Bright Waves (percussion duo version)

Score Sample

Percussion arrangement of Bright Waves for piano and live electronics (2010-11). Recorded spring 2013 by Tristan Renfrow and Alexv Rolfe, Harper Hall, Lawrence University.

Orchestration: (2 percussionists) 2 vibraphones, 2 glockenspiels, 1 (shared) marimba, live electronics

Duration: variable, from 7 to 10 minutes or longer depending on performer choices


Bright Waves is inspired by the concept of a luminescent ocean wave. In some tropical oceans, bioluminescent plankton (drifting organisms) in the water column glow when the sea is disturbed. A wave containing these microorganisms can be seen simultaneously on the micro and on the macro level; each individual swirl and eddy within the wave approximating a fractal (self-similar reproduction) of the wave as a whole. In Bright Waves, I use a series of dynamic loops and randomized delays to move musical material seamlessly between foreground and background. The slow rate of change, simple macro structure, and micro polyphony are meant to evoke the gathering, cresting, and chaotic breaking of a single powerful ocean wave.