November March

What it is about

It is a march. Written in November.

Simple innit?

How it was written

An exercise in orchestration: combining instruments in ways that make the sound more attractive.

In suspense

November March guitar (0:05)
November March guitar
November March guitar

The piece was initially written on the guitar.

Simple C and F major chords were used to write the main riff. Some were then changed into the lovely, multipurpose, suspended second and fourth chords.

Brass knobs

November March brass (0:05)
November March brass
November March brass

The final piece wound up written for a brass band or a marching band. It can also be sung by a quartet.

The notes in the guitar chords were assigned to brass instruments and the option was left open to sing the piece in four part harmony. The instrumentation is piccolo (soprano), trumpet (alto), trombone (tenor) and tuba (bass). Percussion acts as an accompaniment.

And, lo and behold, changing the instruments completely changes the feel. Makes it a different piece altogether.

It also makes the point that the guitar is an instrument of harmony, as is the piano. It must be ten times more difficult writing music if you are a tuba player because it is a melody instrument, you can only play one note at a time. Or is it that hard? Any tuba players out there writing band music?

Careful with that tuba Eugenia

November March tuba (0:09)
November March tuba
November March tuba

One orchestration task for live performance or live recording is to check the instrument ranges. In other words, to check that the notes written for an instrument can physically be played by that instrument.

For example, the lowest tuba note in November March is F1. Digging around the internet unearths the information that the bottom note on a bass tuba is F1. Phew, relief. However, a contrabass tuba can play even lower. Amazingly, a BBb contrabass tuba can actually play a really, really low Bb0, which is nearly subaudio. Wow.

Tech spec

Title: November March

Key: C

Tempo: 112bpm

Length: 3' 30"

Track 1: piccolo soprano

Track 2: trumpet alto

Track 3: trombone tenor

Track 4: tuba bass

Track 5: drumset

Genre: Pop, Rock