Pyramids 1 & 2
How do I climb a Mallet-Percussion-Pyramid?
As the title already suggests, both pyramids have been composed for Orff percussion instruments. Therefore they can be played in any group in which these instruments are available. However, in case one of these instruments is not available, don't worry. Just play that particular part on a similar sounding instrument.
If only diatonic pitched instruments are available, the altered notes need not be taken into consideration. However, in Pyramid No.2 Bb should always be played instead of B natural. With chromatic instruments it is just these altered notes, which create the typical Blues sound.
Both pyramids have the characteristic twelve-bar blues structure. But the fun would soon be over, if all the parts were played through only once, all at the same time. As the title "pyramid" suggests, first one instrument begins alone at the top of the pyramid. At each repetition one additional part joint in, until finally the foot of the pyramid has been reached and all 16 parts are heard at the same time. Consequently, the first performer plays his part sixteen times and the sixteenth performer plays his part only once.
In the music I have specified a definite order: first all eight pitched instruments enter in turn, and then all eight non-pitched instruments. However, this order is not a "must"! You can just as easily reverse it, beginning with non-pitched Instruments and then adding the pitched instruments. Or for example, here's. Another possibility: the entry of one pitched instrument can be followed imediately by the entry of one no pitched instrument, and so on in regular alternation. They're its no limit to the possible variations.
In general, it is important that both melody parts - the third and fourth parts - stand out clearly. For this reason I recommend adding either additional pitches percussionist or other instruments (e.g. recorders, saxophone, brass instruments etc.) to these parts.
The order can be changed around not only within one pyramid, but between the pyramids as well. Both pyramids have been created in such a way that you can exchange the parts of the same instruments. Thus the bass xylophone part from Pyramid No.2 can be used in Pyramid No.l, and so on. In this way also, the number of possible interpretations is endless.
To perform the piece properly, it is important to know that both pyramids need Blues feeling. The rhythm of Pyramid No.l consists only of quarter notes on purpose, so that young pupils can participate easily. As the continuation, Pyramid No.2 is accordingly rhythmically and melodically more difficult. If the pupils are already advanced enough, they can interpret the eight-note rhythm as triplet rhythm, in order to develop the characteristic Blues feeling.
Enjoy yourselves with both of these Mallet Percussion Pyramids
Kind regards Elisabeth Amandi
1 BX.....bass xylophone
2 AX..... Old xylophone
3 SX..... Soprano xylophone
4 SM...... soprane metallophone
5 SG..... soprano bells
6 T/AM...tenore/old metallophone
7 T/AG...tenore/old bells
8 BM..... bass metallophone
9 Pk.C...timpani in c
10 Pk.F/G.2 timpanies in F & G
11 Tri.... triangle
12 Hä.Be..suspendeds cymbales
14 Ks..... claves
15 Ha.Tr..tambourine/with mallet
16 Sch.... rings
Translation by Daniel T. Halford