Almost Perpetual Torque was composed in the fall of 2012 upon the request of Dr. Susan Powell, professor and director of percussion studies at Ohio State University. The original premier performance was given at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in 2012. Dr. Powell is internationally recognized for her virtuosic musicianship on the xylophone. Though not a strict variation form, this composition does have a similar structure in that there are a series of variation like character studies for the xylophone that are accompanied by the vibraphone and marimba intertwined in patterns that seem to constantly spiral either upward or downward as if in a constant state of tension or “torque.”
This piece has finally reached a point of completion in the fall of 2018 largely due to the persistence of Dr. Gregory Beyer, professor and director of percussion at Northern Illinois University, who came to the 2012 premier performance and expressed sincere support for this work. His tremendously helpful advice both technically and musically, along with his assistance in bringing this composition to publication has been invaluable and is deeply appreciated by the composer.
The composition is written for a 4-octave xylophone. It is possible to perform this work on a 3-1/2 octave instrument with some octave shifts. Mallets should be chosen to allow for great clarity while also projecting a rich quality of timbre over the entire range. A softer orchestral mallet or a harder rubber mallet should be experimented with to choose the best option.