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Mourning Dove Sonnet – A Case in Extended Vibraphone Techniques

by Anna Tran


Mourning Dove Sonnet is a musical work for solo vibraphone composed by Christopher Deane in 1983. Traditionally, the vibraphone is played with a single person holding two to four mallets.  This piece however utilizes non-traditional extended percussion techniques to take advantage of the wide range of tones and timbres the vibraphone has to offer.  Mourning Dove Sonnet is one of many experimental pieces in percussion literature that contributes to the constant evolution of the percussion artform.  It is necessary for composers to continue pushing boundaries in the world of music.  In this way, expression has new opportunities to be displayed and ideas are brought into reality.

About the Author

Anna Tran is currently a junior at Millersville University majoring in Music Business Technology with a computer science minor.  Her project was inspired by unconventional percussion compositions that were not commonly performed.  The piece Mourning Dove Sonnet was very contrasting to traditional solo percussion compositions and this was one of the key factors that attracted her to it.  Her goal in learning the piece was to experience the process of learning non-traditional techniques and to learn the purposes for adding sound color to a solo instrument.  With the completion of learning the whole piece, Anna had a greater understanding of how and why composers write for extended techniques.  Through this process Anna continues to seek out new innovative ways to create and utilize sound. In the future, she hopes to use music and sound as a vehicle for purposeful innovation.  More specifically she aspires to gain experience in the fields of sound design, music composition, and public art installations.

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