Prelude for Percussion

Unpitched or only vaguely pitched.

Here we go, then.

A prelude in the real sense - a 2 minute announcement that 'whatever' is about to start.


Trying to come to terms with the sample list and handling - there's a fair bit of it.


Prelude for Percussion 081021.mp3




You need to be a member of Composers' Forum to add comments!

Join Composers' Forum

Email me when people reply –


  • You've definitely got rhythm here Dane, very inventive but cohesive development of a basic pulse.  The sounds are of good quality and blend together well and this is a technical feat too I understand.  It does have the quality of a classic drum solo though.  I think you could do more with this to extend it beyond the drummer showing off vibe without introducing melodic material.  Easy for me to say so at least.  The steady clock tick isn't helping IMHO, maybe it could come and go or get developed more?

    A nice change of pace from our usual melodic fare, thanks for posting!

    • Thank you for commenting and listening, Ingo.

      Point taken about the clock beat but your remarks encourage me to have another go. The VSL percussion is quite a lot to handle, thousands of detailed choices. I haven't got the whole set by any means, just added a couple to the special editions set which is good for most things. About time I found out what they can do though.

      It's been refreshing from my end too, concentrating more on form than "melody" and harmony.

      Cheers for now.

  • Interesting concept! I found the persistent regular beat a little too regular after a while. I think you could leave it out in various places and/or introduce a more syncopated rhythm, just to break up the monotony.

    Also, you could consider doing a gradual dramatic buildup with a climax near the end, reserving the louder / more interesting sounds toward the end in order to drive more suspense / forward momentum. Either that, or start with an unusual, attention-catching gesture of some sort, then have a corresponding, answering gesture around the point of the climax.

  • I found this piece interesting and well worth the listen, and in fact I listen to it more than once. However I found the persistent “click track” detracted from the piece. In a piece like this silence and space is your ally, and I would recommend that you remove it, or have it play irregularly placed accents to break up the monotony. I loved the rest of the piece. We composers (I know I am very guilty of this) want to fill up every micro second with sound when sometime less is more.



  •  Dane,

    Although you have gotten some good advice on this already, I wanted to say "Thank You" for posting this. Other than the already-mentioned metronomic aspect of the steady click, there is plenty enough rhythmic and timbral variety to keep my interest, and, as mentioned, it is a welcome change in pace from our usual listening here. Even though it may have been primarily a sonic and technical exploration of what was available to you, I enjoyed listening to it.


    • Hi Dane,

      Well I agree with the "chorus" about the metronomic "clock tick", but that was the only annoying thing that I found about the piece, which otherwise feels complete to me and not at all "preludial". You have a good feel for the "timbres" of the different percussion instruments and use them quite effectively. Sort of a "drum solo", yes, but more than just a drum solo, with lots of interesting and unexpected events along the way and a satisfying overall shape.

      Thanks for sharing it!


  •  Beautifully realized drum sample realism! I know all about the thousands of details that go into such realism.I found it quite melodic for being non-melodic, in the way that be-bop drummers used to improvise on the melody of the head.Don't let them talk you out of the "metronomic tick". It's modern and refreshing and, for me, keeps a drive to the piece. There's millions of spacey, ambient drum pieces out there 😉
    You run the tick through many shell, head, stick mutations that are quite interesting, anyway.
    Enjoyed it!

    • Thank you very much for your generous comments - and listening.

      I was almost persuaded to do something about the tick but haven't yet, thinking if I do revise it, it would be just to alter how the tick is made to give more variety.

      Instead I wrote another piece without any continuous beat. It wasn't as satisfactory - to me anyway - more like the spacey, ambient things you speak of. Hence not posting it. I may revisit it. Just writing for percussion (but avoiding the sirens and stuff that Varèse uses) was a diversion and challenge.

      Again, many thanks.

  • May I also thank everyone who's listened and commented on this piece, with apologies about my delayed response.

    All your comments have been appreciated but I think instead of stifling the clock beat altogether I'll try modifying how it's made and the dynamic. I did try muting it but the piece doesn't hold together well without it.

    Thank you all...


    • This sounds right to me Dane, so much of our music depends on some repeating element to give it continuity (in the extreme think Ravel's Bolero or rave music) but the varying expression of that tick can be subtle or extreme without ever being completely muted in my opinion. You might consider experimenting with some sound effects processes which is a common approach.

This reply was deleted.