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The crawl ball : for two violins, bass, and percussion

by Hollis Taylor (1998)

crawl ball


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The crawl ball : for two violins, bass and percussion / by Hollis Taylor.

Library shelf no. 785.713/TAY 3 [Available for loan]

crawl ball


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Work Overview

Inspired by the creepy, crawly bugs which haunted me during an artist's residency in the Dominican Republic in 1997, The Crawl Ball was composed in 1998.

"Tarantella de Chavon" is named for the tarantula that greeted but did not bite me outside my door at Altos de Chavon. A bold, accelerating Neapolitan dance in 6/8 meter, the tarantella was believed to cure the poisonous bite of the tarantula spider or the madness it caused. This one is a minor blues that explores the descending chromatic scale.

"Samba Beach Flies" is named for the beach flies that can ruin an otherwise paradisiacal day on the beach. The most famous dance of Brazil, the samba is based on heavy syncopation. This movement relies on the interval of the major second.

"La Cucara-chachachá" recalls the giant cockroaches of my Dominican kitchen as well as the popular Mexican tune. The chachá, made popular in the 1940s and 50s, is a mid-tempo Cuban dance that resulted from the addition of a vamp onto the more traditional danzón. This one examines the intervals of major and minor thirds inherent in a major chord.

"Mambo de Mosquito" commemorates a particular dive bombing by a blood-thirsty insect, beginning with a transcription noted at 2:25 am on June 24, 1997. A bright, up-tempo dance, the mambo originated in Cuba and was developed by New York big bands. The tritone (three whole steps apart and also called "the devil's interval") is the interval of choice here.

The string quartet version of this work is fully notated. The two violins/bass/percussion version relies on improvisation from the rhythm section.

Work Details

Year: 1998

Instrumentation: 2 violins, double bass (percussion performed by the string players).

Duration: 21 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: Tarantella de chavon -- Samba beach flies -- La cucara-chachacha -- Mambo de mosquito.

Commission note: Commissioned by Monica Haggett.

First performance: by Monica Haggett, Hollis Taylor — 1998. Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon, USA


Performances of this work

1998: Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon, USA. Featuring Monica Haggett, Hollis Taylor.

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