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for percussion quartet

Year:  2012   ·  Duration:  8m 30s
Instrumentation:  China Cymbal / Conga (x2) / Crash Cymbal / Floor Tom (x2) / Hi-Hats (x3) / Kick Bass Drum (x4) / Snare Drum (x2) / Splash Cymbal / Tambourine (Headless) / Tom (x6)

Year:  2012
Duration:  8m 30s
Instrumentation  China Cymbal / Conga (x2) /...

Composer:   John Psathas

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: pages 1 - 4

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I’ve admired John Psathas’ music for years, for its incredible sense of energy, its ability to defy categorization, and its cultural pluralism. With 4BY4 (his first non-pitched percussion piece), John delivers on all counts … and then some. If David Weckl, Christopher Lamb, Steven Schick and Giovanni Hidalgo - all percussion virtuosi from widely different genres - were to have a jam session, I can’t help but think that it would sound something like 4BY4.

Each of the four players plays a drumset-like set-up; one player has two snare drums a hi-hat, a tambourine, and a cymbal, another has two congas and a hihat, and the remaining two have tom-based set-ups. However, what binds these four seemingly disparate voices is the kick drum, which all four drumsets have. At times, these four drums pound a relentless beat in unison, and at others they’re split into complex rhythmic counterpoint.

It is this, in part, that makes 4BY4 such a great piece and a perfect fit for this album. John manages to take culturally different instruments, each with different playing techniques, and link them together with a common element - the kick drum. It is cultural pluralism at its best, with each voice maintaining its unique sound and identity, but seamlessly integrated into a common whole.

-Omar Carmenates

Commissioned note

4BY4 was commissioned by a consortium of 14 organizations led by Omar Carmenates and the Furman University Percussion Ensemble

Performance history

24 Jan 2013: Performed by Omar Carmenates, Tommy Dobbs, Matt Filosa, Luis Rivera and Melinda Leoce at the "Gaia" CD Release Party and concert at the Daniel Recital Hall, Furman University, Greenville, SC

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