Whispering Galleries (2012)

A thumb piano is an African percussion instrument. The term is somewhat misleading and unpleasant to use, since the instrument has nothing in common with a piano, and it is degrading to describe it as a small 'thumbs-only' version of one. Other names encountered in literature are no better, usually describing just one variety of the instrument. At any rate, I'm extremely fond of these instruments and own a few.

Composing for thumb piano is a tricky task, because there are so many varieties, and no standard tuning. I did not want to restrict myself to just a few specific models. Without pitches or even sound to work with, form was all that was left, and the nine pieces of Whispering Galleries are essays on form and structure. I've used numbers to indicate the amount of notes to be played, font changes for further details, and colors to denote thematic relationships. I think it makes for a rather interesting look for the score. Every piece is accompanied with brief hints on how its structure unfolds.

PDF score

Also included are two transcriptions for two thumb pianos with different timbral characteristics.