Haunted Halloween Dances is a suite of suite of three Halloween-themed dances for string orchestra. They can be played together, or each is long enough to stand on its own.
The “Spooky Samba” (in a minor) has an atmospheric introduction with a catchy samba rhythm and some easy open-string harmonics. The violas and cellos get the first statement of the theme while the violins continue the samba rhythm. The upper strings eventually get the melody, and later you can hear this melody in canon with the cello section. The melody becomes altered at one point as the sections battle it out between Good and Evil as the melody alternates between A major and a minor. This passage provides a perfect chance to teach young musicians how changing one step of the scale can dramatically alter the melody’s character. Sure to be a favorite with your orchestra, the Spooky Samba gives every section a chance to play the melody, the samba rhythm, col legno, pizzicato, and harmonics.
The “Terrible Tango” (in d minor) is a dramatic showpiece perfect for your next Halloween-themed concert. The unrelenting tango rhythms in the cello and bass and the viola’s tremolo set the tone for a dark and menacing dance. The tango melody is dramatic and sweeping and travels throughout the orchestra. Every section gets a chance to play the melody and also the vital tango rhythm. During the piece, a tutti piano section creates tension and drama and tests the dynamic range of the orchestra. Throughout the piece, tremolo, col legno, and pizzicato add color and interest for the players and the audience.
The “Weird Waltz” (in e minor) is just that. The haunting waltz melody at times feels clumsy and awkward due to the occasional use of hemiola. In addition to brief hemiola sections, some very deliberate dissonances add tension and humor. Young musicians will enjoy leaning into their “wrong” notes. The Weird Waltz has something for everyone- every section gets a chance to play the melody and play with expression through their whole dynamic range.
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