Flotsam & Jetsam

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John Herndon

General Info

Year of Published: 2021
Publisher: Tapspace Publications
Difficulty: Elementary
Duration: 00:02:20


This piece offers flexibility in both instrumentation and number of performers. It is recommended that the piece be performed on found percussion instruments like buckets, pails, trash cans or bell plates. However, traditional percussion instruments like Snare Drum, Tom-toms, Woodblock or Cowbells may be used. Whether you are using found or traditional instruments, they should be graduated so that Player 1 was the highest pitched instrument and Player 4 has the lowest pitched instrument.

Ensemble 1

Player 1: Brake Drum
Player 2: Metal Bucket
Player 3: Plastic Bucket
Player 4: Large Trask Can

Ensemble 2

Player 1: Tambourine
Player 2: Castanets
Player 3: Woodblock
Player 4: Djembe

Ensemble 3

Player 1: Hi-hat
Player 2: Snare Drum
Player 3: Tom-tom
Player 4: Bass Drum


John Herndon's flexible ensemble piece Flotsam & Jetsam was inspired by maritime jargon, referring to items lost or discarded from onboard a ship. As such, it is recommended that the piece be performed on found instruments like brake drums, buckets, pails, trash cans, or anything that can be struck with stick. Alternately, Flotsam & Jetsam can be performed on more traditional percussion instruments like snare drums, toms, woodblocks, or cowbells, so long as the instruments are graduated among the performers. To add to the accessibility, the piece may also be expanded to fit the size of any performing ensemble. This piece is a great vehicle for training basic rhythms and technique in a colorful and entertaining way.

Recent Performance

Works for Percussion by this Composer

Again (Herndon) - Percussion Ensemble 12 players
Begin Transmission - Percussion Ensemble 13 players
Close Your Eyes and Dream - Percussion Ensemble 6-8 players
Flotsam & Jetsam - Percussion Quartet 4+ players
Great and Small - Mallet Percussion, optional audio accompaniment.
Guac is Extra - Percussion Quartet
Jalopy - Percussion Octet
Mutiny! - Percussion Ensemble 12 players
Rivers Sun - Percussion Ensemble 12 players
Sic Semper Draconis - Percussion Ensemble 12 players
Standard Candles - Percussion Sextet
Toboggan - Percussion Ensemble