From the violin and keyboard, to the cymbals and drums, a number of students from various majors joined Doug Smith, assistant professor and percussion area coordinator, and Donna Fairbanks, department chair of the school of music, to perform using non-traditional musical patterns April 4 at Centre Stage.
Haphazard! was performed by the UVU percussion group. The musicians played musical numbers ranging from Vivaldi’s Concerto No. 1 in E Major, which sounds like it should be used as the theme of a Jane Austin film, to Lou Harrison’s Canticle No. 3, an unconventional non-western style of music that sounds like noise.
The light and airy sound of Vivaldi’s Concerto No. 1 was contrasted between the music written in the western culture versus the Canticle No. 3, which was written with non-western culture musical patterns. It sounds like the musicians are using random kitchen objects as instruments. “If you thought that [Double Magic] was strange, this one is even more strange. … It has a guitar that is tuned wrong and only has 3 chords … [and] an ocarina,” said Smith. “[Canticle No. 3] is one of my favorites.”
The sound of Canticle No. 3 was pretty unique. Smith explained to the audience that if the music sounds weird, it is okay. This type of music is normally written in countries like Bali where they don’t have the same music phrases as Westerners. The music also has a lot of gongs and bells. To make the sound of Canticle No. 3 different, Smith had Shad Woffinden, computer science freshman, play boxes as drums.
“It’s pretty unconventional. They were wiggling sheet metal and were playing boxes. They [were] hitting an upright base with drum mallets,” said Steven Rames, commercial music junior. The music was intriguing, despite the fact that it seems to not follow a pattern and resembles noise more than what the western world considers as music.
“I’d say it was different but it had, like [Smith] said, an Asian feel,” said Jordan Berger, journalism senior. “It felt like you were in a martial arts movie. … Scenes of Asia were going through my head.”
This is Smith’s sixth year as an assistant professor and percussion area coordinator. He is also a freelance musician in Salt Lake City. He has worked with groups like the Utah Symphony, Utah Opera, and Ballet West. This year, he was given a grant to make a full percussion CD. The tracks that were performed at Hazhazard! will be on the CD, and it will be recorded in the upcoming months.