A Strenuous Arrangement

So as a feel-good wrap-up to our careers in the illustrious instrumental music program here at Tech, the directors commissioned an arrangement of Joplin’s ‘A Strenuous Life’ — for all of the graduating instrumentalists.

  • 5 trumpets
  • 3 flutes
  • 2 violins
  • 1 harpsichord
  • 6 hands, 1 piano
  • 2 hands, no piano
  • 2 clarinets
  • timpani

And the arrangement ends with a horse whinny for each of the trumpeters. The horse whinny, for better or worse, is what makes or breaks a novelty trumpet player. Connaisseurs of the art will recognize the need for a strong flutter tongue and a good collection of mutes (see The Novelty Cornetist for many effective combinations of these two basic techniques) but when push comes to shove, the masses want their horsies and that’s all there is to it.

My horse whinny is pretty lousy. I’m too loud at the end, when I leave the high register, and I tend to shake at the wrong frequency. I plan to compensate for this with an audience of academic city slickers. It should be good fun.

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