Okay, how am I going to make four instruments? I thought as I sat at my desk in my room. Ooh! I could make a box—but I don’t have any wood…hmm… I could, put some rubber bands on a tissue box…? But making a specific strumming pattern would be difficult and time consuming, and that would only be one of the instruments. I stared at a blank piece of paper as I tapped my pencil against the desk.
Suddenly, I had an idea. Why don’t I just use what’s in front of me as instruments? Let’s see what I have… my laptop, a notebook, a textbook, a desk lamp, some Ice Breakers, and a pencil. I decided to use my pencil, the pack of Ice Breakers, the textbook, and my hands to make different sounds. My hands could make a lot of different sounds on their own, or by hitting different things like the table or a book.
I chose to write my piece the way it would appear in a sound editing program like GarageBand or Pro Tools. There are five pages to my piece and each page represents two 8 counts. I created four tracks for the different sounds to go in. The first one only involving one’s hands—snapping and clapping. The second track is unusual because it has to be “played” (I guess that’d be the word) by someone with longer nails—usually a female. Later on the Ice Breakers are added into this track, so the musician must be able to use both hands at the same time. The third track involves hitting the desk or table with a pencil, and later hitting a book with the pencil. The people that play the instruments in the first three tracks must be able to keep a beat together. The person playing the hands in the fourth track is special because for a large part of the piece they “freestyle” and hit the desk however they want to. Eventually it turns into a hit-hit-clap sequence (like in “We Will Rock You”) and then they too must tap their nails on the desk. In the end the musician must hit the desk harder and harder creating a noise that gets louder and louder until finally they throw a book off the desk and when it hits the floor everyone stops playing. Then the same person throws the book on the ground again and everyone joins in and plays the piece backwards.
My piece does not really have a melody, but it has a rhythm. And I like it that way because then you can play it to the beat of another song by speeding it up or slowing it down. It’s…adaptable.