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Head Talk

5 players with various drum heads
Composer: Mark Ford
Publisher: Innovative Percussion, Inc.
Instrumentation: Coated PTS pretuned heads(10"bright, 22"bass drum, 10"dark, 12"mellow, 14"mellow, 16"dark), bottom snare drum heads(14", 15"), 5 sets of paper heads(14", 15"), bongo heads(6", 8") 14" coated head, pinstripe heads(10", 14", 16")

Mark Ford's Head Talk provides the percussion quintet with a dose of sophisticated comic relief. The equipment necessary is somewhat unusual: six pretuned heads--ranging in size from a 10 to a 22; a used 14 snare head; two bongo heads; one 14 coated head; two Pinstripe heads; and five performer-prepared papered-heads for the surprise ending (each performer smashing the drumhead over the head of the drummer!). The five performers must have or develop a controlled sense of humor and must theatrically play off each other. The performers sit on the stage in a semi-circle, and Head Talk starts with the pretuned heads being twirled on stage. The opening rhythmic motive has a definitive rock-samba groove to it, and each performer ends up imitating the opening motive. The composition lasts about nine minutes. From having taught this composition and having observed it being performed, one of the primary benefits of its preparation is the individual and collective sense of timing that Head Talk requires. Similar to the timing necessary in a superb marching percussion section, Head Talk locks in this concept and stimulates the ensemble to truly transfer this educational idea in a variety of other musical settings. This composition must be memorized for an effective theatrical performance (it should look improvised). From the audience's perspective, Head Talk is thoroughly entertaining. Ford furnishes detailed performer notes that enhance the performance of this work immensely. Head Talk has been successfully performed at a variety of PAS Festivals such as PASIC '94 in Columbus, at PAS-Brazil, also at the recent MidWest clinic, and at Ford's home university, East Carolina. It is appropriate for the solid college percussion ensemble. - Jim Lambert Percussive Notes, April 1996

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Mark Ford Mark Ford
University of North Texas
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