Posted By : Jeff Moore
Piece Title : The Phantom Dances
No. of times Viewed (December 2018) :17
Total No. of times Viewed :807
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Dificulty Rating :
Level : Senior / Graduate
Composer / Arranger : Hennagin, Michael (1936-1993)
Composer / Arranger Details:

Composer of twentieth-century classical music Michael Hennagin was born in The Dalles, Oregon, on September 17, 1936. He studied at Los Angeles City College, at Philadelphia`s Curtis Institute of Music, graduating with a bachelor`s degree in 1963, and with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood. Hennagin also studied electronic music at Southern Illinois University in 1968. His teaching career began in public schools in the mid-1960s and continued at Kansas State Teachers College from 1966 to 1972.

He served as the University of Oklahoma`s composer-in-residence and professor of music theory and composition from 1972 to 1991. His work included music for chorus, piano, chamber orchestra, and band.  He composed in a variety of modern, rather than traditional, styles which places him in the company of other Oklahoma twentieth-century composers of "new music," including Ray Luke  of Oklahoma City University and Samuel Magrill of the University of Central Oklahoma. Like them, he was rewarded by having his music performed publicly in Oklahoma and also in national venues.

Hennagin`s compositions include the ballet The Barren Song (1968), the symphonic essay A Summer Overture (1963), the chamber piece Four Etudes for Clarinet Choir (1978), Dance Scene (1977), and Jubilee (1967), which remains a staple for college bands. Proud Music, a choral-orchestral work derived from a Walt Whitman poem, was composed in 1993 and performed that summer by the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute.

Ten times from 1976 through 1992 the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers accorded Hennagin its Annual Award recognizing the quality and performance record of original works by American composers. He was named Oklahoma Musician of the Year in 1975 and National Composer of the Year by the Music Teachers National Association in 1976. He also wrote scores for motion picture, television, and stage productions.


Total Number of Percussionists Required :10+ Percussionist(s)
Categories : Tuned Percussion / Percussion Ensemble
Instrument / Discipline : Large Percussion Ensemble
Instrumentation : 4 1/3 Octave Marimba (Low A) (x2) / Bongos (Set of) / Brake Drum (x2) / Castanets / Chimes / Claves / Cow Bell (x2) / Crash Cymbals / Crotales (Set of) / Field Drum (with snares) / Guiro / Maracas / Mark Tree / Medium Gong / Orchestra Bells / Piccolo Snare Drum / Roto-Toms (Set of) / Sandpaper Blocks / Slap Stick / Sleigh Bells / Slit Drum / Small Gong / Snare Drum (x3) / Suspended Cymbal (x2) / Tam-Tam / Tambourine / Tambourine (Headless) / Tom (x5) / Triangle / Vibra-Slap / Wood Block (x2) / Xylophone (x2)
Range of Instruments / Number of Drums : NA
Written for / Commissioned by : OU Percussion Ensemble
Permission given for Youtube video by Copyright holder
and Youtube Channel Owner. Recorded / Provided by:
 OU Percussion Press
Accompanied :N/A
Publisher :OU Percussion Press
Publishers Website
Publisher Details :

In 1977 the OU Percussion Orchestra and Ensemble embarked on a project that developed into a national model for the encouragement and development of new music for percussion ensemble.  The OU Percussion Ensemble Commissioning Series regularly engages outstanding composers to write works for this medium.  The Commissioning Series is responsible for the creation of some of today`s staples in the percussion ensemble repertoire.

     In 1983 the University of Oklahoma funded the establishment of the OU Percussion Press, a non-profit extension of the percussion area. Through the Percussion Press, the commissioning series compositions plus other works expressly written for the OU Percussion Orchestra and Ensembles have been made available for purchase and performance by the world`s leading percussion ensembles. The Percussion Press` catalog numbers more than 50 works, all published in a non-profit venture as a service to the profession.

Year Composed / Copyright Date :1990 /  1990
Duration :11Minutes
No. of Mallets/Sticks Required :2
Special Needs :NA
Sheet Music Available From      Check to see if in stock
Programme Notes / Performance Details :

Hast never come to thee an hour,

A suddent gleam...

(A Phantom,)


bursting all these bubbles,

fashions, wealth,

these eager business aims -

( a phantom -

feeding on the strife, the ceaseless ambition -


books, politics, art, amours -

Hast never come to thee an hour,

( At work, at play, at home, on the street,

on a stage - )

A sudden gleam...

(a phantom - dancing, gliding, rising,

and softly whispering )


("Why?" - )

bursting all these bubbles,

( While playing , the play,

speaking the lines,

beating the drum,

incessant, structured, disciplines, mechanical -

racked by the strife, the ceaseless ambition,

hast never come to thee

a secret moment when you embrace, and dance with the phantom )

to utter nothingness?

(in silence.)


-Walt Whitman

Words in (italics) are the composer`s annotations

H. M. = Hard Mallet

M. M. = Medium Mallet

S. M. = Soft Mallet

(Motor On) and (Motor Off), in parentheses, are only a reminder of the previous motor setting for the vibraphones.

 "phantom" gestures rhytmically executed in silence at whatever instrument and with whatever mallets are currently being employed, or will be employed  for the audible portion of the score at that moment. These gestures should not be dramatically overstated, but should rather be visually deceptive by "blending" in with the audible gestures and witht he same intensity and spirit of the moment. 

audible rhythmic figures executed with the mallets (stick sounds only) that are currently being employed or will be emploed in the score at that moment. These mallets and sticks are indicated as "phantom" stick clicks. The indicated rhythms should be struck with the same intensity and spirit of the moment.

These "phantom" parts of the score always appear in the space above the fifth line of the staff with the stems up. Structurally, the rhythmic materials are portions of the audible materials of the score, but in reverse order: a simultaneous formal palindrome.

It is suggested that perhaps the audible score be thoroughly rehearsed first, disregarding the "phantom" parts. These parts should then fall easily into place.

All accents should be carefully observed and aurally clear so as to clarify the sturcture and the cross-rhythms employed in the work.

The "FREEZE" indicated at the conclusion of the work should be given a dramatic fermata for both the performers and the conductor, delaying an audience response. The effect should be that of "stopping a moment in time" as if the activity is still going.

A knowledge of the formal design of the work may be helpful:

 1.) The work is based on a series of two-phrase  segments. The first phrase ends with a 2 + 3 pattern. The second phrase ends with a 2 + 2 + 3 beat pattern.

2.) Each segment is repeated a number of times. It is important to note that the phrase lengths are structured in numbers of beats, and do not becessarily represent melodic, rhythmic, or harmonic repetitions.

3.) As the piece progresses, the phrases become shorter in length, and the number of repititions of the two-phrase segments are lessened. However, the ending of the phrases (the 2 + 3 and the 2 + 2+ 3 punctuations) remain the same- a kind of incessant time-keeping.

4.) This entire formal design is superimposed "backwards" simultaneously with the "forward" version. It is paced in a 4/4 metrical setting only for convenience; thus the accents clarify the formal rhythmic structures. Rehearsal marks indicate the main sections of the "forward" version.

5.) The effect should be that of a tightening and diminishing (not in volume or activity, but in length) aural experience, and an emerging and increasing visual experience as the phantom "rises, and dances" with the performers while the "play goes on" - finally in silence.




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