Is "ding ding ding" really an enhancement?
October 22, 2015 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend music which would be noticeably worse off without a triangle. I have attended the symphony eight times per year for the past five years, and I've only been thoroughly annoyed by the triangle once*, but I'd like to develop appreciation rather than tolerance and befuddlement.

I have no musical training other than the typical middle school band experience and would be very curious to hear from musicians.

I have Naxos and Spotify for listening purposes.

*Philip Glass - Violin Concerto 2, not helped by having cheaper seats in line with the percussion section.
posted by esoterrica to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
The third movement of Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 has a very prominent/important triangle part.
posted by charmedimsure at 2:59 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

What a great question.

The Primo vere section of Carmina Burana has lots of important triangle I think, especially in the first part of that section "Veris leta facies," later on Orff goes for glockenspiel instead.
posted by Jahaza at 3:09 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This is a great question. I think the triangle is a good example of a highlight, in an analogical way to using white in paintings: you only ever use a tiny dab here and there or the effect is ruined. This is hard to see in a huge painting like a symphony, but contemporary music can be stripped down enough to let those bright tings really shine and work for their supper.

It works well in situations that need an undercurrent of delicateness. Alexandre Desplat's score to the film Birth comes immediately to mind, especially in the prologue.

On that same note, it can be used as a compnent in a built-up rhythm. It's not always easy to discern in the din of competing tones, but there's a good example you can hear being layered in, hugely amplified, in Aphex Twin's gorgeous remix of the Gentle People track Journey.

It's sometimes a great cue for parody or satire, like this amazing moment in SSION's Street Jizz (a few seconds after the linked moment).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:25 PM on October 22, 2015 [6 favorites]

Triangle is an essential part of the percussion in Forró . Which you can think of as sort of Brazilian old time country music.

posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:38 PM on October 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

I immediately thought of the Crystals song "He Hit Me And It Felt Like A Kiss". The triangle stands out in the quiet parts, and I can't imagine the song without it.
posted by kendrak at 3:46 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Triangle (aka ti' fer) is the traditional accompaniment to Cajun fiddle. Here's a good example.
posted by mr vino at 3:48 PM on October 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

Not sure if this is what you're looking for but

Casual - Be Thousand

Cornelius - Omstart

Pretty sure these are triangles but they could be some other chimey ding ding thing.
posted by Hoopo at 4:07 PM on October 22, 2015

Stars and Stripes Forever wouldn't be the same without it, for sure.
posted by Dashy at 4:14 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Though I just noticed that that is a big band swing arrangement of the march.
posted by Jahaza at 4:46 PM on October 22, 2015

Here is some triangle love, courtesy of Ed Grimley. Apologies for the low resolution.
posted by carmicha at 4:50 PM on October 22, 2015

Apologies for not answering your question, not old-school classical, and not exactly a triangle, but if you're still here there's a piece of music where the ding-ding is part of the concept: Laurie Anderson's Gravity's Angel. I think she's making a vague reference to Japanese Court Music here, and that's another discussion...
posted by ovvl at 6:15 PM on October 22, 2015

Best answer: Holst's Jupiter. Jolly!
You can see where the triangle comes in with this video.

posted by herrdoktor at 6:21 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not really "ding ding ding", but I love the triangle roll at the end of the Finale in Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. Here's a video with some nice shots of the triangle player: dingledingledingle!
posted by fussbudget at 6:25 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's a triangle in the little military march during the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth starting here around 9:44.

With the high drama that precedes, the contrast of this section can be quite funny. I seriously had no idea how hilarious classical music could be until hearing this performed a few years ago. And, of course, the resulting contrast makes the ensuing finale that much richer.
posted by suprenant at 6:48 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like the random little ping at the end of Radiohead's The Tourist, the last song on OK Computer.
posted by three_red_balloons at 7:41 PM on October 22, 2015

The Nutcracker!
Without the triangle there is no magic!
posted by littlewater at 8:21 PM on October 22, 2015

Agreed -- for example, the March of the Flowers. Plus Sleeping Beauty, also by Tchaikovsky. It's short, but try The Silver Fairy -- I think it employs two triangles, an octave apart.
posted by Rash at 10:59 PM on October 22, 2015

Brahms made good use of the triangle. One of the middle movements of the fourth symphony, and the variations on the St Anthony Chorale, are good places to start.
posted by altolinguistic at 1:10 AM on October 23, 2015

Lots of Gilbert and Sullivan, especially the overture of Iolanthe and the strain of "If We're Weak Enough to Tarry."
posted by Melismata at 7:21 AM on October 23, 2015

I couldn't tell you if it is an actual triangle or a bell of some kind, but Happy by Velvet Hammer employs a prominent "ding!" every few bars, and the song would not be the same without it.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 7:26 AM on October 23, 2015

Best answer: I was a percussion major for awhile in college. During one concert, I played mostly timpani and had some great solo parts. But there was one piece in which I had to play triangle. After the concert was over, some of the older percussion majors and the percussion professor came up to me and praised my timpani playing. Then one guy said, "but your triangle playing needs work," and everyone nodded in agreement.

To this day, I still don't know the difference between good triangle playing and bad triangle playing. I quit being a music major sophomore year, so maybe this is something they teach you as an upperclassman.

All of this is just to say that, there's at least one (former) percussionist out there who doesn't really care for the triangle.
posted by crLLC at 7:41 AM on October 23, 2015 [6 favorites]

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