toccata for john roos arr. for tabla by florian schiertz
In 2007, Reddy wrote the solo piano piece toccata for john roos for the 11th International Piano Competition held at the University of South Africa, Pretoria, which took place in January 2008. The toccata epitomises Reddy’s compositional ‘principles of clazz’ as explained in his introductory notes to the score, which are reproduced in this new publication and available below. In the same year, Reddy’s great friend, the Indian tabla player, Florian Schiertz, arranged the work for tabla, taking this joyful, virtuoso score to a whole new level. As the sample on the right shows, they saw this already as a ‘tabla piece’ that could be played as a duet for piano and tabla or as a solo tabla piece.
The score presented here is notated as a duet, with the original piano solo on the top two staves. The third staff has what is to be performed on the tabla – on both drums, the dayna (RH) and baya (LH) – and the fourth staff has the bol parant, which literally means ‘speak bols’ or ‘speak tabla syllables’. Each note on the third and the fourth staves, therefore, is at one and the same time a certain stroke or one of a possible group of strokes on the tabla, and a syllable (dha, dhi, na, and so on). ‘Surendran asked me to accompany this beautiful piece and I thought how could that be possible?’, says Schiertz, ‘so many meter changes, and left hand and right hand performing different rhythms, contrapuntally, which is not done in traditional tabla playing: we learn just the syllables and how to play the syllables! So I had to put this accompaniment into western staff notation and compose simultaneously a line played on tabla and a line spoken only’.
The solution found by Schiertz for his ‘accompaniment’ is a very interesting example of crossover between Western classical and Indian classical music. His explanation of how he created the tabla part (‘Dha-Schlüssel’ or ‘Key to the strokes’), which sheds interesting light on the musical nuts and bolts of transitioning from one medium to another and one music culture to another, is shown below. Effectively, Schiertz used tabla syllables and strokes together with the variety of pitches possible on the two drums, to create an entirely new composition for Indian tabla. It was therefore logical for Schiertz to make a totally new solo tablapiece, for which he created an extraordinary handwritten score, which is also available below, and which he has recorded on a CD of Indian classical and crossover music. The track from this CD give below is only available to people with scholar access to this site.