Posts By: Bill Cahn

A Cuckoo Question

Posted by

Another instrument inquiry from my email basket: Question: “I’m curious as to how Humperdinck wrote the part [for cuckoo in his opera, ‘Hänsel und Gretel’] calling for this specific instrument, and having it in the percussion part? Was this a common instrument in Germany at the time? Or, [was it] having to do with silent… Read more »

The Bass Drum – Is it Turkish or Scottish?

Posted by

A few weeks ago I received a question about my essay titled, “Orchestral percussion in the twenty-first century” in “The Cambridge Companion to Percussion” edited by Russell Hartenberger. Question: Are the bass drum descriptions of Turkish/Scottisch [bass drums] reversed on page 23 [of the Cambridge Companion]? My Response: This is an interesting question basically about… Read more »

Homemade Castanet Machines

Posted by

A few months ago I received the following in an email: Question: I would like to make a castanet machine. I want to use it at schools (children 10-12 years) Can you tell me how to make it, like you did? My Response: I made my first castanet machine when I was in high school…. Read more »

Colin Currie’s Visit to ROC Drummers

Posted by

  On November 2, 2016 we were surprised and delighted when Colin Currie, one of the world’s foremost percussion soloists, entered into the ROC Drummers’ rehearsal space at the David F. Gantt Community Center in Rochester, NY. Colin was in town for two performances as the featured soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in Jennifer… Read more »

The (Art?) of Hanging Gongs

Posted by

Further to emailed inquiries on the subjects of percussion performance and instruments, one recent inquiry was seeking advice about support structures for gongs. This topic is right up my alley. I’ve always had a fascination with pitched gongs and unpitched tam-tams, probably inspired by John Wyre, a colleague in NEXUS until his passing in 2006…. Read more »

A Question about Teaching Beginners

Posted by

As mentioned in previous blog postings, I regularly receive emails containing questions about percussion instruments, performance and pedagogy. One such question was emailed to me recently. Question: How would you start a beginning mallet student? What exercises and books that you would use to have the player develop a feel for the instrument? How would… Read more »

Peter Sadlo (1962-2016)

Posted by

It was shocking to read in a FaceBook posting on July 29, 2016 that Peter Sadlo, one of the leading percussion soloists in Europe, had passed away. The circumstances of his passing remain unknown to me as of this writing. In 1992 when NEXUS first met Sadlo, he was the Principal Percussionist (Solopauker) with the… Read more »

Percussion on the NEXUS “Ragtime Concert” LP & CD

Posted by

Question: Who played the Percussion part on the “NEXUS Ragtime Concert” LP and CD?   The NEXUS LP record titled, “NEXUS Ragtime Concert” was made in 1976 in Toronto. It was recorded using the best technology at the time: the direct-to-disc process, in which a performance was recorded in real time directly from the mic… Read more »

A Rope Drum Restored

Posted by

On Friday, April 1 Ruth and I walked into an antique shop in Caledonia, New York, and I was almost immediately drawn to a colorful item sitting on one of the tables; it was a very nice rope snare drum. The shop’s proprietor told me that it was brought into the shop by a Civil… Read more »

The Russell Hartenberger Celebration

Posted by

On April 10, 2016 a celebration for Russell Hartenberger was held in Walter Hall at the Faculty of Music of the University of Toronto for Russell’s retirement. In attendance were many of Russell’s colleagues, former students and friends, including special guests, Janet and Alan Abel.

Stravinsky’s “Les Noces” – a Question

Posted by

From time to time I receive questions regarding specific passages for percussion in the orchestra and chamber music repertoire. Question: Can you shed some light on Stravinsky’s notation at rehearsal “29” in “Les Noces” in the caisse claire/tambour sans timbre part?   Response: I assume that this question is about the rolled-chords (vertical wavy lines)… Read more »

Special Moments with Robin

Posted by

On Saturday, February 27, 2016 when I first received news of Robin’s passing, I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of sadness that can only come from losing someone who is loved as a longtime friend, mentor, and colleague. My mind has been flooded with memories, and yet it has taken days to be able… Read more »

Archive of Acoustic Disc Records Featuring the Xylophone

Posted by

On November 7, 2015  the collection of disc phonograph records listed in this index below was delivered to the Center for Mallet Percussion Research at Kutztown University, c/o the Kutztown University Foundation located at 15200 Kutztown Road, Kutztown, PA 19530. To read more about the Archive CLICK HERE: Notes on the Archive Included in the… Read more »

About Notation for Snare Drum Rolls

Posted by

After posting the information about the publication of “Time Zones” (see my preceding blog post), I received the following response on Facebook from Lee Gurst, whom I have known since high school days in Philadelphia, at which time I greatly admired his concert snare drumming. Lee studied with Philadelphia Orchestra percussionist, Michael Bookspan, one of… Read more »

×