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Polaris

marimba solo
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Composer: Mark Ford
Publisher: Innovative Percussion, Inc.
Instrumentation: Marimba

Program Notes:
Polaris is a one movement solo based on a rhythmic theme in 7/8 meter. Set in a modified rondo form, two separate ostinatos help unify the music while themes from the opening chorale and allegro sections are developed. As the North Star has served as a navagation reference for centuries, Polaris reflects the inner part of each of us that guides our decisions and shapes our identity.

Review:
"Mark Ford has distinguished himself as a scholar, as a performer and as the composer of popular percussion works such as Head Talk and Stubernic. In Polaris, Ford delivers another winning composition. Polaris is an unaccompanied one-movement composition requiring the use of a 4 1/2- octave (low-F) marimba. Mainly in 7/8 time, Polaris is in rondo form utilizing two ostinato patterns to help unify the work. The work opens with a brief chorale setting. The intervals between the notes of the chords used in this section become the foundation of much of the melodic material to come. Polaris proceeds into a fast, driving pattern-oriented tour de force for advanced four-mallet marimbists. Beginning subtly, the ostinato patterns are established, the melodic material presented and eventually developed. The work is primarily of a tonal nature, in minor modes, but does employ a recurring melodic motive of a perfect fourth to a minor second to another perfect fourth. This motive is also material for development. Adding interest as the work progresses, the melody shifts from one voice to another and reappears in thirds and sixths. Rhythmically, Polaris incorporates much constant 16th-note material with sections of syncopated motives. Approximately 9 1/2 minutes in length, Polaris possesses a substantial amount of interesting melodic, harmonic and rhythmic material. This composition not only will challenge the marimbist, but will satisfy performers and audiences alike. Rightfully so, I expect Polaris will find its way to a variety of percussion recitals." - Rich Holly Percussive Notes, April 1997

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Mark Ford Mark Ford
University of North Texas
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