Diamond Tide

Duration: 8′ [two movements: 3′ + 5′]
For Wind Band (Grade 3.5)
Commissioned by the TMEA Region 18 Middle School Bands led by Cheryl Floyd.

  • Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes (2=optional), 2 Bassoons (2=optional), 3 Bb Clarinets, Bass Clarinet, 2 Alto Saxophones, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
  • 3 Bb Trumpets, 4 Horns, 3 Trombones, Euphonium Tuba
  • 6 Percussion:
    • Crotales (D, Ab, & Bb), bass drum, tam-tam (shared), crystal glass (C), sizzle cymbal, wind chimes
    • Crotales (low C, G, F#, & B), china cymbal, crash cymbal, crystal glass (G), tom-toms (2)
    • Crotales (high C, F), triangle (mounted), crystal glass (Eb), suspended cymbal (shared with 4), tam-tam (shared with 1)
    • Vibraphone, suspended cymbal, flexatone (shared)
    • Glockenspiel, marimba, flexatone (shared with 4)
    • Timpani, chimes
Program Note

A 2010 article published in Nature Physics details an experiment in which scientists were able to successfully melt a diamond and, for the first time, measure the temperature and pressure necessary to do so. When diamonds are heated to very high temperatures, they don’t melt; they simply turn into graphite, which then melts (and the thought of liquid graphite isn’t nearly as appealing or beautiful as liquid diamond.) Therefore, the addition of extremely high pressure—40 million times the pressure we feel on Earth at sea level—is crucial to melt a diamond.

The extreme temperature and pressure used in this experiment are found Neptune and Uranus, and scientists therefore believe that seas of liquid diamond are possible on these two planets. Oceans of diamond may also account for these planets’ peculiar magnetic and geographic poles, which do not line up like they do here on Earth. Lastly, as the scientists were melting the diamonds, they saw floating shards of solid diamond forming in the pools—just like icebergs in our oceans. Imagine: distant planets with oceans of liquid diamond filled with bergs of sparkling solid diamonds drifting in the tide…

These theories are obviously all conjecture, but this alluring imagery provided heaps of inspiration for Diamond Tide, which utilizes the “melting” sounds of metallic water percussion and trombone glissandi throughout.

The work is in two movements, which can be performed separately.

Heartfelt thanks to Cheryl Floyd, Richard Floyd, the TMEA Region 18 bands, and John Mackey for making this piece possible.

May 25, 2016 at 5:30 pm. Hill Country Middle School Symphonic Band, Cheryl Floyd, conductor
May 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm. Wallace Middle School Wind Ensemble, James Malik, conductor

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