TMEA 2020-21 All-State Snare Drum Selection: Advanced Snare Drum Studies, Etude #4 - Mitchell Peters

  • 🎬 Video
  • ℹ️ Published 1 years ago

TMEA's 2020-21 All-State Snare Drum Etude is #4 from Mitchell Peters's "Advanced Snare Drum Studies". Peters happens to be one of my favorite writers for snare drum, and I'm always glad to have an excuse to prepare one of his etudes. I have some performance notes below, as well as TMEA's written Performance Guide. Let me know in a comment if you're struggling with any aspect of practicing this piece. Good luck!

Snare drum: Pearl Philharmonic Concert Snare Drum - Brass 4x14
Sticks: Freer (my sponsor) General Orchestral Hornwood Signature Model
Microphone: Audio-Technica AT4040 Cardioid Condenser

Some of the notes from my interpretation:

In my opinion, a central part of this etude's focus is the way Peters overlays 3/8 and 3/16 patterns across bars of 4/4. Some clear examples of this are in bars 4, 7, 14, 24-25, 28, 34, and 35.
Spend some practice time looping the 3/8 figures over the steady quarter-note pulse of the metronome. Play each pattern for a minute, or for however long it takes to 'click'. When you're mentally comfortable with the feeling, try improvising some patterns of your own. This is all to develop ease with the somewhat-polyrhythmic idea.
Another theme of the etude is the way Peters contrasts subdivisions of 3 with subdivisions of 4. You'll see this in bars 11, 12, 15, 20-21, 24, 31, 33, and of course, 36-37.
It helps to think of the different subdivisions as being different 'characters' in the music--I decided that one is more legato and the other is more articulate. Make them distinct, but don't go too far! Keep them friendly.
So to review, we have two themes, who may not actually be so different from one another. I consider them two different expressions of the concept, "3 against 4".
I phrase this etude almost entirely in 1-bar or 2-bar phrases. Aim for horizontality throughout.
The dimuendi in bars 5 and 22 should gently trot down to the piano dynamic.
In bar 26, watch for lightness in the first drag of the bar. If played too heavily, it will warp the music's sense of pulse.
The final two bars are tricky. At the subdivision changes (to 3s and then 4s), make sure that the first note of the new subdivision doesn't arrive soon. Unfortunately, even a small amount of rushing on the first note of the triplets or 16th notes will translate to an outsized amount of confusion for the listener. You want her to hear 'eighth notes, triplets, 16th notes'. NOT a quasi-accelerando.
I found that to play the final 16th notes, the coordination has to be slightly different from how the 8s and triplets are played. You'll see the difference mostly in my left arm. For the slower speeds, I naturally unlock the elbow and lift/drop the forearm from that joint. But at the 16s, I pretty much contained all control in the wrist, and stabilized the elbow to hold its angle. It's a subtle change, and maybe more felt by the performer than seen by an observer. But for me it made the difference needed to rely on those 16s!
I hope you find this information helpful!


From TMEA's Performance Guide:
"This challenging etude explores the full palette of concert snare drum idioms and will certainly test the player's abilities in their execution.

The quality of the flams and drags throughout the etude should be consistent. In the concert style, be careful not to play these flat. This consistency of quality is particularly important in mm. 31-End, where these ornaments are often embedded in a straight sixteenth-note context. The performer’s sticking choice will influence how successfully this passage flows and how consistent the ornaments sound, particularly in the challenging last measure. The alternation between ruffs and flams in mm. 35-36 is most tricky, and careful experimentation with sticking approaches will be critical. Care should also be given to distinguish between accented and non-accented ornaments.

I encourage concentrated work on roll quality for the long rolls in mm. 6, 22, and 26. These long rolls will expose the player’s ability to produce a consistent and rich sound. Please note that the rolls in mm. 9-10 are not tied to the subsequent notes, so a very subtle separation needs to be placed here. Likewise in ms. 12, the rolls of the quarter-note triplet should be very slightly separated. In each of these cases, the non-tied rolls should not end with a “clean” single-stroke articulation.

It is essential to master the full range of dynamics indicated in the etude, especially control and evenness in soft playing. Special attention should be given to mm. 23 and 30, which require not only dynamic control at “p” and “f” respectively, but also quick alternations between rapid triplets and 32nd notes."

💬 Comments

Jesus dude, you nailed those alternating flams and ruffs at the end. Bravo!

Author — Nathan Defense


What sticking did you use for those alternating ruffs and flams at the end!

Author — Angel Ramos