Etude: Polyphonic Hocket

About Etude: Polyphonic Hocket:

Polyphonic Hocket looks at two specific traditional Zimbabwean rhythms and splits them between pairs of marimba players. The people playing High 1 and Low 2 are facing each other and sharing a single rhythm on the bongos. The pair on High 2 and Low 1 are doing the same thing with a different rhythm. The melodies of the individual players merge in to resultant melodies. Listen to each other and allow the other player(s) melodic lines to be extensions of your own.

The piece was created around specific stickings, and so I recommend staying with the sticking. Players should do this piece with two mallets, even if it seems easier to play with four mallets. Once the player is given the sticking, that pattern will repeat until a new sticking. There are a few exceptions to the patterns throughout the piece (EX: Marimba 1: High on measure 4) where there is a single substitution to the sticking, but the pattern will continue with that one change happening only when notated. Note that at the beginning of the piece, there are some stickings in parentheses: (R) and (L). These are placed over rests so even though the player doesn’t play then, they should know the sticking pattern so that later in the piece when those rests are now notes, they’ll know what to play.

The piece uses three bongos, and the low drums should all be tuned slightly different from each other. Ideally the bongos are tuned so that the bigger drums are pitched low to high and then the smaller drums are also tuned low to high. Direction and placement of the bongos is important so that all the parts are playable (see the pic). Drumset should be very close to the marimbas-maybe right in the back so that they are all able to lock in well. Lastly, I recommend players memorize the piece so they aren’t dealing with sheet music. 😉


Song Title: Etude: Polyphonic Hocket

ISRC Code:


Length: 6:05


Composer: Joel Lavioletter

Publisher: Joel Laviolette Publishing

Cleared For Licensing: