Aaaaannnnnnndddddddd we're back with more marching band music!
This is a show that I wrote last summer for a smaller competitive marching band in the metro-Detroit area. The ensemble is a little on the younger side, so I had to take a few things into consideration when putting the show together.
One of the things I talk about with my clients whether I'm arranging a show or composing a show is determining the strengths and weaknesses of the group. What can they do that other groups can't? I'll get into why this is important for this show a little later on.
The show follows a very basic concept outlining a day at the factory. Since the group had an astonishingly small color guard, I wrote sections of the show where portions of the ensemble could move to flag to help beef up the visual presentation a bit. With them being a younger ensemble, I chose to make all but one impact of the show more rhythmic based as opposed to volume based. A smaller and younger band will have a hard time competing with other stronger bands in the "holding loud and long chords" department. Aside from the ballad, the impacts are about the rhythm.
This show was written in Finale and utilizes GPO, JABB, and CAMB sounds exclusively aside from the bass guitar in the second movement. For those of you who have followed my previous threads, you will probably be pleased to know that I have continued to tweak the production aspects of my mp3s.
The opening originally didn't have clarinets or flutes as they were involved with a lunch box visual statement. The trumpets establish one of the main themes of the show while the saxes establish the other. These two themes pretty much make up the basis for most of the melodic material of the show. Hopefully a "mechanical" feeling of a machine powering through the job comes across. http://trimpe.org/samples/Industry1.mp3
2) The Daily Grind
The cowbell is supposed to be an anvil. On one of the props, two flute players set down their instruments and pick up large sledgehammer props and pretend to be going back and forth pounding down. The anvil is played in the pit. Think Holst ala "The Blacksmith". The bass player is on a wireless and moves to the side of the pit to start rocking out. As each group enters, they start to move and connect to the form. If you go to my site, you can see the drill animate to better understand what's going on visually with the music. The middle features a tenor sax solo. Fun fact: I came up with the idea for this song in the shower! http://trimpe.org/samples/Industry2.mp3
3) Lunch Hour
Originally, aside from the intro, only the brass played while the woodwinds picked up giant swing flags for the big impact. This was to help beef up the only "big whole note" impact of the show. An old conductor's trick, sometimes if the group isn't able to play it as big as you want, you need to make it look bigger than it is. I have since gone back and rescored it to add the woodwinds in for any resale the show will hopefully enjoy. The original group had 2 very talented flute players, so the ballad was essentially written to show off these players. This may be one of my favourite ballads I have written to date. http://trimpe.org/samples/Industry3.mp3
4) End of the Line
The closer brings back themes from the entire work while adding in one new one. The silent gap you hear after the opening impact is really a larger battery solo, however I do not write battery parts. This is the big push to the end of the day, pushing all the way to the last note. http://trimpe.org/samples/Industry4.mp3
I'm rather pleased with this show, it turned out way better than I originally anticipated it would. It looks as if I will be able to resell this show to a couple groups this fall, and I'm also in talks to sell it to a larger company for more substantial publication than I am able to do with my own tiny little company.
Sounds great - aurally and visually (checked out the drill on your site). These sorts of shows work will for marching bands - the best show I have seen was one this past season where a small Georgia high school did a show called "Under Construction" because their school was being remodelled - they pieced it together using existing songs, but with original drill - songs like Sledgehammer, Workin in a Coal Mine, and the Sabre Dance. Amazing pit playing on the mallets - unbelievable that high school kids could play like that, and they all rotated instruments, sometimes in the middle of passages, so they all had to be able to play it. They all wore neon yellow construction vests instead of uniforms and the flags/dance team dressed in white painters jump suits that were splashed with different colors of paint. Wonderful show. Nearly flawless. But the concept worked great. Your "Industry" show made me think of it...
Last edited by ALynn; 02-05-2008 at 01:40 PM.
Reason: Eye kant speel gud
Excellent band writing. I agree with jjloving about this type of show. I was the arranger for the U of Alabama marching band from 1955 to 1973 and we did not dare do shows of this nature. Creative original material was not "appreciated" by the football fans of the area. We did drills to the standard marches and stick figure picture shows to some current pop tunes but mainly the Broadway shows. We could have a very long discussion about the pro's and con's of marching bands and the influences on them today.
I was the arranger for the U of Alabama marching band from 1955 to 1973 and we did not dare do shows of this nature.
I have great admiration and appreciation for the work people like you did. I'm fortunate that I have also been able to write for the marching bands of Michigan State and the University of Illinois for the last decade. While both groups like to push forward and try new things, they both also enjoy the nod towards their tradition and history.
One of my first "jobs" for Michigan State was to go back through lots of the old manuscript and enter them into the computer, clean up the parts, fix wrong notes, etc. I've been spoiled in that I started arranging music right when Finale 1.0 came on the market, so I have not had to really deal with working by hand. I'm not sure I would have been able to do as much work without the benefit of technology to aid in the "instant gratification" with music and drill.
Now as for drill, I still have the light board around here somewhere...
Very nice writing for band. I can appreciate its difficult as I write for concert band when time and opportunity permits. I am listening to Industry as I am writing this. U of M and U of I are pretty top end marching bands. You are lucky to be able to write for such fine organizations.
NICE! This is so great to have you back with more of your Excellent marching band material.
I find the whole concept for this set to a really good one, "Industry," with the moods ranging from mechanical to lyrical.
Really really good stuff--And as all your marching band posts have been,--educational for me. I hadn't realized before that we'd gone so far from the old restricted styles which people like Sos are recalling on this thread.
You had a Cow Bell standing in for the Anvil - I bet you could find a good Anvil Sound Font on line, and those are easy to work into a project. It'd be worth a search.
AND - you Definitely have upped the quality of your recordings. This sounded just Great to me, with sufficient reverb, good solid volume, excellent mix.
You bring up an interesting point concerning arranging with the computer. Long before I ever touched a computer keyboard I had special score paper made up (ca. 14"x22") and I used to joke that I didn't write by the measure, instead I wrote by the pound. When I stopped writing for the marching band I had written ca. 2200 different scores. I discovered a problem when I switched to writing for the jazz ensemble in that it dawned on me that I couldn't remember when I had written the "bridge" to a tune. As an example, for one Orange Bowl show the band did 19 different tunes in 6.+ minutes, so there never was time for a bridge.
I have been asked if I would have liked to have had a computer while going through this period and I have mixed emotions. I learned to write first and then learned how to use a computer so I used the computer, it didn't use me. In many cases I could write faster with pencil and paper but proof reading was a terribly slow, tedious task.
Extracted individual parts, if left to the computer, would be a disaster, but probably no worse to read than those purple dittoes copied by future doctors, playing trombone in the band.
This was when the football team played a 10 game season and we went to every game with a NEW or practically new show everyweek.
I apologize for turning this into a "requiem for football days gone by." It was a great teaching and learning experience but like scarlet fever, I don't want to go through it again.
It's music that will get and keep a person's attention in that environment.
I think if I was stuck on a desert island and had one choice of what I could listen to I think I would go with JPS but new music is good music.
My high school band instructor wrote a march back in the mid sixties. As I remember it was based somewhat on bebop jazz structure. I thought it was pretty difficult, weird music. Maybe he was ahead of his time.