A Million Buffalo Roam (Conductor's Score for Piano Ensemble)
Piano Duet - Intermediate
Composed by James Siddons. 20th Century, Ragtime, Fourth of July, Patriotic, Americana. Score. 54 pages. Published by James Siddons Music and Writings (S0.228769).
Item Number: S0.228769
This composition, by composer, pianist, and musicologist James Siddons,is neither an arrangement nor a medley.Rather, it is a kind of historical re-construction; one that imagines how a typical piano rag of before1905 would have sounded when performed by a skillful vernacular pianist as a virtuosic improvisation. It is available as a piano solo or piano duet and may be played by piano ensembles. This Conductor's Score is for leading ensemble performance. Tom Turpin's "Buffalo Rag," "Home On the Range," andthe "Star-Spangled Banner" are heard as an extended virtuosic display; a representation of a little-documentedperformance practice. After improvisatory passages on the three themes of"The Buffalo Rag" are heard individually, they are combined with thetunes of "Home On the Range" and the "Star-SpangledBanner," including one passage in which "Home On the Range" andthe "Star-Spangled Banner" are played simultaneously, combined withthe accompaniment patterns of "The Buffalo Rag." Following are some suggestions for ensemble performance of A Million Buffalo Roam:
1. In accommodating ensemble members of differing piano skills, note thatthe Secondo part is generally less challenging than the Primo.
2. In an echo of Haydn’s FarewellSymphony, at measure 423, have the performers at one piano play the chord onbeat 1, then stand and leave the stage. Have the performers at another pianostand and leave after playing beat 1 of measure 429; likewise for measures 435and 441, leaving only one (solo) or two (duet) player(s) on stage. Then have allthe other players run back to their pianos and play the chord in measure 444.(Adjust these exits as needed.)
3. Usingoverhead cameras and projection screens placed on or around the stage, let theaudience see the performers’ hands and arms in motion.
4. In performance, when the patriotic songs begin, have a song leader onstage to lead the audience in singing “Home on the Range” and the“Star-Spangled Banner.” The words can be projected on a screen. In the vaudeville theater, sing-alongs were popular.
5. When the "Star-Spangled Banner" enters at measure 442, have a flag corps march onto stage.
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