Compositions - Arrangements - Dance Scores 

 

Compositions

Mallet Portfolio I: (Program Notes)

For Juliana (2003)  A simple yet beautiful modal Dorian chorale harmonies for two marimbas (one 4.3 or 4.6 octave)  A chorale with motion.  (2 marimbas: low 'A' and Low 'E')  Score Sample  Audio File (performed by Peter Saleh and Ken Riehman) (New!)

Passacaglia for Morris (2000/2005)  Written primarily in 4 part S.A.T.B. harmony, this chorale for two marimbas (one 4.3 or 4.6 octave) draws on a simple melody from the popular Goldenberg text.  (2 marimbas: low 'A' and 4 octave, optional low 'E')

Audio File (performed by John Arenas, Cody Byasse, Keith Hendricks, and Peter Saleh)  Score Sample

Medieval Variations for Two Marimbas (2000/2005)  A baroque style theme is transposed through several keys and moods.  Requires one 4.3 marimba.  Upper part may be played on Vibraphone as well.   Score Sample

 

Percussion Quartet #1:  In The Toybox (1999/2007)   

Scored for marimba, vibes, glock, percussion, and drum set, this piece is quite effective with any type of audience. A multi-metric ‘prog-rock’ composition in the vein of the music of Frank Zappa, Toybox is great for late high school or early undergraduate level players.  Audio File ('99 version performed by Peter Martin, Kevin Romanski, Peter Saleh, and Dan Zugale)  Score Sample (New!)

 

Percussion Quartet #2:  Themes and Distractions (2004) 

If Charles Ives wrote percussion ensemble music, it might sound like this.  The first in a series of “quotation quartets”, this work for timpanist and three multi percussionists takes on multiple personalities as its focus shifts between styles of and references to popular percussion repertoire.  Video File  Audio File (performed by the University of North Texas 1:00 Percussion Ensemble, October 2004)  Score Sample  Performance/Program Notes

-Here is an article from the UNT student paper on the premiere concert-

 

Written for the Exit 9 Percussion Group, the title roughly translates to "New Exit Nine" and was written upon my rejoining the group after a two year absence.  The piece is an 8 minute showcase for all five players and features a primary player on vibraphone, prepared tenor drum, and kick drum playing with a xylophonist, two marimbists, and multi-percussionist.  ExitiX Novum combines the pitch language of the octatonic scale with the rhythmic language of modern rudimental drumming and the stylistic aesthetic of an angry alien ethnic ragtime band.  Second place winner of the 2007 PAS Composition Contest and published through Innovative Percussion.  Audio File  Score Sample  Performance/Program Notes (New!)

 

Original Score to "Rippling Waves" (2006)

Patterned after the sound collages that many dance pieces employ, the instrumentation morphs from marimba and double seconds to marimba duet to marimba and jembe to marimba and drumset to hand drums and drum set.  The binding element is a six beat rhythm that is used as a tihai (a form of classical Indian rhythmic cadence) in the majority of the sections.  The music requires improvisation on pan, marimba, and drums.  This piece was written for Christian von Howard and Stephanie Milling-Robbins and premiered in Pawley's Island, South Carolina. (7 minutes)  Audio File (performed by the composer and percussionist Michael Knight, June 2006)

 

S. G. Soca (2001)   

An entertaining sampler of Latin and Afro-Cuban styles (Soca, Bossa Nova, Afro 6/8, Montuno) for less experienced players.  It is scored for 2 non-specific keyboard parts, guitar, (optional) timpani (or bass guitar, optional), drum set, and percussion so as to accommodate most any percussion program.  Easily expandable to include more players.  A great way to tie together and apply teaching several different percussion instruments to younger students.   Score Sample  Synthesized Audio File (New!)

 

"This Will Hurt Nobody" (2008) NEW My second collaboration with choreographer Christian von Howard and my first dance score written specifically for Exit 9.  This is a deliberate continuation and expansion of our first collaboration and has expanded its scoring to include lead tenor pan, vibes, marimba, congas, percussion, 7-string bass guitar, and drums so that the musical ensemble can match the power of the 12 dancers on stage (video available this fall).  Through the 11:00 minute work, four primary sections are presented, beginning with an expressive yet enigmatic and rhythmically elusive section peppered with tri-tone use, followed by a groove-inspired 9/8 Afro-Cuban feel that features the primary 3-note descending motive of the piece .  This then gives way to 'Sound Study', a minimalist inspired, effect-driven moment meant to contrast completely with the previous music, after which, the piece heads back into groove territory with a reformulated melody in a 3/4 Baiao samba style over a transfigured theme from 'Sound Study', unifying the two themes.

