Arranged By: Chris Patterson
Title: Directional Suite Etudes for the Circle of Fifths Tenor Pan
Format: Fake Books
Instruments: Tenor Pan
Difficulty Level: 4
The steel pan is essentially a parabolic instrument. Because of this, it must be approached (speaking from a technical/pedagogical point of view) in a different manner than most other percussion instruments. One of the first major obstacles that any pan player has to overcome is being able to play multiple notes fluently with one hand (referred hereafter as “sweeps”). This allows the player to navigate around the instrument without twisting their arms into knots by alternating (right/left etc.).
The “Directional Suite” for Circle of 5ths lead pan specifically targets this technique, while providing a musical application suitable for recitals and concerts. Because each key requires different hand placements/techniques, a player has to be able to master fluid hand motions in multiple positions (sometimes utilizing different muscles in the hands and wrists). Hence, each piece is named after a direction, based on which region of the pan is being utilized. “South” is on the bottom half, “North” the top half (both equally favoring right and left hands), “East” the right half (favoring the right hand), and “West” the left half (favoring the left hand).
Since these are etudes, there are numerous benefits one can gain from performing each piece. Each section (and in many cases; each measure) can be isolated into mini-‐exercises in order to build technique. A player that successfully learns and performs any or all of these etudes will gain a very good understanding of the key center (respectively) of each piece and will integrate consistency into their technique. This consistency will not only be internalized (ideally), but will provide a solid technical foundation that will carry on into other aspects of their playing.
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