If you’re tired of the same old time signatures, and looking for a new challenge for your high school band, why not introduce some mixed-meter. This will change-up your rehearsals and concert programming, and creates a great opportunity to work on some, dare we say it, math skills with alternative counting and subdivisions. The following new titles are perfect choices for teaching new time signatures. Consider a title a grade level lower than your band can play – this will limit the range and technical demands allowing your students to focus on the meter and its inherent rhythms and subdivisions.
Dream Chaser, Travis Weller – Grade 3
* Mixed meter: 3/4 + 4/4; sections of 3/4 & 4/4; single measures of 2/4
Dramatic choruses of brasses & woodwinds dance & intermingle in playful, rhythmic counterpoint and sweeping, lyric passages.
The Escape, Marvis Rorie – Grade 3
*Mixed meter: 4/4 + 2/4; 3/4 B-section; 3/2 final section
Exciting rhythms in a mixed meter framework characterize this exuberant celebration of freedom! It spins a musical portrait of a journey from wrongful imprisonment to freedom, and travels across some very interesting musical ground along the way.
Everest: The Forbidden Journey, Rob Romeyn – Grade 3.5
* Mixed meter: 4/4, 3/4, 2/4; 7/8 B-section
Expeditions to find joy at the top of the world are an intoxicating mixture of danger, excitement, awe and solitude, all of which are finely woven into this emotional musical adventure with a driving pulse and a soaring spirit.
Gale Force, Larry Neeck – Grade 3
* Mixed meter: 4/4, 3/4, & 2/4; 3/4 B-section
The forces of nature and the sea are portrayed in “Gale Force.” A powerful introduction leads to driving themes that depict a tempest at sea. A temporary calm prevails, providing beautiful lyrical themes that showcase the subtly and expressiveness of your ensemble. Driving rhythms then lead to a thrilling conclusion.
Time Shift, Bill Calhoun – Grade 3.5
* Mixed meter: 2/4, 3/4, & 4/4
Beginning with a long bell striking constant quarter notes and a fast-paced introduction, Time Shift switches rhythmic feels, including a 3 against 2 with changing meters throughout. Its middle section uses segmental chorales before moving back into a quicker time signature.
Exuberance, Brant Karrick – Grade 4
* Mixed meter: 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 6/4, & 3/2
Embrace a wealth of musical styles in this stunning hymn-based fantasy that sings with flowing, interwoven melodic lines and a carefree rhythmic pulse, deftly contrasted with spiritual, organ-like lyrical reflections and a soaring, multifaceted finale.
Joy in All Things, Brian Balmages – Grade 4
* Mixed meter: 4/4, 6/8 + 1/4, 5/4, 9/8, & 2/4
Jubilant, inspiring, and triumphant, a showpiece of contrasting moods, reflection and celebration woven from the timeless hymn tune “Come Christians, Join to Sing.”
Stardance, Michael Sweeney – Grade 4
* Mixed meter: 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 2/4, 6/8, 7/8, 9/8, & 12/8
Listeners are surrounded by a swirling dance of celestial lights and sounds, while onstage the percussion section introduces a driving ostinato pattern. A delicate and beautiful middle section suspends time with bluesy interaction and a rich background texture. The frantic pace returns climaxing with a stunning chorale while the percussion continues simultaneously at a separate tempo!
True Calling, Charles Rochester Young – Grade 5
* Mixed meter: 6/8 & 3/4
This powerful and exhilarating concert opener depicts the struggle to honor one’s “true life calling.” The pulsating rhythmic elements alternate between 6/8 and 3/4, and on several occasions the two meters are juxtaposed.
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