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Wu Xing

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James Syler

James Syler

Subtitle: Concertino for Two Percussion and Band

General Info

Year: 2016
Duration: c. 10:00
Difficulty: III+ (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Music Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $100.00   |   Score Only (print) - $12.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crotales
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone

Solo Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drums (large and medium)
  • Brake Drum
  • Crash Cymbals (with leather hand strap)
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Floor Tom
  • Gong (large)
  • Hi-Hat (closed)
  • Kick Bass Drum
  • Ocean Drum
  • Pole (long wooden)
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal (small)
  • Thunder Sheet
  • Timpani (with large cymbal)
  • Triangle (small)
  • Tub of Water


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Wu Xing (pronounced wu-hsing) are the traditional Chinese five phases – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. “Wu” refers to the number 5. These five phases also have traditional pitch associations in Western solfege that produce a pentatonic scale and these corresponding harmonies.

	Metal	Water	Wood	Fire	Earth
	re	la	mi	sol	do
	ii	vi	iii	V	I

in Bb: Cm Gm Dm F Bb

The resulting chord progression of Cm Gm Dm F Bb briefly appears at the beginning of the “Wood” section and is repeated in the last “Earth” section as the culmination of the Wu Xing concept. The number 5 is referred to throughout -- 5-measure phrases, 5-note harmonies, a 5-note melody, 5-note rhythms, etc.

The work features two solo percussionists playing a variety of sounds organized by instruments made of, or representing, metal, water, wood, fire, and earth. The final “Earth” section uses two bass drums playing a 5-note rhythm, in five phrases, of five rhythms each, that grows in power to the end.

Wu Xing was commissioned by a consortium of 22 high schools and colleges.

- Program Note from publisher


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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