Advanced Marimba Solo
by Alex Stopa
Instrumentation: Marimba — 5-octave
Pale Blue Dot by Alex Stopa is an advanced level four-mallet marimba solo based on the imagery of Earth taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft. Shot from four billion miles away, the photograph shows our home planet, Earth, as a tiny point of pale blue light, barely visible in the enormity of space. Stopa notes that the image is at once humbling and awe-inspiring, highlighting the fleeting nature of human existence. The piece draws its emotional thread from a quote by American astronomer Carl Sagan that accompanied the photo. Sagan’s message stressed the importance of compassion and preservation of our planet.
Pale Blue Dot is a thought-provoking marimba solo that offers the performer unique musical and technical challenges. Repeated sextuplets flutter across the instrument creating a weightless and sparkling effect throughout the work. These patterns are encouraged to be performed in the same manner as a chorale with consideration toward melody, harmonic motion, and voice leading. The performer can play these figures in both triple lateral or single alternating sticking combinations.
Pale Blue Dot ships as a printed, professionally bound score and includes individual parts in PDF format for printing or tablet viewing.