Prison Cell

Robert Paterson

About this work:
Prison Cell is a ten-minute percussion duet that musically, theatrically and symbolically represents a prison cell. The work centers around variations of a traditional, tonal theme and an original, more dissonant theme. The original theme and its variations are taken from a tone row built on the scale degree one half step above the tonal theme. This tonal theme is continuously alluded to through modulations, variations, chromaticism and dense, slowly evolving rhythmic and chordal structures. When the central, tonal theme is finally introduced, it is never completed, creating tension that is prolonged through the second half of the piece. The tonal theme eventually becomes immersed in the tone row and gradually fused into the original theme. The mutated, skeletal rhythmic motive of the tonal theme is all that remains. The percussionist inside the set-up represents a prisoner. The percussionist outside the set-up plays two roles: when walking behind, this player represents the oppression of the cell; when walking in front, the player represents influences on the cell by outside forces such as prison guards. The tubular chimes represent the bars of a cell. – RP (Revised 1/2008)
Version: (1989/rev. 2008)
Year composed: 1989
Duration: 00:10:00
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Unknown
Instrumentation: 2 Percussion (General)
Instrumentation notes: Instrumentation/Specifications of Instruments Percussion 1 3 Roto Toms (8”,10”,12”) - 1 pair of drumsticks 2 Timpani -1 pair of hard timpani mallets Military Drum (with snares) - 1 pair of drumsticks 4 Music Stands (suggested) Trap Table (suggested) Percussion 2 Vibraphone (F-F) - 4 medium cord or yarn mallets Tubular Chimes (B-flat [optional] or C to C) - 2 hard chime mallets Military Drum (with snares - use Percussionist 1 mil. drum) - 1 pair of drumsticks 3 Music Stands (suggested) Trap Table (suggested)

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