Mark Ford (b.1958)

Head Talk (1995)

6 minutes

5 players

Instrumentation: 5 pre-tuned drum heads

Program Note: Head Talk provides the percussion quintet with a dose of sophisticated comic relief. The equipment necessary is somewhat unusual: six pretuned heads–ranging in size from a 10 to a 22; a used 14 snare head; two bongo heads; one 14 coated head; two Pinstripe heads; and five performer-prepared papered-heads for the surprise ending (each performer smashing the drumhead over the head of the drummer!). The five performers must have or develop a controlled sense of humor and must theatrically play off each other. The performers sit on the stage in a semi-circle, and Head Talk starts with the pretuned heads being twirled on stage. The opening rhythmic motive has a definitive rock-samba groove to it, and each performer ends up imitating the opening motive. The composition lasts about nine minutes. –from


Annotated by Taylor Ambrosio-Wood