by Timothy Ferchen

for percussion quartet and recorded sound

Empty sheet

Timothy Ferchen


Music Finland


Ever since I was a child I've been banging on things. I can still remember my mother yelling at me for playing on everything at the dinner table. Even as a young child I realized that almost any object that you can imagine will make a sound if you hit it. So what does this have to do with Masquerades? The answer is in the title. Even though we acknowledge the exsistence of a large set of musical instruments in the world, that list is far from complete. If what John Cage said is true, that everything around us can be music, then it stands to reason that everything around us can be a musical instrument. Most of these instruments are disguised as everyday objects ie. the hand rail on the staircase, your coffee cup, washing machine, the dumpster in the back yard, etc. It's all a huge masquerade, instruments hiding in plain sight!

Masquerades was composed for Awake Percussion in 201 9. The piece consists of 3 movements and 2 interludes using mostly non-tuned percussion instruments along with an audio track. The sounds of this audio track are mainly composed of perhaps the most famous masquerader in music, John Cage's prepared piano. Cage was able to turn a very respectable traditional instrument into a Frankenstein monster which no longer sounded like a piano, but more like the percussion instrument that it really is. In addition to the piano, the other material as well comes from analog sources, there are no electronic instruments used.

The first movement uses only wooden percussion with the audio track. Following this is a short interlude for percussion alone in which metal instruments are introduced. The 2nd movement is mainly for metal instruments and audio track. This is followed by a short interlude, this time for the audio track alone. The final movement is for percussion using metal, glass and Chinese drums with the audio. This last movement is a type of perpetual motion, and I have subtitled it "perpetual notions" referring to how difficult it is to change people's opinion of what constitutes a proper musical instrument.


4perc, tape


Chamber Works

Commisioned by / dedications

Written for Awake Percussion

PDF for promotional use


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