Twenty Something Chairs

This is a five movement piece that uses chairs in a percussive way to create both a visual affect and audible sound. I started this process by discovering the different sound that could be created when a chair is tapped or moved around. I decided to use two contrasting movements for the scores. The first being a push and pull motion where all four legs of the chairs would be dragged across the floor. The second action involves tapping different combinations of the chairs legs on the floor. I found that these two different motions helped to create different timbres in the piece.

Dean Rogers – Recording Part 1

A key feature of this piece was deciding which chairs the performers should use and what floor the piece needed to be performed on to have the best sound effect. I decided after many trials that the chairs had to be the black Amadeus chairs that are used in the Conservatoire and the piece should be performed on wooden flooring to create the best sound.

For each of the scores I decided to use variations on the amount of performers playing each technique. I think this worked well as it shows that throughout the five parts there is a clear variation in both the visual performance and the sounds produced. For this composition I knew that I wanted the visual performance to be a very important part so I chose to work with a much larger ensemble than originally planned. This meant that when on stage the visuals would have a large impact on the audience much like that of a full orchestra or a percussive group similar to that of a samba performance.

Part 1

The first part splits the ensemble into two groups and there are two separate scores for each group of 12 performers.  I decided to use both performance techniques in this movement.

Part 2

This part uses only 21 performers because I wanted to have a solo part and decided that with a larger ensemble the solo line would become too hidden.  I decided to make the solo line more rhythmically complex so that it would bring out the performers techniques.

Part 3

I wanted to have variation between the different parts so chose to have this one only using the more articulated percussive sounds. I also chose to use an element of canon throughout the groups in this part. 

Part 4

This means that I only used the pushing and pulling actions, I did this as I felt that it worked well to create a contrast between the different parts. 

Part 5

I chose to use more ideas of unison throughout this part.  I wanted the final movement to have a stronger sense of unity between the parts.  To do this I used the same rhythmic motifs throughout all of the groups, yet used them to create a phasing type feel by shifting each motif by a beat.