The Suite for Beatbox Flute by Azeem Ward
The Suite for Beatbox Flute is a three-movement work that features the sounds of beatbox and flute. The work was inspired by baroque techniques, the grooves of James Brown, and the flute beatboxer, Greg Pattillo. Some of the baroque techniques were particularly inspired by composers like J.S. Bach and Marin Marias. Although the piece is named The Suite for Beatbox Flute, the second movement (Romano) does not contain any beatbox effects. Instead, it serves as a contrast to the outer movements (Pursuit and Rockside!) and features melodious phrases that are freely structured.
When preparing The Suite for Beatbox Flute, a beneficial method is to learn the beatbox effects and flute melody separate from each other. Once sufficiently learned, add the two elements together. The beatbox movements have repetitive phrases throughout, so once you learn a main theme then you are well on your way to getting a nice grasp on the piece.
This piece was originally premiered at a recital. However, it works well in all settings to the street, stage, or even home. If you plan to amplify your flute, then remember to rehearse with your sound equipment because the beatbox effects may sound different through a mic.
Beatboxing is originally an imitative art form. Many of the sounds in this piece are meant to mimic a drum set. A helpful practice is to beatbox without the flute to one’s favorite commercial songs. In general, don’t forget to add your own character to the piece, for how fun would it be to have some movements without any flavor?
Special Thanks to Greg Pattillo, Christina Esser, and the Faculty at the University of Northern Iowa for their support and wisdom on this project.