Ever heard of crotales? No?
Well, members of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Percussion Ensemble know what they are.
Crotales are small, disc-shaped cymbals, each tuned to a different note, and their origins may date back to ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. During the Beat Hunger concert on Nov. 20 at UTC, three members of the Percussion Ensemble played the instruments for a piece titled “Shui.”
The students performing the piece were Trevor Kight, a junior majoring in mechatronics, and Roland Pullen and Ian Villarubia, both freshmen in music education.
Written by composer Juri Seo, the piece uses crotales and a bowl of water to create music that Seo describes as “a miniaturized version of an extended musical meditation.”
“The circular shape of the instrument, the round bowl and the long resonance are all conducive to meditative environment,” Seo wrote. “As in any ensemble music—perhaps more palpable in this case—the performers are indispensable parts of the whole.”
Professor Ethan McDaniel, director of the Percussion Ensemble, said he was familiar with Seo’s work, “but had never heard this particular piece before.”
“Every concert I try to program pieces by underrepresented composers, and not very many people know about Juri Seo’s works,” he said. “I also try to program a variety of pieces to expose the students to different types of music making. Usually on our concerts you will hear a historical piece, one or two standard percussion ensemble pieces, an easy-listening piece and a contemporary piece.”