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Topic: A Modest Traditional COMB March With a History: High and Dry

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  1. #1

    A Modest Traditional COMB March With a History: High and Dry

    oh, NO..it's Snorlax again

    Here is a traditional, old-school march with a bit of a back story...please enjoy!

    All three of you who have been following "The Snorlax Saga" on trash TV know that a flood wrought some major havoc with my basement a bit over four years ago.

    We spent a lot of time walking up and down the stairs to the basement as we struggled to salvage books, scores, instruments, pictures, treadmills, etc.

    As people were going up and down the stairs, and passing boxes up and down, they found a rhythm of sorts that suggested a 6/8 march tune to me.

    When work was done a few days later and the basement was 100% emptied, I wrote the tune down, completed it, and decided to call it "High and Dry."

    A word about the obbligatos that you hear on the repeated strains--I improvised them on the euphonium as I played the arrangement in Overture, then wrote them out. I decided to put two of them in the flute part because I didn't want the euphonium to hog up ALL the good bits and wanted to change up the texture/range somewhat. The last one is shared by flute and euphonium the second time. It kinda has an Irish 6/8 feel to it.

    The tune, I think, is very happy and upbeat...definitely a compensation for the distress...when life gets crappy, write a tune that's happy . It's very much in the old march tradition in harmony and structure.

    All Kontakt 2 COMB: Flute, 4 clarinets, cornet (open & muted), 4 mellophones, EUPHONIUM, tuba, percussion.

    John Philip Snorsa
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  2. #2

    Re: A Modest Traditional COMB March With a History: High and Dry

    "John Philip Snorsa" indeed!

    Now that my wife and I have taken off our band uniform caps and mopped our brows, we gotta say Thanks for the good work out!

    What a great story - the genesis of this superbly crafted, old fashioned march. What an amazingly positive capper you put on that otherwise pretty grim chapter. That's one for the self improvement, inspirational literature industry!

    The piece sounds great - it Is great!

    Randy

  3. #3
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Re: A Modest Traditional COMB March With a History: High and Dry

    Hi Snor ...

    I was going to work my way back up through your other postings on the front page, but this one was just too great to not comment on first ... I LOVED this! I'm so glad you're back on a fairly regular basis to represent several musical niches that have been sorely missing this year.

    I know you are a brass man, but your writing for reeds is the best! You really exploit all their charm and playfulness; just so perfect. I also like the various ensembles you put together; I really enjoy when writers don't use the exact same instrumentation for every piece.

    I don't remember what the names are for the various sections in the classic march form (I saw them at this site once), but I'll just call them A-B-A-B etc ... when you went to the "B" sections (@ 1:05 and 2:10), I just loved the change in mood and color.

    The fact that you put all this together right after the trauma you and your family had just gone through, is testimony to the human spirit and how music can help lift any occasion or mood to heavenly heights.

    "High and Dry" is downloaded and ready for my next vacation's music CD ... only 50 weeks or so to go!

    What an exhilarating piece of music, Jim! Thanks for sharing this chestnut with us.

    Frank

    After I peeked at your other two posts, I have some Euphonium questions for you (plus one I'll cut and paste from an older thread in General Discussion (Raymond's "Horns,horns ..." I think ... I have to find it first myself!). I'll hopefully get it all formulated tomorrow and ask when I comment on those other pieces you posted while I was down the shore.

  4. #4

    Re: A Modest Traditional COMB March With a History: High and Dry

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    "John Philip Snorsa" indeed!

    Now that my wife and I have taken off our band uniform caps and mopped our brows, we gotta say Thanks for the good work out!

    What a great story - the genesis of this superbly crafted, old fashioned march. What an amazingly positive capper you put on that otherwise pretty grim chapter. That's one for the self improvement, inspirational literature industry!

    The piece sounds great - it Is great!

    Randy
    Thanks, Randy...I try...I'm glad you and your spousal unit got your excercise in! If you are really interested in fitness, try marching tommorrow with a sousaphone on your shoulder. Maybe my next one can be "The Thighbuster March."

    I keep dredging these ancient things up...maybe I better rest for a while, do some more listening here, and work on projects I'm going to need for my "real" playing that's coming up.

    I have a 20-minute concerto to work on & memorize for an upcoming performance.

    Anyway, I'm glad you went with this "Summerfest" idea; it's been a bit of an encouragement for me to get some of my little Garritan tunes out, but more importantly, it got me to repost the live stuff for a new generation of forum members to hear so they can become familiar with the euphonium.

    Snor
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  5. #5

    Re: A Modest Traditional COMB March With a History: High and Dry

    Frank,
    You are most generous with your praise! I appreciate it!!

    Yes, though I am a brass player, I just LOVE the woodwinds in GPO, COMB, and JABB. That's also a way for me to learn how to write for those instruments. Strings will be next on the list for me.

    We have indeed had every sort of music imaginable, including marvelous Broadway overtures, but rather few old-school marches. Few school bands play them any more & they are beginning to become a bit of a lost art, so I filled the void... kinda like a musical buggy-whip.

    You picked up perfectly that a march has several sections, and not all of them have to be loud. In fact, the trio section (change of key) is supposed to be a contrast and should be played quietly.

    In fact, the printed parts for traditional marches NEVER reflected how they were actually played by the great bands of the day. The great bands had instruments drop in and out at the right time, and did a lot with dynamics, especially at the trio, and then let it all hang out at the end--last strain tutti and ff!!

