Skip to main content
Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2018 Abstracts

Beast – A Performance Guide

Zachary Webb, Dixie State University

Beast is a marimba solo written by American composer and guitarist Steven Mackey. In recent years Mackey has been commissioned by groups such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic,the Kennedy Center, Sydney Symphony and New World Symphony. The central premise and intent behind creating a performance guide for Beast is that, as Mackey is an important American composer, understanding the processes and principles of his music is beneficial. Also, the value of studying marimba techniques employed in performance of the piece is important. The process and methodology of the research included a harmonic and rhythmic analysis of Beast in addition to preparing a performance. The process of identifying each element and comparing and contrasting it throughout the entire piece of music is paramount in research of the nature. Mackey uses compositional elements and utilizes performance techniques i a way that it introduces it well to the intermediate marimbist. With this knowledge, a musically mature and coherent performance is possible. Performance guides are effective and significant in the music field and this guide to Beast is no exception. As Mackey’s music continues to be performed by the leading symphonies and percussion students have a desire to learn, Beast will increase in stature in the canon. And as Beast was written with the intermediate marimbist in mind, the amount of in depth performance guides for that niche market are not readily available.