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Skyward

Composer: Adam Tan

Instrument: Marimba

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Published: 2019

Price: €14.00


Item details

  • Description +
    • Duration: 6 min.

      Loosely based on my own story as a content creator, Skyward (翱, ao) is a personal reflection on the idea of pursuing dreams, whether its getting a dream job, succeeding at a new lifestyle, or finding someone special in your life. The title Skyward represents the idea of always looking 'skyward' towards dreams that appear lofty, before realising that they can be reached.

      Skyward's main theme remains constant throughout the work, but is varied in different degrees as the work progresses. The theme begins soft and spacious, as we set off on pursuing our 'dream', before developing to a light and bouncy compound time variation ofthe first theme, an indication of how it feels to see the first positive results of our work. The theme then runs into a bridge with heavy triple laterals, reflecting on the countless times adversity strikes and sows seeds of uncertainty on the 'dream' that is being pursued, before emerging into the first climactic octave section, where two keys clash together to represent overcoming increasingly difficult situations as the 'dream' gets closer to realisation. The final climactic octave section features majestic and powerful open octaves and arpeggios, where the 'dream' has been reached. The octave section then closes down into a soft reflection of the very first theme but in a new key, showing that although we have flown skyward to achieve the 'dream', we are still the same person on the inside.

      Adam Tan

  • Instrumentation +
    • Marimba (5 octave)

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  • 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)

      “Skyward” is a beautiful, tonal marimba solo by the young Australian-Asian percussionist Adam Tan. This 5½-minute piece from 2019 makes full use of the range of a 5-octave marimba, and performers will need good control of four mallets, as the piece features melodically expressive runs over several octaves. The score is clearly written, and its accompanying notes describe “Skyward” as autobiographical in Tan’s pursuit of lifelong dreams. The piece makes use of a recurring theme throughout that represents, in Tan’s words, “always looking ‘skyward’ towards dreams that appear lofty.”

      Arranged in six expressive sections and tempi, the piece makes liberal use of key changes but stays in a melodically tonal style. Most of the main melodic sections stay within a 3-octave range with the expressive runs throughout making use of both the lower and higher octaves to great effect. The challenge of this piece is in its musical expression with melodic phrasing that will surely captivate the performer and audience equally, making this piece ideal for intermediate to advanced student and concert recitals.

      —N. Scott Robinson

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