Ta and Clap (2005) – Nico Muhly


  • 2 marimbas
  • Player 1: 3 congas, large tom, opera gong, bass drum, suspended cymbal, china cymbal, hi-hat, 5 cans, 2 cowbells
  • Player 2: 3 toms, 5 cans, shaker, log drum, clave
  • Player 3: 3 snare drums, 5 temple blocks, 5 cans
  • Player 4: bass drum, 3 roto-toms, 5 cans

Composer’s note:

Ta-ing and Clapping is a method of teaching rhythms wherein all beats are accounted for, resulting in a fully-rendered moto perpetuo that only implies empty spaces naturally found in a rhythmic pattern. In Ta & Clap, scored for percussion quartet, I wrote dense marimba music and then subjected this music to several processes of subtraction, resulting in a rhythmic cycle that is sometimes presented in its entirety, sometimes filled with holes, and sometimes completely rendered out such that there are no holes at all. Although there is a lot of math at work, Ta & Clap is meant to be fun to play and challenging to learn. It is scored for 2 marimbas and any number of assorted percussion instruments at the discretion of the performers. Ta & Clap is dedicated to Line C-3(comprising Chris Thompson, Haruka Fujii, John Ostrowski, and Sam Solomon), with gratitude for the patience and good rhythmic sportsmanship.

-Nico Muhly


Annotated by John Stapleton