Project Info

Project Description

for percussion septet
[unpitched instruments]

  • composition date: 2019
  • duration: ca. 10 min.
  • commission: Arte no Tempo
  • dedication: «To Mário Teixeira, longtime friend and companion of many musical adventures!»
  • premiere: 30/December/2019 | Évora (Portugal), Teatro Garcia de Resende
    • Performers:
      Hugo Machado
      Bernardo Cruz
      Rodrigo Pinho
      Ângelo Durães
      Pedro Pereira
      João Calado
      Madalena Rato
    • Music Direction:
      Prof. Nuno Aroso

The Concertino for percussion septet replies to a challenge launched by percussionist and friend Mário Teixeira, to whom the work is dedicated, and is the result of a commission from the Arte no Tempo association for the 2nd Itinerant Percussion Festival’ 2019, which took place in Évora (Portugal).

To write for percussion is to embark on an almost infinite sound adventure. From the instruments of definite pitch to those of indefinite pitch, which include all sorts of skins, woods, metals, and even the most diverse everyday objects that can also be used to hit and produce sound (known as junk percussion), the panoply of timbres is endless.

In the present case, I chose to write a piece exclusively for instruments of indefinite pitch, in a conscious search for a sharper and, to a certain extent, harsher, almost Cubist sound. The lack of defined pitches, however, created the necessity to highlight other musical parameters, namely the rhythm and timbre.

Instrumentally wise, in addition to the more traditional percussions of indefinite pitch, such as tom-toms, timbalas, bongos, triangles, cymbals, and so on, I also decided to use improvised and less noble instruments such as frying pans, salad bowls, scaffold tubes, car brakes and coils, amongst others. The purpose in using these common life objects that are not normally associated with musical practice was mainly to wider and enrich the sound world, in a sense making it more urban.

Rhythmically, I focused on concepts that I have recently reflected on, such as metric modulations and the use of the so-called irrational measures (2/5, 3/12, etcetera). These means are, however, always used at the service of a musical narrative that intends to be fluent and communicative, seeking to extract the maximum content within the limitations this instrumental group imposes (namely the lack of the definite pitches).

Finally, the chosen title (Concertino), points to the concertante genesis of the work, at the same time relatively short (about 10 min.), but in which all performers are given an equally important role.


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