    Where'd you go in Jersey? Seaside Heights? Lavallette? I think we hit both of those when I lived in Flushing and North Jersey--been so long ago, I can't remember. Jersey seemed like a cow pasture to us inner-city kids.

    As to any euphonium questions you have, BRING 'EM ON!! I told Michel (QcCowboy) that I'd be glad to answer any & all questions relating to the instrument. You can also check out the live things I linked to, and snoop around the "Snorlax's Performances" area for some pop & jazz snippets from live performances.

    The last four years have been a test and a challenge for many different reasons, after a long period of good times. So I remain grateful for what we have and try my best to deal with the crap as best I can.

    I think my next attempt here should be some BENNY GOODMAN-style stuff...whaddya think?

    Again, thanks!

    Snor
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  6. #6

    Re: A Modest Traditional COMB March With a History: High and Dry

    Hello Jim, this is great! I, too, enjoyed the back-story. I remember you mentioning the flood years ago, (maybe you even posted pictures?) but this march does a great job of contrasting that story, and it certainly sounds joyful! Though I don't listen to marches on a regular basis, the neatness of their structure combined with the nostalgia of performing them through middle and high school makes them something I enjoy listening to, and this one was no exception! Thanks for sharing!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  7. #7

    Re: A Modest Traditional COMB March With a History: High and Dry

    Quote Originally Posted by sanyarem View Post
    Hello Jim, this is great! I, too, enjoyed the back-story. I remember you mentioning the flood years ago, (maybe you even posted pictures?) but this march does a great job of contrasting that story, and it certainly sounds joyful! Though I don't listen to marches on a regular basis, the neatness of their structure combined with the nostalgia of performing them through middle and high school makes them something I enjoy listening to, and this one was no exception! Thanks for sharing!
    Hi, Michael...

    Man, I am really enjoying the revival of the Listening Room!

    Yes, this was kinda theraputic, I guess . Very few schools play old-school marches any more, which is too bad.
    I have a few misgivings about the current "corps" thing of learning one show and playing it 478 times. I notice in my students that their musicianship lags during football season, they tend to overblow, and they just work on the same piece and therefore don't develop.

    There is MUCH more music in the traditional march than meets the ear--IF it is played with the proper musical sensitivity and contrast. Marches are GREAT vehicles for teaching style.

    Thanks again for listening, Michael!!

    Jim (the artist formerly known as Snorlax)
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  8. #8

    Re: A Modest Traditional COMB March With a History: High and Dry

    The SNORMAN!!!! This march was charming and delightful, the flute very Sousa-like, the tuba was just having a blast, the clarinets were very tuneful, and the EUPHONIUM was king, now we get to the...MELLOPHONES???? Those things in F? People write parts for them? I thought those instruments were for the punishment of marching band arranger's who waste their entire lives arranging the likes of Lady Gaga and songs like "Who Let the Dogs Out?" Or the classic "Mmmmm Bop!" I am so just kidding you, my friend! I loved the march, and your post reminded me of my band director back into the day saying, "OK, at the trio, let me just have the woodwinds play." So Snor, I just want to say that I wished that I had your charming personality so I could also write wonderful and playful marches such as yours. You should go ahead and write this out for full band.
    ~Rod

  9. #9

    Re: A Modest Traditional COMB March With a History: High and Dry

    Quote Originally Posted by composingatnight View Post
    The SNORMAN!!!! This march was charming and delightful, the flute very Sousa-like, the tuba was just having a blast, the clarinets were very tuneful, and the EUPHONIUM was king, now we get to the...MELLOPHONES???? Those things in F? People write parts for them? I thought those instruments were for the punishment of marching band arranger's who waste their entire lives arranging the likes of Lady Gaga and songs like "Who Let the Dogs Out?" Or the classic "Mmmmm Bop!" I am so just kidding you, my friend! I loved the march, and your post reminded me of my band director back into the day saying, "OK, at the trio, let me just have the woodwinds play." So Snor, I just want to say that I wished that I had your charming personality so I could also write wonderful and playful marches such as yours. You should go ahead and write this out for full band.
    ~Rod
    Rod,
    Thanks for the kind words. Being self-taught as a musician, (no theory, can't play piano, etc--"just" lessons with Harvey Phillips) I am a bit reticent to post in the same forum as you, Randy, etLux, DPDan, et al, but everyone is mellow here and has good intentions and suggestions.

    Yes, there was some "compensatory" writing here after the flood. Life in the house of Snorlax has been a real rollercoaster ride over the past four years! I wanted to write a fun, lighthearted piece, and I did.

    I wrote the main strains first, then improvised the obbligato parts while the other parts were playing, then wrote them in.

    As to the mellophones, how did you ever discover that I was working on "MMM Bop" and "Bad Romance" to post here soon? (I'm also kidding) But that stuff is out there...

    Do you know the story about what the extra trumpet players in Stan Kenton's band did with their mellophones when Kenton made them play mellophone in addition to trumpet?

    I am going to cut and paste your statement about my "charming personality" and show it to my wife, my children, my business students at the college, and the college administration.

    Time permitting, I will flesh the chart out for full band, simplify the euphonium part, and figure out what to do with it.

    OK...back to work! Cya

    Jim (the artist formerly known as Snorlax)
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  10. #10

    Re: A Modest Traditional COMB March With a History: High and Dry

    What? What! What?! What did the trumpet players do?
    ~Rod

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