 

Trio for Flute, Marimba, and Cello (2004)  

A thirteen minute athletic event meant for three nimble players.  The pitch language of the piece, which sits on the cusp of tonal music, is based entirely on the first two measures of 16th notes which is then transposed through an augmented triad and put through its paces vertically and horizontally.  The marimba part, while only rarely orchestrated as a solo instrument, requires techniques commonly found in many serious marimba solo compositions.  Strong timing and rhythmic ability is required of all players. New! Acoustic Recording New!  Score Sample

     Compositions

Jobiniana No. 1/Assad  (2007)  Originally for two guitars, this piece adapts quite well for marimbas.  Set in 6/8 time, the piece features gorgeous harmonic turns in a highly active polyrhythmic composition style that will surprise and engage the listener right from the beginning.  Because each player often plays their own accompaniment, it occasionally sounds as if up to four parts are being played.  Audio File (performed by the arranger and Ken Riehman)  (New!)

 

Bizach/Bach, Bizet  (2004)  An entertaining experiment that combines similar themes from Bizet (Le Arlesienne Suite) and Bach (Little Fugue in G minor) under the heading “tempo di techno”.  Scored for core keyboard instruments with percussion and rhythm section.  While it is a good show piece for a talented drummer and bass player, the middle section of the piece opens up the opportunity for melodic solos over printed chord changes (written out solos are included as well).

 

'Allegro Prestissimo' from Sonata for Two Cellos/ Barriere (2001)  Percussion orchestra of 8-10 players taken from the recording by Yo-yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin.  Includes orchestral style timpani, glock, and xylophone parts.  Available through Row-Loff productions.  Audio File (Row-Loff Promotional Recording)   Program/Rehearsal Notes

 

Lift Up My Hands to You/Dajeong Choi (2004)  An excursion through layers of octatonic material keeps all 13 players’ hands full.  This large ensemble piece adapts original material from a 4-hands-for-piano duet for a sizeable ensemble of keyboards, percussion, timpani, and piano.  Available from Keyboard Percussion Publications.  Audio File (performed by the University of North Texas 12:00 Percussion Ensemble, March 2005)  Audio File (performed by the Rutgers University Percussion Ensemble, March 2006) Performance/Program Notes

 

Peeping Tom/Everol Cooper (2001)  Borrowing heavily from Soca styles of steel band music, this energetic arrangement for keyboards, drums, and percussion includes easily expandable sections for improvisation on non-pitched percussion for all players. 

 

Songs from the Heart/Harris (2004/2005) for female voice with piano accompaniment.  Ten simple songs set to rich harmony that would feel at home in any church service.  Includes chord symbols.

 

Alla Turca from Piano Sonata in A Major, k. 331/W. A. Mozart (2003)  This immediately recognizable favorite has been set for percussion orchestra with the xylophonist being the featured player.  Originally written for the Exit 9 percussion group, this version for 9 players features parts for all ability levels.  Available through Row-Loff productions.  Audio File (Row-Loff Promotional Recording)   Program Sample

 

Etude in C/C. O. Musser (2002)  A large ensemble arrangement that honors the work of the marimbist/composer/arranger, this realization for 8-10 players is easily adaptable to serve as accompaniment for the marimba solo.  Scored for keyboard percussion, timpani, and two busy orchestral-style multi-percussionists.  Will possibly be available soon through Studio 4 Music.  Audio File   Score Sample

 

Etude Op. 11, No. 4/C. O. Musser (2006)  Scored to fit on a vibraphone and a low ‘A’ marimba, this quartet arrangement conjures the rich harmonic essence and active string quartet scoring of Debussy.  Arranged for Exit 9 percussion group, this piece is pleasing to a general audience and intelligent enough for a more sophisticated crowd.

 

Compositions

instruments . dance scores . class accompaniment

        I have worked professionally as a modern dance musician since 2000.  The diverse demands of today's modern dance choreography and technique classes seem to be suitably matched with my range of abilities. 

