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Sound Carpets

A sound carpet is a texture of simultaneously performed ostinatos.  Ostinati can be body percussion, unpitched percussion, bar percussion, band instruments, the strings of a piano, classroom objects, and even vocal sound effects.

The analogy is to a carpet whose warp and weft entwine.  
Rule #1: Slow and Stead beat is the warp and weft
Use bass timbres for this.  Ostinato patterns can be composed or improvised.

On top of the warp and weft, you add the pattern of the rug.  One way you do this in a real rug is to latch hook.  A young person explains how to do this above.  
Rule #2: Increase speed as Timbre Rises
  • Choose foot stomps, bass bars, large drums, bass xylophones, and large found objects for the warp and weft.
  • Add the next biggest instruments which will play at faster speed.
  • Add the highest pitched instruments at the fastest speed
  • Add color or sound effect instruments last
You can meld different carpets together as the class at the top of this post did.  All the class needs to do is agree on which carpets will be melded and what the sign is for transition.  In this case, a whistle.  


Mel said…
This is brilliant! I would love to do this with my class. Are there any resources available to guide me with this?
Suzanne G. said…
Start with a pentatonic scale (do, re, mi, so, la). Virtually anything you do using those notes will sound well together.

You need rhythm. Do it vocally. I did a carpet on "Infomercials". The bassline was "Sham-wow, sham-wow, sham-wow", then we added "Only 19.95!" and so on. We transferred our vocal carpet to body percussion then the body percussion to instruments.

My best advice to you is to contact an Orff master teacher in your area and do a professional day with them. Let them know that you need help doing sound carpets. They will be happy to oblige you.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes

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