for solo marimba
BUY Khan Variations
listen to Khan Variations
Total duration: approx. 10'

"For some years I have listened to the Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He was perhaps the greatest exponent of Qawwali, the music of the sufi mistics. This music in general, and Ali Khan’s singing in particular, are characterised by remarkable rhythmic and melismatic subtlety.
The Kahn variations are a set of 8 rhythmic variations based on a traditional theme from Qawwali music as sang by Ali Kahn. The basic pulse and ‘feel’ of the music has lingered in my mind ever since I first heard the recording in the early 90’s. I developed each of the 8 variations -which are played as a continuous piece- exploring a different rhythmic and melodic aspect of the original theme. However, from the harmonic point of view the piece is rather static, respecting the lack or harmony -in the western sense- of the original traditional theme.
As I look at the score now, I can recognise a range of influences from Conlon Nancarrow, tango music, and my own previous pieces for marimba. All these influences have one thing in comon: the articulation of pulse, or multiple simultaneous pulses to create a dramatic musical discourse."

Khan Variations was jointly commissioned by Bogdan Bacanu, Michael Burritt, Ricardo Gallardo, Eduardo Leandro, Nanae Mimura, William Moersch, Peter Prommel, Gordon Stout, Jack Van Geem, Robert Van Sice, Nancy Zeltsman and Alan Zimmerman, with the assistance of New Music Marimba. Nancy Zeltsman was the "Project Organiser"

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Khan Variations: Wikipedia article

‘The Khan Variations for solo marimba by Alejandro Viñao: musical analysis and performance practice’, J.F. Roberts, Dissertation prepared for the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts, University of North Texas, May 2010.(download)