        Having worked with a number of accomplished dancers, educators, and choreographers including Nancy Bannon, Darshan Bhuller, Michael Blake, John Evans, Ginny Skinner-Haynes, Randy James, Merceditas Manago-Alexander, Laura Marchese, Stephanie Milling, Tiffany Mills, Julia Ritter, Raegan Wood, Paulette Sears, and Christian von Howard, I have developed abilities to meet the needs of most any dancer's choreography.  He has played for dance for years at Rutgers University, and has also played at ACDFA, Manhattan's Sandra Cameron Dance Studio, New York City Center, NJPAC's Summer Youth Performance Workshop, Terpsichore III in Pawley's Island, South Carolina and Texas Women's University.

        In addition to a unique drum setup (detailed below) that has evolved through experience, I use my 4.6 Octave Malletech marimba as well as piano, drum set, vibraphone, cajon, and whatever combinations of these happen to come to mind during the course of class

           

        These are pictures of my customized percussion setup used for modern dance accompaniment as well as African and Hip Hop classes.  The choice of hand based drums and percussion allows for strong reinforcement of choreography without sonically overpowering communication from the instructor, as a common drum set would.  Further, a single wire or bamboo brush (pictured, lower right) is used throughout the setup to provide voicing options between the implement and the bare hand.  Demonstrations of different applications of this setup can be seen below in Video Samples 4, 5, 8, and 9.

        Instruments:  14" Remo Jembe (used here in lieu of a traditional goat-skin drum to avoid implement-related damage), 3 congas, 14" Chinese Tom (played with foot pedal), hi-hat (played with hands, implements, and foot), 8" Wuhan Splash cymbal (played with hands or implements), LP Mambo cowbell, Rhythmtech Drumset tambourine.

Original Scores for Modern Dance

NEW "Not For" (2008)  An original score for modern dance choreographer Shannon MacDowell. All marimba, pandeiro, jembe, vibraphone, and other percussion tracks were performed by Peter Saleh. Vocals were performed by Shannon MacDowell, Meagan Woods, and Ella Crowe.

 

"This Will Hurt Nobody" (live audio)  (2008) My second collaboration with choreographer Christian von Howard and my first dance score written specifically for Exit 9.  This is a deliberate continuation and expansion of our first collaboration and has expanded its scoring to include lead tenor pan, vibes, marimba, congas, percussion, 7-string bass guitar, and drums so that the musical ensemble can match the power of the 12 dancers on stage (video available this fall).  Through the 11:00 minute work, four primary sections are presented, beginning with an expressive yet enigmatic and rhythmically elusive section peppered with tri-tone use, followed by a groove-inspired 9/8 Afro-Cuban feel that features the primary 3-note descending motive of the piece .  This then gives way to 'Sound Study', a minimalist inspired, effect-driven moment meant to contrast completely with the previous music, after which, the piece heads back into groove territory with a reformulated melody in a 3/4 Baiao samba style over a transfigured theme from 'Sound Study', unifying the two sections.  The title is a reference to Budd Dwyer's infamous last words "this will hurt someone" and could be taken to mean that this work is quite possibly the opposite of that moment in history, a fun, light hearted, and life affirming visual and musical experience.

 

 

 

"We are Living" (2008)  Written for NJPAC's 2008 Summer Youth Performance Workshop, this was my first venture into using pre-recorded tracks to augment, complement, and in one case, substitute for an otherwise completely live score.  It was also my first use of vocal samples, having recorded the entire company of dancers both as an ensemble as well as individually.   Because the core of the piece was based around the current state of race relations in this country, I also used samples of key phrases of Senator Obama's poignant speech on race this past spring.

 

Sample 1 - In this track, piano, marimba, and drum set are set in a 15/8 groove that is mostly phrased groups of 3 bars.  (NEW)

Sample 2 - This track, based on West African 'Kpatsa' rhythms, combines over-dubbed marimba, vibes, gankogui, bongos, brake drum, snare drum, chinese tom-tom, log drums, and cowbells and was used as a supporting track for live marimba and jembe.  (NEW)

Sample 3 - This segment of score, performed without any additional live instruments, features drums and marimba accompanying the haunting main theme on piano interspersed with the voice of 2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee, Barack Obama.  (NEW)

'Red' from "Coloring Outside The Lines" (2006)  This is the final selection from a 20+ minute dance I scored in the Summer of 2006 at NJPAC's Summer Youth Performance Workshop, an audition based program held in Newark, NJ.  In what was an original concept I brought in that became the theme for the entire work, each section was based around one of the primary colors.  While the dance is based on movement that is in turn based on associations with each color, I used a similar process for the music.  For each color I chose both a musical and visual association with the corresponding section (I say visual as well because I was to be performing on stage with the dancers instead of in the orchestra pit). 

