For a video performance of this solo and others, sheet music, exercises, tips & tricks, interviews and more, check out Danny’s DVD, “Let It Rip”—available at www.tapspace.com!
www.tapspace.com Extracted in part from the educational DVD collection “Let It Rip” by Tapspace. Copyright 2008 Tapspace Publications, LLC. Portland, Oregon. All rights reserved. Any duplication, adaptation, or arrangement of any composition contained herein requires the written consent of the copyright owner. No part of any composition contained herein may be photocopied or reproduced in any way without permission. Unauthorized uses are an infringement of the U.S. Copyright Act and are punishable by law.
Please note that stick placement and movement on or across the drum head will assist in achieving dynamic expression, written or otherwise, especially in terms of achieving quick, effective dynamic spans — crescendos and/or decrescendos. One example of this approach is playing near the edge of the drum for softer volumes and working toward the center of the drum for a crescendo effect. Some of this type of technique can be seen on the performance DVD. Use of this effect depends on musical phrasing and is suggested only as an aid to perform a desired effect at the performer’s musical discretion. It is simply another “tool” for the soloist to consider in his/her performance palette. Also, there are some dynamic markings denoted with a dash to allow the performer greater musical discretion. For example, denotes that a performer can choose or somewhere in between depending on musical interpretation.
“Skyscraper” won the 1989 and 1990 DCA Individual Snare Drum Solo Championship titles. Over the years, it has evolved to what is presented herein. The solo is divided into three sections, and for construction purposes I refer to them as the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The introduction (top to letter E) incorporates a variety of dynamics as well as some visual content. I also use the material in this section as a setup for what comes later in the solo. Letter D demands that various paradiddle rudiments be performed at a very fast tempo, including some back-sticking, and concludes with an intricate roll sequence (measures 28-29). I would like to suggest using the music starting at letter D and concluding at measure 30 as an exercise prior to performing this solo. Start it at a slower tempo and attempt to work it up to the suggested marking. This is something I do prior to performing this solo because it is a good way to gauge the starting tempo. If I have trouble performing this section, I am more than likely playing it too fast. The second section is what I refer to as “the body” (letter E to letter M). For the sake of preserving endurance and compositional contrast, this should start at a much slower tempo. I decided on an expressive theme that wouldn’t tire me out, and Ravel’s “Bolero” seemed like the perfect fit. This rhythmic pattern lent itself to expressive playing and allowed me to develop it more by working in a single ratamacue (or variation of one) that becomes part of an accelerando with back-sticking thrown in. Also notice the use of double strokes played in the form of sextuplets (letter F to letter H). This will allow the player to explore performing diddles in a more open interpretation. Things get a bit more interesting by switching grips and performing in a “reverse” traditional grip (letter J) and then BOTH hands using the traditional grip (letter K).* The conclusion at letter M was designed to be the exclamation point. Aggressive playing mixed in with visuals ties it all together. Solo content and length make this an extremely challenging piece. * As a side note, I would like to recommend practicing basic hand exercises in the reverse traditional grip and both hands in traditional grip. Start at slow tempos and gradually work up to where playing becomes more comfortable using these grips.
Level: Advanced Approx. Duration: 3’20”
© 2008 Tapspace Publications, LLC (ASCAP). Portland, OR. International copyright secured. All rights reserved.