Prime Numbers for six players on one marimba
Publisher: C. Alan Publications (2021)
Composed: 2019
Duration: 4’15”
Difficulty: Medium
Instrumentation (6 players): 5.0-octave marimba
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A commissioned work for three players on each side of a 5.0-octave marimba, Prime Numbers is titled as such based on a few distinctive numeric characteristics. The initial idea for this title drew from the fact that the instrument itself is comprised five octaves (five being a prime number) and a total of 61 individual bars (a prime number). Of those 61, the composition utilizes 53 specific pitches (also a prime number), performed with three players (prime number) on each side of the marimba. Within each player’s individual measures (excusing those in which they do not play), you will find either one note (one being the factor common to all prime numbers) or a quantity of notes equal to a prime number (either two, three, five, seven, or eleven). Finally, the time signatures used in this piece feature a prime number collection of pulses (either three or seven). With two brief exceptions that bookend the 7/8 section, players one, three, and five are responsible to play only the upper manual (sharps and flats) of the marimba, while players two, four, and six are responsible to play only the lower manual (naturals) of the instrument. At times, pitches may overlap slightly between neighboring players, but at no time does any player switch position with another individual.