Performance Tips

This music is very hard and demanding even for the best orchestral players. These are some tips that I have found very useful in saving rehearsal time and getting a better performance out of the orchestra.

Orchestra set up

This music is based or complex rhythms and patterns that player must be able to hear and lock in with each other. The closer the players can be to each other the better they will hear the rhythms. An example is that the timpani player must be able to hear and lock in with the bass and cellos to lay down the rhythmic foundation for the rest of the orchestra. Try rehearsing sections of the orchestra alone that have these rhythmic grooves. Then these patterns must be able to be heard while the entire orchestra is playing.

Rushing and wrong notes

I find that when the patterns or solos get complicated the players tend to push or rush the rhythms. This tension leads to the collapse of the feeling of the rhythmic grooves. I would rather have the time locked in and an occasional wrong note than to have the orchestra rushing and the time not locked in. If the time is not one hundred percent locked in and tight then this music falls apart and is not effective as it could be. The players should be energetic and sure of themselves, but stillat all times. The music will convey the energy and excitement on its own.


All important solos are marked in the parts and must be heard over the accompaniment. Dynamic markings are all relative. If it is quiet and I put ( p ) in the flute part, this solo may have to be ( mf ) to be heard. But the ( p ) marking conveys the feeling of the music as well to me and that is why I write solo instead of ( mf ) or ( f ) for the part to be heard.


Tympanis: They should always be playing with hard sticks unless noted otherwise. I like a hard and fast attack. This helps to drive the rhythms. Soft sticks will get to blurry unless it is a very quiet passage that is marked.

Bass Drum:They should always use a hard stick beater unless marked. The bass drums are always damped and on their side unless marked.

This instrument should always be played with hard sticks as well, preferable wooden ones. Also the sound should be damped and not ringing. In my music this instrument is used to emulate a Latin band cowbell. A tight damped sound is what I would like.

This can be up to your choice. If the music is fast and loud - use hard sticks. If it is a quiet ethereal passage - softwould be good.

The same as above. It is the performer’s choice.

Synthesizer demos

By all means use this technology. We have the synthesizer and computer realizations of all the music. This should be given to all the percussion players so they have an understanding of how all their parts fit together. I have learned that by giving the percussionists these CD's before the first rehearsal it will save a lot of rehearsal time and give the orchestra a good rhythmic foundation from the start of the rehearsals.

David Chesky
The composer

Copyright 2012 © David Chesky
All rights reserved