Spare Change

Spare Change for percussion ensemble
Publisher: C. Alan Publications (2010)
Composed: 2009
Duration: 3′
Difficulty: Medium-Easy
Instrumentation (5-10 players): bells, xylophone, marimba, timpani (4), triangle, agogo bells, temple blocks, bongos, snare drum, bass drum

Spare Change was written specifically for the C. Alan Publications Ignite Series which features entertaining, yet flexible pieces for middle school and junior high percussion ensembles. This piece is based on George Gershwin’s Rhythm Changes, opening with a 4-bar groove introduction, followed by two complete choruses of the standard 32-bar form. The xylophone part features the melodic material with the bells overlaying a harmonically based descant. The marimba and timpani carry the bass line and chord changes and the percussion parts are reasonably repetitive, allowing the ensemble to lock into a solid underlying groove. The “rhythm section” does get a little feature time, however, at the start of the second chorus. The scoring of this percussion ensemble is structured such that it may be played with as few as 5 players, while every part will be covered with 10 players and doubling a few parts could allow for even more performers.

This is a wonderful entry-level piece for young percussion ensembles. It will sound impressive to the audience, but is well within the performance capabilities of elementary and middle school students. – Tom Morgan
Printed by permission of the Percussive Arts Society, inc.