Featured Composition from the Marimba+Electronics Database

Fabian Theory

Composed by Nigel Westlake, Fabian Theory (1987) is written for marimba, two toms, and digital delay. Utilizing state of the art technology available at the time, Westlake wrote Fabian Theory with the Roland SDE-2000 Digital Delay Unit capable of looping several seconds of audio input. This was a dramatic increase over previous delay units. As technology continued to advance, that particular Roland unit has become obsolete (yet expensive if you find one for sale). New methods of performing the work have emerged, including a Max/MSP patch that allows you to perform the work through a computer. 

Fabian Theory has a similar rhythmic and harmonic sensibility as Westlake's percussion quartet Omphalo Centric Lecture, written a couple years prior. Both are bubbling with a rhythmic intensity that drive the works energetically through to their ends. In Fabian Theory, the rhythms played on the marimba are simple, yet they combine with the delay through tempo changes to create various rhythmic effects.

Go to the M+ED Detailed Page: Fabian Theory

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A quick look back into trying something new, where it has lead me, and how much I love musicals.

Ayehli Alexandra Gardner, (un)selfish object Baljinder Sekhon, and The Hinchinbrook Riffs Nigel Weslake are the latest compositions detailed in the database. Ayehli was written in the wake of the September 11 attacks and is the composer's attempt to transform tragedy into beauty. The Hinchinbrook Riffs is Westlake's second work for marimba and digital delay but uses a different approach to the writing than his first work. Sekhon's (un)selfish object relies on pitch tracking software to trigger sound files throughout the performance.

Three new works are detailed in the database: Verve Chris Paul Harman, Quaderno Flo Menezes, and White Knight and Beaver Martin Wesley-Smith. Quaderno is the first work with live electronics detailed in the database. Also, two big changes to the database make it cleaner and easier to use: 1) the Basic View of the database is now a single, sortable table, and 2) each composition now has its own detailed page so you can easily share a work with others!

© 2014 Michael Ptacin