Institutionalized for cajon quartet with pedal instruments
Publisher: C. Alan Publications (2017)
Composed: 2016
Duration: 4’30”
Difficulty: Medium
Instrumentation (4 players): four cajons, hi-hat, cowbell, woodblock, bass drum

Institutionalized was commissioned in 2016 by Dan Smithiger for the SIUE Percussion Institute Faculty. The piece is scored for four players, each utilizing one cajon and one instrument with pedal (hi-hat, cowbell, woodblock, and bass drum). Institutionalized opens with an aggressive passage for unison ensemble. Pedal bass drum and hi-hat crashes provide a bit of added impact, while the pedal cowbell and woodblock engage in a softer 7/8 dialog that contrasts the unison figures. After the opening motives are established, the work settles into a half-time groove in 3/4 time and a variety of interlocking rhythmic figures are introduced. Eventually, a 6/8 Afro-Cuban feel emerges, centering around the cajon and cowbell of player 2 and the energy and volume of the ensemble climaxes with a return to the opening unison motives. The 3/4 slower groove returns, this time deconstructing into a softer passage highlighted by use of rutes/brushes on cajon and accessory instruments. A brief reprise of the 6/8 Afro-Cuban passage again builds into a final aggressive unison statement by the ensemble.