Ritmos Colorados

This work is available for purchase through Heartland Marimba Publications

Rítmos Colorados (literally, “colored rhythms”) was commissioned in 2013 by Jonathan Latta and the percussion ensemble at Fort Lewis College.

The work consists of an introduction followed by eight “etudes.” Various types of activities (active, rolled, isolated, etc.) and timbres (wood, skin, metal, pitched/unpitched) cycle against one another to create a shifting soundscape.

Pitch materials are fairly limited: serial and freely atonal procedures are used throughout, while rhythmic materials are more strictly controlled. Beginning in the third etude the music becomes more active, including intricate duets for drums and later cans and pipes. This central portion of the work is governed mainly by the numbers 5, 6, and 7: the number of beats or attacks in a given pattern frequently correspond to these integers, while forceful, irregular interruptions made up of quint-, sext-, and septuplets grate against the prevailing rhythms. A striking rhythmic motive heard in the drums shortly after the beginning of the work serves as a catalyst for many of the subsequent musical events.

Classic techniques like canon, hocket, variation, and isorhythm may be found throughout. These are blended with more contemporary practices such as gradual addition or subtraction of beats or individual rhythmic durations from a repeated pattern.

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