‘Up the Body and Down the Page’ is…… well….. A body percussion piece for percussion quartet. This piece involves the playing of one’s body as an instrument. The concept of body percussion explores the use of a very versatile percussion instrument that you play every day. For musicians, this piece is short, easy to setup, exciting for the crowd, a bit of a workout, fun to play and a challenge.
There are 5 major sounds: Stomp, Patsch (thigh), Chest hit, Clap and Click, and the performers are encouraged to add vocalisations.
My aim for this piece was to emulate the concept of ‘seeing sounds’ by only creating sound in the light. It was a challenge to get the lighting effect that provided us with a sharp difference between light and dark.
Because it is such a physical piece, I would encourage the performers to add in choreography and to exercise the power of choice in terms of sticking (‘handings’ and ‘footings’) and the choice between standing and sitting. The performers may also experiment with visual mediums like talcum powder and other sound choices like using toy hammers instead of hands and choosing extremely thick shoes. Also take into consideration your chosen venue in the context of foot stomps, it may be wise to form a little stage, or even to mic the performance.
This piece, unlike my others, works a lot more with unison playing and incorporates a lot more stylised silence. As the composer of the piece and a percussionist myself, my biggest suggestion is to work through the piece with the score, and in sections that include ‘runs’/’passing the beat’ between parts, each player learns only their part and the group practice these sections repeatedly until perfect. Without these sections being at least mostly correct the main effect of the piece is lost. I also would suggest against relying on the other players for the runs. This becomes tricky really quickly and is not as ‘safe’ and easy to remember as your own part.