Posts By: Bob Becker

Bob’s interview with Lindsay Haughton

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Hi Bob, Following are the questions I’d like you to answer. You may take your time – the paper isn’t due until December 11th, 2007. As a percussionist, you often play music and musical instruments from around the world. What are your thoughts on performing music that is not part of your culture? This is… Read more »

Bob’s interview with Jonathan Latta

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I really want to thank you for doing this with me. As you will see from my questioning I tried to take a perspective of the “Bob the Performer” and “Bob the Composer” and combine the two. If you find that you answer one question in a previous answer and want to omit a question… Read more »

Bob’s interview with Leigh Howard Stevens

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The following interview was conducted at the request of the Percussive Arts Society, and appeared in the August, 1996 issue of Percussive Notes. LHS: Let’s get this important question out of the way in the very beginning. Everybody who knows anything about xylophone knows you are not only the greatest living xylophonist, but also the… Read more »

Bob Becker: List of Compositions

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Lahara, 1977, drum solo (with melodic and drone accompaniment). Published in 2003 by Keyboard Percussion Publications. Palta, 1982 (revised 1998), tabla or drum set solo, with accompaniment by six percussion, piano and bass. Recorded by NEXUS on Dance of the Octopus (CBC Musica Viva). UrbhanaMudra, 1990, four percussion, choreography by Joan Phillips. Commissioned by INDE… Read more »

What is a Xylorimba?

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(Are the overtones tuned differently in various ranges of its keyboard?) The term ‘xylorimba’ clearly refers to some kind of hybrid instrument, but it depends on who is using the term, and when. Even the word itself is a composite: xylo is the common Greek root meaning ‘wood’; and rimba is an arbitrary clipping of… Read more »

Some Thoughts and Information Concerning Cymbals

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Percussionists who perform in symphony orchestras form a relationship with their instruments that is esoteric, often arcane, and little understood by other musicians and the general public. Although most people have seen and heard cymbals, gongs and bells, for example, very few have had the experience of listening to one of them intimately and intently… Read more »

Peak Performance

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The following short article was written in response to a request from the Sabian cymbal company. The questions were: “How do you deliver a peak performance? How do you prepare for a concert?” An edited version of the article, along with answers to the same questions by Vic Firth, Evelyn Glennie, Ney Rosauro, John Wooton… Read more »

The Magic and Mystery of Cymbals (lecture-demonstration)

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Brief history of the modern Turkish cymbal and etymology of terms. Discussion and demonstration of basic types of crashes, special effects with two plates, techniques for suspended cymbals, and options for selecting and combining cymbals. Discussion and demonstration, using excerpts from the symphonic and contemporary repertoire, of approaches to performance issues such as misleading and/or… Read more »

About Playing The Xylophone (lecture delivered at PASIC 1995)

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I have to say, it’s becoming more and more difficult for me to think of things to say about playing the xylophone these days. Even though it’s an instrument that I still play fairly regularly on NEXUS concerts, it’s not something that I spend much time with outside of that context. It’s interesting to me… Read more »

Melodic Snare Drumming and Rudimental Arithmetic

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Melodic Snare Drumming is a conceptual approach to playing snare drum that involves physically hearing or – equally well – imagining a melodic accompaniment while performing or practicing. This idea is in fact very old, and for centuries was the system through which military-style drumming was taught, practiced and played. The first part of the… Read more »

The Paradoxes of Percussion

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In 1989 I was approached with the prospect of editing an issue of the Bristish publication Contemporary Music Review about contemporary percussion. At the time, I thought it would be very interesting to give percussion performers a forum in which to present some of their feelings about the professional situations into which they are drawn… Read more »

North Indian Drumming (lecture-demonstration)

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Discussion of the tabla – the most important percussion instrument in North Indian classical music: construction of the instruments; historical and cultural placement; basic aspects of the playing technique; repertoire and the structure of traditional solo performance; accompaniment techniques and improvisation. Will include demonstration performance on the drums. Questions and answers are a desirable aspect… Read more »

West African Drumming (hands-on workshop)

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Discussion of basic structural principles found in many West African drum ensemble traditions: cyclic repetition; rhythmic ambiguity; conversation. Drum families and varieties of construction methods. Basic hand and stick techniques. Social aspects of music in African cultures. Most of the workshop is devoted to learning several traditional ensemble styles drawn primarily from the ethnic groups… Read more »

Xylophone History and Performance Concepts (lecture-demonstration)

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Discussion of the ancestry of the hybrid North American xylophone and the history of its development through the Deagan era. Discussion, using recorded historical examples, of the development of playing styles from around the turn of the century through 1940. Particular attention to G.H. Green and his styles of improvisation. 1.5 hour minimum, 2 hours… Read more »

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