Improving the practice and performance of contemporary music

Mani. Δίκη

text written autumn 2014 by Tom De Cock

General information

  • Percussion solo for 2 Tibetan sounding bowls, Chinese opera-gong, low Thai gong, 2 plate bells
  • duration 30'
  • Commissioned by Ensemble Nikel
  • First performance 2014 by Tom De Cock
  • you can order the score online by sending an email to

Mani Δίκη could be considered as a kind of celebration of the sound world of metal, and especially of the specific richness and quality of its sound states; of the manipulation connected with metal-to-metal contact; of the particular given form of the instruments, which influences the manipulation; of the mutual position of the instruments which creates a particular space for the body of the performer.

It deals therefore with an exploration and creative journey of sound (or a kind of “way of the sound”): through the sound, in the connection with the material, thanks to the living contact with the instruments (most of these instruments not belonging to European cultural and religious traditions, whereby their original sound is never used, and this choice needs no explanation…).

The instrumental set creates a unique large metal instrument. It was conceived of and used as a body consisting of different parts that are still connected and interdependent. In different moments one instrument becomes the centre of manipulation and the “rhythmical heart” of the body-instrument: first the China Opera Gong, then the Thai Gong, the Plate Bells, and finally the Tibetan Sounding Bowls. Some moments, due to their sonic and rhythmic identity, or their kind of manipulation of their extreme sound and physical states, mark the “way of the sound” and create some complementary “stations:”
  • The ”inaudible breath” of the China Opera Gong, almost without any activity
  • The “deafening breath” of the Thai Gong, constant and obsessive
  • The “heart impulse” of the Plate Bells, extended by the gesture creating it
  • The “modulated impulse” of the Sounding Bowls, creating a continuum

The extreme concentration and reduction of the actions (in some moments like a kind of abstract writing in sound and rhythm, consisting of circles and lines) makes each minimal difference audible and opens the attention to a “musical voice” of the metal, which the western culture has ignored and never really recognized as sound.(1)

Practical difficulties
Technical difficulties
Interpretational difficulties


  1. Text reproduced with permission from
  2. All sketches that were used in the text are taken from the scores and the legends of the described pieces. © Pierluigi Billone.