Screw the Violin
for viola, cello, bass, marimba and percussion, 3' 30"
Premiered by James Nelson, Alexis Nelson, Luke Morrissey, Julia Dornelas, Joanna Chen and Samuel Hardy. Conducted by Ismael Sandoval at the Boston Conservatory, on 8th November, 2016.
Screw the Violin! It always gets the best parts. Today the violin is going on the bench and the other strings will get their limelight. Let us add some marimba and percussion as well because they are awesome. Jokes aside (not really, screw the violin!), this piece is a fusion of Djent, a sub-genre of progressive metal...and contemporary classical music? It's hard to say what it is, since there isn't really a proper definition of what contemporary classical is, but we can assume the use of Djent styles is now part of it. Djent revolves around drop-tuned, heavily distorted, extended string guitars and basses playing complex rhythms in irregular or changing meters. The sound the guitars make is Dj-dj-dj-dj-djent. It is an onomatopeia. (This is what happens when you leave musicians to create terminology). Djent today has also evolved to being simply in one meter (how radical!) with the use of syncopation and polyrhythms to give the feel of changing meters. I will try to employ that in this piece, at a basic level. The emphasis is on rhythm, but melody also plays an important role. Djent has evolved from progressive metal to have simple and tuneful melodies, juxtaposed with distorted and very rhythmic accompaniments. This piece is an experiment, barely touching the waters, on applying Djent idealogies to our acoustic instruments.