2012 (08:00)
Percussion quartet
Written for Sō Percussion

Video: Tangram by Wally Gunn, performed by Sō Percussion, 2012

Program Notes
A tangram is a puzzle originating from China comprised of seven flat tiles of different geometric shapes which, when arranged in one way, form a perfect square, but which can also be arranged, with some imagination, to depict the silhouettes of animals and people in animated poses. The images delight, because though they are composed of immutable shapes, the figures seen as a whole seem to show action, movement, change. The viewer also contributes to the creation of the image through the act of “reading” the arrangement of shapes. Our mind’s eye smoothes sharp corners, or connects shapes where in fact there are spaces, or adds a third dimension of depth, and all this brings the figures to life. For this piece, I made musical objects—very simple three-note chords—and these became my tangram tiles. Without altering their shapes, I arranged the chords in the score like tiles on a tabletop, simply shuffling them around, placing them this way or that, and noticing the interesting figures that might jump out. The composing process itself seems to be reflected in the music, which has moments of stillness, then moments of action, movement and change. And while this corresponds to the simple act of playing with the tiles, it also hints at the larger idea that we as people are like a tangram puzzle; comprised of immutable parts, but always striving to reassemble ourselves to become something new, something different. Tangram was composed for Sō Percussion.

– WG, 2012

Player 1:

Player 2:

Player 3:

2 x bottles, interval of a fifth apart, identical pitches to Player 4 (preferably C and G or G and D)
Steel Drums
Player 4:

2 x bottles, interval of a fifth apart, identical pitches to Player 3 (preferably C and G or G and D)
Drum kit (kick, low tom, snare, mid rack tom, high rack tom, hi hat, splash cymbal, sizzle ride cymbal)

Eric Beach
Josh Quillen
Adam Sliwinski
Jason Treuting

Tangram . Catalogue 105 . Copyright © Wally Gunn . March 2012