for 6 Percussionists & Symphonic Band
Black Rainbow is a work for 6 solo percussionists and symphonic band that explores the elusive and mystical moonbow – a rainbow produced by light reflected off the surface of the moon. The work divides into seven sections, traveling through the colors, each with its own unique energy.
Commissioned by the Coventry High School band (Ned F. Smith, director), Black Rainbow explores the elusive and mystical moonbow – a rainbow produced by light reflected off the surface of the moon. Because it is dark when a moonbow appears, the human eye cannot detect the full spectrum of colors that are present, making the moonbow appear to lack color, thus the name black rainbow. Using the spectrum of 7 colors found in all rainbows – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet or R.O.Y.G.B.I.V. – I derived a pitch set that is used as the thematic material throughout: B-flat, G, F, C-flat, G-flat, D-flat, D-natural.
Additionally, Black Rainbow divides into seven sections, traveling through the colors, each with its own unique energy.
Red: activity, energy, passion
Orange: creativity, playfulness, equilibrium
Yellow: wisdom, clarity of thought, orderliness
Green: harmony, sympathy, growth, expansion
Blue: peace & understanding, calm, relaxation
Indigo: infinity, bridge between the finite & the infinite
Violet: combination of red and blue energies; viewed as both an ending and a beginning
A piano reduction of Black Rainbow is also available from C. Alan Publications (Item #21082).
Grade Level: 4
Number of Players: Standard + 6
Listen to Recordings
B-flat Clarinet 1
B-flat Clarinet 2
B-flat Clarinet 3
Alto Saxophone 1
Alto Saxophone 2
Bassoon 1 & 2
B-flat Trumpet 1
B-flat Trumpet 2
B-flat Trumpet 3
F Horn 1/2
F Horn 3/4
Percussion 1: 4 Timpani, Sizzle Cymbal, Egg Shaker(s), Triangle
Percussion 2: Bells, Crotales (2 octaves), Xylophone, Shared 4.3-octave Marimba
Percussion 3: Shared Vibraphone, Shared 4.3-octave Marimba, Suspended Cymbal
Percussion 4: Shared 4.3-octave Marimba, China Cymbal, Suspended Cymbal, Shared Vibraphone
Percussion 5: 4 Concert Toms, Bongos, China Cymbal, Wind Chimes, Ocean Drum
Percussion 6: Concert Bass Drum, Tam-Tam, Suspended Cymbal, 2 Congas
Piano (optional amplification if needed)