Soprano feature in reed 1. But you will need that your accordion, piano, bass player and drummer be very collaborative and almost soloistic as well.
5 reeds, 4 trumpets (cups), 3 trombones (buckets), 1 bass trombone (bucket), accordion, guitar, piano, bass, drums. This piece uses a piece of pottery with small stones baked inside. You’ll have to experiment with a rough stoneware bowl or something to approximate the sound. I’d tried stones in a small wood box, and it wasn’t bright enough. I’m sure there are creative ways to get to the sound. Porcelain is too bright, must be clay, and maybe rough in texture. You’ll need a mic nice and close to the “stone.”
Recorded on Data Lords, “Stone Song” was inspired by the pottery of Jack Troy, in particular a piece he made called ishi no sasayaki, meaning the song inside of the stone. In this piece, Steve Wilson (soprano) portrays a little stone, waiting eons to finally be bumped, pushed or rolled. He is bumped along by the accordion, piano, bass and drums (who also plays the actual ishi no sasayaki by Jack Troy, named more affectionately now as “Stoney.” You will see how intricately this piece is laid out, and when you follow the score, you will see how ingeniously they improvised over the structure of the piece. A piece such as this requires great listeners and collaborators. The horns don’t enter until quite late in the piece – something new for me. I think this is among my most unique pieces.
Under “Solos” and “Instrumentation” you can see some of the options I’ve laid out for those that might hope to play this music with their own ensemble, but that don’t have a “Stoney” of their own. Thinking creatively is great fun. I remember my wonderful orchestration teacher, Dominick Argento, telling us that the most generous people in any orchestra is the percussion section – that they’ll just love to open their closets for you and help you find sounds. Every stone is unique, and so should be everyone’s approach to this piece!
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