After it poured down rain this past Saturday, I happened to look out the window and was rewarded with this golden view:
During my second year of undergraduate college work, I was (somehow) given the privilege of free percussion lessons. Before you offhandedly dismiss percussion as being easy and consisting of merely banging on something and making lots of loud noise, I’d like to convince you otherwise.
- Playing percussion means you need to have rhythm, understand rhythm, have the ability to count and count and count in rhythm.
- You are given a pair of sticks or mallets and are supposed to bodily demonstrate said rhythm with them.
- You can’t just play at any ol’ volume you want, you need to play what is dictated to you.
- If you end up playing a keyboard instrument (i.e xylophone, marimba, vibraphone), you have to make the mallets hit specific parts of it, not just anywhere you want. Well, really, this applies to any percussion instrument you play, even a triangle.
- Lastly, if you end up playing a keyboard instrument with two mallets per hand, that is four mallets total, then you’re in a whole ‘nother ball game. (Apparently you can play with three per hand, too.)
Anyway, I digress.
The latter, 4-mallet playing, is what I was learning how to do on a marimba. One of the first solo pieces I was ever given to learn is considered a beginner standard in the percussion industry, Yellow After The Rain. It was challenging to play, had cool sounding chords and effects, lots of neat rolling with the mallets, etc. I played it time and time again.
Yet, somehow, I never quite understood where the name came from.
Now, I do:
Every now and then, it actually is yellow after the rain. Beautiful.