Negative Magic

for snare drum

Tonia Ko

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for snare drum

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Composer Tonia Ko
Year of Composition 2019
Duration ca.10'

Categories (all composers) , ,
Catalogue ID ce-tk1nm1


Performance of this work requires additional media. Due to file size, these will be delivered via file transfer service upon purchase of the work. If you do not receive these additional files, please contact Composers Edition.

Commissioned by Michael Compitello for the “Unsnared Drum” Project

Negative Magic is a piece that discovers richness and complexity by relinquishing control. Rather than acting upon my initial impulse to augment and add to the snare drum, I set about exploring its many components. This resulted in a reconceptualizing of the entire project— I was not to compose “just” for snare drum, but was curating a combined state of all the separate parts: the drum head, rim, and snares. My piece maximizes the resonance and beating of the drum by tuning it irregularly: both the drumhead and snares are almost completely loosened. As snare drums are wonderfully diverse, this set-up creates a sound world unique to every instrument. Yet the commonality I imagine is the atmosphere of a powerful ritual taking place between performer and instrument— perhaps not unlike a wizard stirring a magic cauldron, conjuring various potions and spells in a mysterious language.