Boy, Oh Boy

Boy, Oh Boy for percussion ensemble
Publisher: C. Alan Publications (2007)
Composed: 2005
Duration: 4’30”
Difficulty: Medium
Instrumentation (8 players): vibraphone, xylophone, 4.0-octave marimba, 4.3-octave marimba, snare drum, timpani (4), wood blocks (3), bongos, congas

Written for my one-year-old son, this piece opens with a simple lullaby setting of a Swedish folk melody from the hymn Children of the Heavenly Father. A day then begins with the block part signifying the continual progression of time. The texture gradually thickens as toys are strewn around the house. The chord progression used spells out Caleb’s name (C min, A-flat min, F min7 substitute for “L”, E-flat, B-flat). The progression is then restated with a slightly busier ostinato. The hymn melody returns over new ideas in the mallet instruments, while the snare, blocks, and hand drums continue the 5/4 patterns into the 4/4 time signature. A final statement of the chord progression is made followed by the gradual thinning of the texture as the day winds down. A short lullaby recap closes the piece and the wood block begins again to serve as a reminder that the next day is coming soon.

Boy, Oh Boy could be an effective teaching tool to emphasize balance, blend, and dynamic contrast. – Mark Ford
Printed by permission of the Percussive Arts Society, inc.