Happy Birthday, Percy Grainger!

Percy Aldridge Grainger was born in Brighton, Australia, on July 8, 1882. He was a composer, arranger, and pianist who, in the early 20th century, played a prominent role in the revival of British folk music. He was a champion of the saxophone and early-electronic instruments, even inventing “free music machines” later in life that tried to remove humans from the performance altogether.

However, it is his settings of folk tunes for which Percy Grainger is best known. With their usual skill and musicality, Tempo Press arrangers have arranged many of these works for string orchestra. These arrangements provide an excellent opportunity to introduce this fascinating composer to your school orchestra.

New Music Friday

New Music Friday: Tango Americana

The Tango is a study in syncopation and accent. This original piece uses two themes, one in the key of F major and another in the relative minor. You can augment the overall Tango feel by using the included percussion parts for claves, bongo drums, and maracas.

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New Music Friday

New Music Friday: Personent Hodie

The tune used in this carol is believed to have originated in Germany, possibly around 1360. This arrangement stays relatively faithful to the melody, which is presented in groups of upper strings and lower strings. All parts can be played in first position, although the cello has several measures of divisi. At the marked tempo, the piece runs about two and a half minutes.

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New Music Friday

New Music Friday: The Changing Timepiece

This work is a set of brief variations based on the theme from the slow movement of Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 101. This symphony is nicknamed “The Clock” due to the “tick-tock” effect that you will hear accompanying the theme. This work was created to be a teaching tool. Depending on what the students already were exposed to, this piece offers a chance to deal with changing time signatures, changing key signatures, changing tempi, col legno technique, subito, Grand Pause, tremolo, what are variations, what an old-fashioned mechanical clock sounds like, as well as historical information about Haydn and his symphonies.

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