A Little D 'n' A


A Little D 'n' A


Gilroy, Gary

Item Code:
C. Alan Publications

A short concert opener for advanced percussion ensemble, A Little D 'n' A explores fun techniques using muted and open sounds and allows for bluesy improvisation in the keyboard instruments. Fast and furious, this is a showy piece for your next concert.

Program Notes

A Little D ‘n’ A was composed for Dr. Matthew Darling and the California State University, Fresno Percussion Ensemble specifically for their performance at the state convention of the California Music Educators Association on Thursday, March 15, 2007 in Ontario, California. The composer has had a long and wonderful working relationship with Dr. Darling since joining Darling on the faculty of the Music Department at California State University, Fresno in 1993. Gilroy, himself a percussionist, has always been a strong advocate of Dr. Darling and his terrific percussion program at Fresno State. It has been a rare occasion that Gilroy has missed the Percussion Ensemble Concert each semester during the past 13+ years. Time and time again, Dr. Darling’s concert presentations have been inspirational to Dr. Gilroy in every respect: the students’ playing is wonderful and the programming is stellar. It was with great pride that Dr. Gilroy responded to Darling’s request and began to work on this short concert opener for the Percussion Ensemble’s special appearance at the state convention.

The main theme of this work is based on the first two pitches of Dr. Darling’s last name: “D” and “A”. The third note of this motif is “G,” the composer’s initial for both his first and last name. This motif, simple yet effective, is heard throughout the composition in several key areas. The work celebrates the friendship and mutual respect these two professors have enjoyed together for more than a decade.

The middle of the composition explores the idea of “muted” and “open” sounds from a variety of metallic percussion instruments. The effect is often heard from a triangle in a number of works but in this composition, the technical demands of the muted and open passages are rather extreme. It requires that a small stand is used to suspend the two triangles; one muted with duct tape and the other hanging freely to generate an open sound. The splash cymbal enters next with a new rhythm layering in until the hi-hat and gong each interrupt, 8 and 16 bars later respectively. After all of this muted and open playing creates a nice groove, some of the mallet percussion enters with a new middle section based on D minor blues scale. The xylophone and marimba players each take an 8 bar solo during this time

The blues section eventually gives way to another transition this time using a series of 4 graduated (piccolo, alto, tenor and bass) sets of sandpaper blocks (arranged stereophonically, please) to bring back the material from the first theme. The work closes with a driving push to the end accentuated by the whip among other percussion instruments.

Grade Level: 3
Copyright: 2008
Number of Players: 8
Duration: 3:30

Listen to Recordings

Sample PDF

  • littledna.pdf
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    Percussion 1 (4 timpani, gong, whip)
    Percussion 2 (bells, 2 triangles)
    Percussion 3 (xylophone, bass sandpaper blocks, suspended cymbal, whip)
    Percussion 4 (3-octave vibraphone, suspended cymbal)
    Percussion 5 (4-octave marimba, suspended cymbal)
    Percussion 6 (5-octave marimba, chimes, suspended cymbal, tenor sandpaper blocks)
    Percussion 7 (alto sandpaper blocks, bongos, China cymbal, very low floor tom, hi-hat, snare drum, suspended cymbal, ride cymbal, vibraslap, wind chimes)
    Percussion 8 (2 bass drums, China cymbal, gong, piccolo sandpaper blocks, sizzle cymbal, splash cymbal, suspended cymbal, tambourine, vibraslap, whip)