Composer Robert Sanderl describes Not In Jest as a nod to Armenian jazz pianist Tigran Hamasyan. Tigran’s music is known for its progressive harmonies and brain-melting syncopation, fused seamlessly with his strong influence in Southwest Asian/Middle Eastern folk music. The result is a work for advanced percussion duo that showcases a strong pulse, tangible harmonies, and infectious rhythms.
Much of the piece revolves around the interaction between the players, with hocketing being a recurring compositional device throughout. Each person mainly plays on a marimba, with an extended multipercussion setup including kick drum and hi-hats creating a hard-driving groove. The work is specifically inspired by the Hamasyan tune “The Court Jester,” characterized by highly creative chord progressions and impressive metric displacement. Any pair of capable percussionists will enjoy learning this piece for recitals, contests, or just sheer fun!