Monday, 30 January 2017

Do It Yourself gong beater.

Last week, the Asturias Symphony Orchestra played Jesús Torres´ "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. The part I was assigned included two gongs (Eb and Bb) played with hard mallets.

This kind of beater is not usual when playing gongs, so I had to use my imagination so as to get the proper mallet and character. Apart from a couple of them I forgot to photograph, these were the "tools" I took to rehearsals.

© David Valdés

The one on the left is the one I normally use when playing gongs (and I also used it on this program in a piano, sombre passage together with the other percussionists). The centre one is used for striking opera gongs, but was discarded because it could not produce enough volume. The one on the right is the one I want to talk to you about...

It´s made with a skate wheel I bought at Decathlon:

 
© David Valdés
© David Valdés

The handle is made of beech, and I got it as a 1m dowel at Leroy Merlin. It was cut to measure, the tip was sanded so as to fit the hole in the wheel and the butt was rounded for a more confortable grip.


© David Valdés

© David Valdés




















Then, it was just a matter of introducing it through the hole in the wheel:

 
© David Valdés
© David Valdés


There you go: a mallet that perfectly fits the purpose.


© David Valdés


The following video (telephone quality, don´t be very picky...) shows the difference between the regular mallet and the one I built. You can hear a noticeable difference, which makes this beater fit perfectly in the context, where forte 16ths spread between all four percussionists for the duration of a crotchet are played.


video


This is the set I used (two gongs -Eb and Bb-, 22" Chinese cymbal and 5 octaves marimba).


© David Valdés


The following photo, courtesy of Marta Barbón and the Asturias Symphony, shows Rafael Casanova and I during one of the concerts. You can clearly see the mallet.


© Marta Barbón/OSPA
 
The concert was, as usual, recorded by the Spanish National Radio. If you stay tuned, you´ll be able to hear it in a few weeks.

…et in Arcadia ego.
© David Valdés

No comments:

Post a Comment