I played this song a hundred times in band, but I can't remember the name.
March 31, 2006 8:10 PM   Subscribe

Help me identify an intense piece of music I played in high school band.

Sometime between 1994 and 1998, my high school symphonic band* won a local band championship by playing a very cool, intense piece of music. I haven't the faintest idea of the name or the composer, and I've already Googled for local news stories on our win -- no luck. Something makes me think that it was a fairly recent composition, but I could be wrong.

I only remember the first little bit: "duh da duh DAAAAAAAH duh (three slow, purposeful bass drum or timpani beats ...) duh da duh DAAAAAAAH duh." (In pitch, it was "low mid low HIIIIIGH low.") It was intense.

In the flute part, the long, high note was well above the staff, and I think only a few of us flute players were even able to pull it off. I don't remember which note it was, only that it was a bitch.

Any ideas on the name or composer? I'd love to hear it again. Thanks much.

* in case it helps, it was Central High School in Independence, Oregon.
posted by liet to Media & Arts (13 answers total)
Dvorak's New World Symphony?
posted by youcancallmeal at 8:17 PM on March 31, 2006

I'd send an email to (or call) Richard Dahl, who's listed on the school's staff page under the department "Instrumental Music". He'd probably have that in his records somewhere.
posted by stefanie at 9:45 PM on March 31, 2006

I can't figure out the piece given your description, but I can tell you that Robert W. Smith is known for exciting (to the point of cheesy) band music. He is especially known for his writing in the "educational" realm, that is, music written for high school or middle school peformers. I think that he would be a good start.
posted by rossination at 9:45 PM on March 31, 2006

OK you guys are way too serious...its Back 2 the Hotel by N2Deep! Seriously.
posted by Chuck Cheeze at 10:39 PM on March 31, 2006

You could try Musipedia. The Parson's code for your snippet (/\/\) doesn't turn up much, but it's a very common pattern.

You'd be better both with us and Musipedia to give specific intervals rather than a general description of the pitch movement.
posted by abcde at 12:02 AM on April 1, 2006

I'm almost positive it wasn't by any of the famous classical composers -- we tended to play music by contemporary Americans written specifically for high school-style ensembles. (That and terrible, terrible marching music, but I digress.)

These Robert W. Smith samples sound pretty familiar -- I'm sure we played a selection or two at some point. None of the titles ring this bell, though.

stefanie: heh, it didn't occur to me to call the school. On Monday, I may give Mr. Dahl a call. (Man, I can't even remember my old band teacher's name.)

abcde: Musipedia is very cool, but several different searches aren't returning anything familiar.

Messing around on my flute a bit, I believe the notes were d d# d f# f. The piece was slow and probably in a minor key throughout.

Thanks much so far, everybody.
posted by liet at 12:45 AM on April 1, 2006

"Sounds" like Handel's Sarabande.
posted by ed\26h at 1:33 AM on April 1, 2006

Robert W. Smith's Into The Storm was a high school (and jr. high, now that I think about it) favorite when I was in school.

And it's VERY intense. As far as high-school compositions go. Well, the first movement is. If you want to hear it, I have it, so email me. (There's not much flute in it, that I can discern on this awful copy I have, though...)
posted by disillusioned at 1:49 AM on April 1, 2006

Wild stab in the dark... could it have been something by one of these guys? Many of their compositions fit the description of intense, cool, recent, and written for (or at least played by) high school-style ensembles. Click on the names at the top of the page to get to the websites with samples on them, if you want to dig around a little. Sorry I can't be any more specific than that, but maybe something will ring a bell.
posted by Buzz at 2:32 AM on April 1, 2006

A common, intense piece used by symphonic bands the world over is Aaron Copeland's "Fanfare for The Common Man". The dah-dahhs are a bit off, but I think this might be what you're looking for.
posted by frykitty at 2:01 PM on April 1, 2006

"Back to the Hotel" seconded. Came out in 1992. All the online samples end before the part you quote.
posted by aninom at 6:37 PM on April 1, 2006

"High school band" and "intense" makes me think of Intrusions by Mike Leckrone. I can't for the life of me remember how it goes, and I can't find an audio link, but your description certainly rings a bell.
posted by milquetoast at 4:46 AM on April 3, 2006

From your description, it sounds like it was Francis McBeth's "They Hung Their Harps in the Willows." The pitches are actually C G C Ab G (and various transpositions). I don't have a recording handy, or I'd post a fragment. Here are the first two pages of the score, in case that helps. Let us know if you figure it out!

Buzz - thanks for the mention! (This is Steve - one of the BCM guys you linked to). It wasn't one of our pieces, though - don't think we had anything out back then (except maybe Eric's "Ghost Train").
posted by gsalad at 8:24 AM on April 16, 2006

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