Smoothing the Pillow of Dying Race

2019-08-27T20:38:22Z (GMT) by Cat Hope
for 12 cymbals ( four players)
Comissioned by Synergy Percussion as part of thier 40 x 40 project.

To quell the violence on the frontiers of early Australia, to reduce devastation by disease and to provide Aborigines with a ‘humane’ environment while their race died out, colonial governments introduced systems of ‘protective’ legislation. The first was in 1860 in South Australia, where a Chief Protector was appointed to watch over the interests of Aboriginal people and to ‘smooth the dying pillow’. Similar legislation was passed in Victoria (1869), Queensland (1897), Western Australia (1905) and New South Wales (1909). These laws were a way of ‘protecting’ Aborigines from violence on the frontier. By designating territory for Aborigines, it was hoped that the conflict between settlers and Aborigines over land would stop and that Aborigines would use the settlement land to farm and become self-sufficient, thus improving their ‘destitute’ state and reducing their reliance on the government for rations. This peice was inspired by a recent evidencing of racism in Australia, and features text in the background which has been taken from documents in the National Library of Australia. A digital or hard copy of the score is available from Material Press.

To perform this work, you can download the video to the left and use that as the score, or download the iPad app, the Decibel ScorePlayer which has many more features such as the ability to network multiple iPads (one for each member in the ensemble if desired), change the speed, move around for rehearsal etc. Performer instructions for the piece are in the score file, or can be read here if used with the video score on this page, another option for performance without iPads.

Each player is assigned a colour. A smooth flat line indicates a soft
dynamic, and the widening of the line means getting louder. Use a bow to play the cymbal and try as where possible to make the bow change inaudible. A ‘dot’ at the end or start of a line means to articulate the start or end in some strong way, if there is no dot you should ease in at the start and let the cymbal ring out at the end.
Floating ‘dots’ are soft cymbal strikes that can ring out (i.e.do not
require dampening). These can be on the cymbals being bowed, or on others - which could be crotales or any other type of ‘cymbal like’ instrument