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Gamma Decay

2018 - Concert Band

Gamma Decay is a process where unstable atoms release gamma rays from the nucleus. Gamma rays are very high energy waves which act like x-rays, piercing almost any substance. This piece was inspired by the idea of these gamma rays emanating from an unstable element. When writing this piece, I wanted to include elements not often found in music of this difficulty. There is an emphasis on texture as opposed to melody, and what melodic material does exist is based on a limited set of pitches. This can help introduce developing ensembles to musical elements which are common in contemporary music. Even so, there are still loud and exciting moments which will be fun to play, with a multitude of percussion parts.

Gamma Decay was commissioned by the Linn-Mar High School Symphony Band, director Jennifer Tiede. The band is mostly 9th and 10th graders. The work premiered on May 16, 2019. Read more about this piece at this news article on the Cornell College website.

Concert Band Instrumentation:

  • Fl., Ob., Bsn., 2 Cl., Bcl. Asx., Tsx., Bsx., 

  • 2 Tpt., 2 Hn., Tbn., Bari T.C./B.C., Tub.,

  • Timp., Perc 1 (S.D.), Perc 2 (Tom, Anvil/Brake Drum), Perc 3 (Tam-tam, B.D.), Perc 4 (Mar., Glock.), Perc 5 (Susp. Cym., Vib.)

Time: 4:00-5:00

Grade 3 (Medium-Easy)

Premiere Date: May 16, 2019

Perusal Score

Gamma Decay: List
Gamma Decay: Listen
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