Improving the practice and performance of contemporary music


text written summer 2014 by Tom De Cock and Vincent Caers

General information

  • marimba solo
  • duration 7'30"
  • commissioned by the Centro Musicale Gesualdo da Venosa di Montecaglioso in 1992; dedicated to Ivanka Stoianova
  • published by Ricordi, Milan, n° 136131

Mari contains two parts, both labeled with a Roman numeral. As for most of his scores from his joyous period, Donatoni looks at the different parts as two pieces, both using similar materials, panels and filters. The score is in traditional music notation, but lacks bar lines completely. Both parts have one tempo throughout their entirety. Dynamic evolution is used to indicate structural sections:

  • Mari I can be seen as a long crescendo starting from ppp to f followed by a diminuendo back al niente
  • Mari II can be seen as one large crescendo starting from ppp to a tutta forza (as loud as possible)

The score puts the codes in the background and thus shifts the attention to the flow of the musical material.

Part I
Part II

Edited practice scores

The original scores are a good presentation from a compositional point of view. They show the result of putting the process in the background of the composition and having an organic feel at the surface. But when preparing for performance, the scores are less practical because of the handwritten style - which is often difficult to read - and the absence of timing indications (bars and meters) while having very detailed rhythmic notation. The results of the analysis have been used to create practice scores, providing different approaches to practice for a performance. In combination with different click track files, the practice process can be much more efficient compared to using the original score.

For Mari, two different re-edits resulted:

  • The 'groove' re-edit emphasizes the groove and overall timing of the playing by scoring the music in accordance with as many regular meters as possible. When necessary, irregular meters are used to complete the phrases. This results in a score with regular meters but more complex rhythms.
  • The 'phrase' re-edit emphasizes the phrasings. It starts a new measure for each new cell, having the first note of each cell on a new first beat. This results in a score with mostly irregular meters but a clear view of the rhythmical structure of each phrase.
re-edit examples