Table of Contents (2008) by David Lang

Players: 2


Each player requires:          1 clear-pitched bell or crotale

3 tea bells of different sizes

3 small shakers of different sizes and types


3 woodblocks of different sizes

1 small tambourine

Duration: 13 minutes

Program Note:

Writing Table of Contents was suggested to me by the Meehan/Perkins percussion duo, both of whom I knew well from their days as members of So Percussion. My original idea for the piece was a visual image that reminded me of the television variety shows of my youth – someone would come out on stage and make music by picking up an odd array of noise makers in lightning succession, all of which produced sound in different ways. When I presented it to Todd and Doug, I mentioned that I imagined all the odd objects should be set out on a table and be played by picking them up, creating a frantic and exciting performance. They told me I was crazy, so we suspended the instruments on racks instead, but the idea of the table and its contents remains, if only in the title. At Ohio State University in May 2011, percussionists Susan Powell and Joe Krygier performed the piece on tables, as I had originally imagined. I was very, very happy to learn that my original idea was not nearly as crazy as we all thought. – David Lang



Annotated by Christine Augspurger