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Pizziquitiplás (1989) explores the transformation of the classic role of the cello, bringing out new percussive and aerophonic colors, using interlocking lines of pizzicato to create textures inspired by the energetic Quitiplás, a traditional Afro-Venezuelan instrument of bamboo percussion played in trios, usually accompanying singers and dancers.

The interlocking patterns of Quitiplás, created by three sizes of bamboo tubes struck on a hard floor or a stone are emulated by the pizzicato techniques I developed for this unusual piece. Two cellos play the pizzicato "percussion" parts, the third cello represents the sounds of a sea-conch trumpet which is usually played during the dances.

The performance of this trio is demanding but extremely exciting: the parts are tightly woven, the texture they build is generated within the vocabulary of Afro-Venezuelan drumming, but the development of the formal arc of the piece evolves in an original way, a continuous, structural rallentando. This calming down of the tempo takes the piece progressively into a totally different mood, a nocturnal contemplation after a tropical shower, and the slow dripping, from huge banana leaves, into the puddles reflecting a starry night. Frogs, timelessness, silence.


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Music parts for Cello 1 or Viola, Cello 2,3 in 10x13 size, plus score

Pizziquitiplás - Cello Trío

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