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Flying Colours

Composer: Adam Tan

Instrument: Percussion Duo

Level: Intermediate

Published: 2019

Price: €20.00


Item details

  • Description +
    • Duration: 4 min.

      1. Larger range instruments (e.g. 5.0 octave marimba): Flying Colours is written for a 3.0 octave vibraphone and a 4.3 octave marimba, but larger instruments can be used as well.

      2. Mallet use: Marimba should use a warm graduated set (e.g. soft, medium soft, medium, medium hard). Vibraphone should use an articulate but rounded set of mallets that are not too harsh.

      3. Tempo: Flying Colours should be kept at a constant steady tempo when in sections that have no tempo changes. The dramatic section at bar 82 is the exception to this, which can be dramatically stretched.

      4. Dynamics: Flying Colours should never be too harsh or too soft. The loudest section is at the very end, and the softest section is at letter G.

      5. Pedalling: The vibraphone player should dampen and feather as required for phrasing purposes. They should not hold the pedal down fully for whole passages.

      6. Finally, make sure you and your duo partner have fun with this!

  • Instrumentation +
    • 3.0 octave vibraphone and a 4.3 octave marimba

  • Watch+
    • Performed by Therese Ng and Adam Tan

  • About the composer +
    • Adam Tan is a percussionist from Perth, Western Australia. His favourite instrument is the marimba. 

      Adam is the host and producer of THE STUDIO, a YouTube show uploading weekly episodes about various topics of percussion, such as gear, technique and tutorials. Since its inception in 2016, THE STUDIO has grown to reach thousands of percussionists of all levels from around the world, receiving critical acclaim from the likes of Casey Cangelosi, Kai Stensgaard and Rob Knopper.  

      Adam currently holds a Master of Music (Research, Percussion) and Bachelor of Arts in Music with First Class Honours from the University of Western Australia (UWA). He was awarded the Lady Callaway Medal for Music, Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) Prize in Third-Year Performance, ROSL Postgraduate Scholarship, UWA Convocation Graduates Prize in Music, and the Australian Postgraduate Award. 

      Adam has performed and presented at many local and international events, including the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), PAS Hong Kong Day of Percussion, Malaysia Percussion Festival, Chosen Vale International Percussion Seminar, Australian Percussion Gathering, Canning World Arts Festival and State of the Art Festival.   

      Adam has been under the tutelage of Louise Devenish (UWA), Paul Tanner (UWA) and Tim White (WAAPA), and has been mentored by Mark Applebaum (USA), Kuniko Kato (Japan), Doug Perkins (USA), Su Yin Tan (Malaysia), and Nancy Zeltsman (USA).

  • Reviews +
    • Review (Percussive Notes, June 2020)

      “Flying Colours” is a short, frenetic burst for keyboard percussion that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. In his notes to the piece, composer Adam Tan alludes to the work’s roots in “energetic video game and anime theme music, where themes often interchange between colourful solo parts with accompaniment and powerful unison sections.” Despite the brevity of the piece (four minutes), there is indeed a sense of hurtling from one idea to the next in dizzying fashion. As a listener, I found myself visualizing Steve Reich and Gary Burton meeting at a Japanese nightclub; the anime and video-game influences are pervasive, and the harmonic vocabulary strays very little from that genre’s comfortable conservatism, although there are enough funny little blue notes and polyrhythmic slights-of-hand that the piece never quite settles into predictability. All told, the piece is a fun and showy vehicle for accomplished intermediate-advanced keyboard performers, and it is refreshingly unpretentious and honest about its intentions (or lack thereof).

      Were it not for the breakneck speed of the piece, I would think that “Flying Colours” might be approachable by most above-average high school percussionists, but at its official tempo, the work’s demanding litany of cross-ensemble polyrhythms, metrical variation, and accuracy challenges becomes magnified, and I feel that it is better reserved for the college or professional level (although I’m sure there are standout high school students ready to accept the challenge). Each performer gets a chance to take over at times, and preparing this project will require commitment and chemistry from both performers. This lightheartedpiece will certainly be an engaging addition to any undergraduate or public recital.

      —Brian Graiser

  • Credits +
    • Front Cover graphics and layout: Gaia Rodrigues
      Photo: Wilson Ng
      Engraving: Adam Tan & Johan Svitzer
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copyright ©Adam Tan