Scorpion!

Scorpion! is a piece by Richard L. Saucedo. It is a loud, energetic, driving piece (tempo is 138bpm) that is all about the vibe it creates rather than beautiful melodies and harmonies. My students enjoyed playing it and stylistically it’s not something I would typically write so I thought it would be useful to look a little more closely at it. You can find the recording and score here.

Form

The piece is 74 bars long and is based on a 4 bar harmonic unit. My outline looks like this:

A(8) | buildup 1 (8+2) |A(8) | A(8) | B(4) | buildup 2 (8+2) | C(9) | A(8) | Tag(8) | unison A(4)

The form doesn’t neatly fit into any predetermined shape, but is probably closest to a kind of rondo form.

Orchestration

One of the first things to notice about this piece is that nearly everyone is playing nearly all the time. This helps to make it loud and also creates a kind of wall of energetic sound effect. It is scored for:

  • Flute/Oboe/Bassoon
  • Clarinet 1,2/Bass Clarinet
  • Alto Sax 1,2/Tenor Sax/Baritone Sax
  • Trumpet 1, 2/Horn
  • Trombone/Baritone/Tuba
  • 3 percussionists
  • mallets
  • timpani
  • Oboe, Horn and Timpani are listed as optional.

With the a few brief exceptions (the most notable being the 4 bar “B” section) the percussion play continuous ostinato figures all the way through.

Scorpion Ex1

The brass and saxes are typically playing rhythmic chordal figures. Triads are assigned to Trumpet 1, 2 and Horn and are often a doubled by Alto Sax 1, 2 & Tenor Sax.

Scorpion Ex2.jpg

Scorpion Ex3.jpg

The low brass and woodwinds play single note rhythmic ostinatos, most often on a pedal G. They do get the melody for 16 bars on the second “A” section.

The upper woodwinds and mallets (Flute, Oboe, Clarinets, Xylophone, Bells) play a mix of unison/octave ostinatos (typically on a pedal G), or unison/octave melodic lines. In the “C” section, the upper winds are also strengthened by the Alto Saxes.

I’ve found Saucedo’s orchestration approach for a triads and rhythmic ostinato line a useful addition my my bag of tricks.

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: