Instrumentation: percussion quartet
Duration: ca. 6:30
Premiere: November 9, 2017 :: Michigan State University Percussion Ensemble :: Percussive Arts Society International Convention :: Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, IN
This piece comes from two kinds of music that I love: heavy metal and Indian Carnatic music. I spent a summer in Mysore, India studying Carnatic music—specifically, the mridangam, a hand drum which serves as the primary rhythmic instrument in the Carnatic music ensemble. My favorite metal band is Meshuggah, a Swedish group known for its use of incredibly intricate and virtuosically executed rhythmic material. For me, although vastly different in many ways, Meshuggah and Carnatic music are deeply connected in their use of complex rhythmic cycles. The title for this work, Ferrum, is the latin word for iron—a heavy metal—and also references the ferric oxide (rust) tuning paste used on the drum heads of the mridingam, which gives the instrument its distinct metallic timbre.