Halo-Study II

for crotales (or glockenspiel) + tuned gongs  (2013)


Duration: 11 minutes

Orchestration: crotales (or glockenspiel) + tuned gongs (optional)

Availability: For Sale


Program Notes

Premiere: June 30, 2013 Centre Pompidou, Paris, France.


Performance Notes


While I composed Halo Study II in collaboration with choreographer Alban Richard, it may be performed with or without dancer(s). New choreography is welcome. To discuss Alban Richard’s original choreography, please contact him at www.ensemblelabrupt.fr 

Dampening & Repeat Bars

Throughout the piece, let the instrument ring. Saturation of sound is the goal. (Assume sempre l.v. throughout). Use the repeat bars marked “dampen” to dampen the crotales. Feel free to repeat these bars as required. 


Players should choose the mallets that work best for their interpretation. Often players change mallets at the beginning of rehearsal K for timbre. Percussionist Carlota Cáceres began this tradition at the premiere and Matthew Lau continued it for the U.S. premiere. Lau used four medium aluminum mallets from the beginning until rehearsal K. He also put a thin layer of moleskin on the mallets to make them “two tone.” He felt that this allowed him the greatest dynamic flexibility, especially for soft playing.  At rehearsal K, Cáceres used brass mallets, but some players may have concerns because of potential damage the instrument. Lau used four plastic glockenspiel mallets.

Thai gongs

An optional part, played by either a dancer or second percussionist, for tuned Thai gongs is suggested. This requires four gongs tuned to C2 (two octaves below middle C), B2, C3, C#3.

Dancer Alban Richard played the gongs with the soft part of his fists producing a strong, but diffuse, round tone that I prefer to traditional gong beaters. 

If performed by a dancer, these gestures should imitate the percussionist; rhythmic flexibility is allowed. 

The Thai gong player, dancer or percussionist, may also improvise a part. The version found in the part is a transcription of what choreographer/dancer Alban Richard played at the premiere - a version found on Vimeo.

Other performers have performed their own versions successfully. However, the pitches (including octaves) must be retained.

- Matthew Barnson (February 22, 2017)