Dave Hollinden
Cold Pressed
  • multiple percussion solo, duration: 8 minutes
  • composed in 1990, revised 1994
  • commissioned by Nachiko Maekana
  • premiere: by Nachiko Maekana, Tokyo, Japan, 1990
  • select performances:
    • Amy Lynn Barber, Sachsisch Bohmisches Musik Festival, Dresden, Germany, 1999
    • Joseph Gramley, Concert Artist Guild Competition, Lincoln Center, NYC, NY, 1999
    • Adrian Spillett, BBC Young Musician of the Year, performances throughout England, 1998
    • Kanako Asada, Kunitachi College of Music, Tokyo, Japan, 1997
    • Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Atlanta, GA, 1994
Listen to Excerpt:
View the Score:

snare drum, two tom toms, bass drum with pedal, bongos, tambourine, three cowbells, two woodblocks, two temple blocks, two crotales, splash cymbal, crash cymbal, ride cymbal

Program Note:

The term "cold pressed" refers to the method of extracting olive oil which results in the most robust and full-bodied flavor. Syncopation, contrasting timbres and rock-influenced style are blended together in music which is vivid, spicy and obsessively persistent.

Notes on performing Cold Pressed::

(The following notes were derived from an email conversation with a student preparing Cold Pressed for his recital.)

First, choose your instruments carefully, and get the best sounding instruments possible. Pay attention to the tuning instructions when you are choosing the drums so as to ensure that you choose instruments of an appropriate size. This will help make sure that the drums sound good when they are tuned to the specified pitches.

Next, create your set up. Jan Williams made an interesting remark at PASIC 2005. He suggested that when he plays a multi-percussion piece, he creates the set up and then improvises on it until he knows it really well, essentially treating the set up as a single instrument. Then, after he has become familiar with this instrument, he learns the music on the set up.

Finally, when learning the music, pay particular attention to the phrasing as it is indicated. To my ear, the best performances of my music occur when the performers understand the phrasing and are able to bring it out in their playing such that each phrase is articulated.


This new addition to the multi-percussionists solo repertoire by Dave Hollinden is welcome literature for the college level player. The instruments required should be readily accessible to college performers: (see above).

There have been nearly as many notational schemes devised for writing music for the myriad configurations required in multiple percussion performance as there have been compositions written. Hollinden's work uses "timbre staff" notation, a clever system which takes advantage of the performer's familiarity of the bars of a keyboard-mallet instrument. In this approach, the instruments required in the piece are set up in the configuration of a large keyboard-mallet instrument. For example, the large tom tom in Hollinden's piece is positioned as if it were middle "C", the medium tom tom as "C#", the snare drum as "D", etc. Thus, the player reads a melodically notated part and can readily find the instruments in the configuration, but there is absolutely no correspondence between the notated and the sounding pitches. This approach to multi-percussion notation is the topic of Michael Udow's interesting article "Visual Correspondence Between Notational System and Instrument Configurations," found in the Percussionist, No. 18, (Winter, 1981).

The composer does, however, require some instrument tuning, although specific pitches are not required, as, for example, tuning the medium tom a perfect fifth below the snare drum, and choosing the lowest crotale so as to match the pitch of the snare drum.

Hollinden keeps his player busy, moving rapidly over the nineteen instruments in the set-up, except for a brief interlude where the tempo slows. The performance directions pencilled in reflect the spirit of the music: "pungent, vivid," "urgent, animated," "obsessive, persistent," "spirited, with swing," and "eager, anxious." If you need a dynamic work to close your recital, Cold Pressed may be just the piece you are looking for.

John R. Raush, Percussive Notes, June 1992

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