YAWP! for percussion quintet
Publisher: C. Alan Publications (2022)
Composed: 2022
Duration: 5′
Difficulty: Medium
Instrumentation (5 players): snare drum, brake drum, temple blocks, bongos, congas (2), claves, djembe, tamborim, drum set

In the Walt Whitman poem “Song of Myself,” he writes the line “I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” Made familiar to me in the movie Dead Poets Society, it always struck me as a line that should be accompanied with loud drums. As such, the opening unison passage in this drummy work for five players is a rhythmic realization of that line, the only non-struck note being the “Yawp!” barbarically shouted (I hope) by the performers. This reprise continues to appear throughout the piece, within the canvas of several layered grooves and instrumental dialogs. A metric modulation leads to a faster tempo and increased intensity before tapering slightly in advance of a final repeated reprise of the rhythmic realization in an aggressively unison ensemble statement.