          For example, in 'Red' (the final section) I used what people would call 'hot' rhythms based on Latin and Afro-Cuban musics combined with two large red Chinese tom-toms used as the centerpieces of the percussion setup.  In Blue, I used chords associated with the blues (#9 chords in particular) along with a 12-bar blues form and bits of Wayne Shorter's Footprints, all played on marimba with purple-blue mallets.  In Yellow, I used a known phenomenon  called Synesthesia to choose the key center E (sometimes associated with the color by well known composers including Amy Beach) and used my 'one-man-band' setup which is based around my yellow-blonde pair of congas.

"Rippling Waves" (2006) (performed by the composer and percussionist Michael Knight, June 2006)

Patterned after the sound collages that many dance pieces employ, the instrumentation morphs from marimba and double seconds to marimba duet to marimba and jembe to marimba and drumset to hand drums and drum set.  The binding element is a six beat rhythm that is used as a tihai (a type of classical Indian rhythmic cadence) in the majority of the sections.  This piece was written for choreographers Christian von Howard and Stephanie Milling-Robbins and premiered in June 2006 in Pawley's Island, South Carolina at the Terpsichore III: Making Waves festival performance.

 

(Here is a picture of the setup used for this piece)

Kubrick's Rube (2006)

Scored for marimba, 5 pitched tin cans, hand drums, cajon, percussion, and bass guitar, this piece was commissioned by and premiered with New Jersey choreographer Alyson Stenzhorn.  Set in an energetic polyrhythmic 3/4 feel, this piece juxtaposes the pitches played on the cans with ones played on the bass and marimba.  Because the piece requires the players to read, improvise, and comp, the difficulty level is entirely up to the players. 

  Modern Dance Technique Class - Music Excerpts

  • Video Sample 1 - Floor Exercise (Piano)

  • Video Sample 2 - Adagio (Marimba)  Phrased in 8 + 9 measures of 9/8, I used a sus4 chord at the end of the phrase to keep the phrase extension 'logical.'

  • Video Sample 3 - Tondue (Cajon)

  • Video Sample 4 - Long Combination (Hand Drum Setup) - It's worth mentioning that the complex, mixed-meter count structure in this combination (given to the dancers as 6+6+7+9+8+5+3 and played as 4mm of 3/4, 1mm 7/4, 3mm 3/4, 2mm 4/4, 3/4, 2/4, 3/4) is quite common in the choreography of this particular instructor.  When playing the class, she'll typically demonstrate the given sequence, sometimes having even more segments, a few times and then hand it to me to keep the form constant.  This video captures the first time this particular sequence had been done and proceeds through a tempo change, covering at least 10 minutes of total repetition (condensed here to about 5).

  • Video Sample 5 - Battlement (Hand Drum Setup) - The density of notes in this clip reflects not necessarily the visual elements, but rather the exertion the movement requires in the leg movements and jumps.  The aim was to aid in the propulsion.

  • Video Sample 6 - Ensemble Improv I - Part of a music and dance improvisation session led by Tigger Benford and Julia Ritter featuring Rutgers University dance majors and staff accompanists Tigger Benford (marimba), Peter Saleh (vibraphone), Andy Sapko (perc.) and Vinnie Smith (perc.) 

  • Video Sample 7 - Ensemble Improv II - A 7/8 improv by the same crew at Sample 6

  • Video Sample 8 - Across the Floor (Hand Drums)  A tasty little groove made to match the release in the dance.

  • Video Sample 9 - 'ALL the Notes' (Hand Drums)  My own little tribute to Tom Aungst (see if you get that reference), this is something one can only really get away with playing solo.  The title should explain itself. 

 

 

 

If you or your ensemble have performed a composition or arrangement of mine, please send me a program and/or any available recording.

-Thanks!

 

Peter Saleh                                                    6 Newell Ave.                                    New Brunswick, NJ  08901