. Aha! 
 
The result was a three-movement work, “Three for Two and One,” using the microtonal resources of his marimbas in three different ways. The first movement is a additive-process piece, using a twelve-note motif repeated, with first one note, then two, three… replaced with a note a quarter tone low, then reversed. The second movement is chordal, using microtonal inflections to gradually “bend” chords. The third movement is just for fun, using Scott Joplin’s “Solace” to illustrate the movment’s subtitle: “What if Florence Foster Jenkins Played Ragtime?”
 
The piece also exists in an version adapted for one (conventional) marimba, with the first movement and third movement replacing the quarter-tones with simple chromatics, and the second movment with all microtonal elements removed, and changing the title to “Three for Marimba.”
Instrumentation
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