Letter from Sado is an exciting new piece for young band based ona Japanese haiku of the same name. Sado refers to Sado Island in Japan in which various artists, religious and military leaders were sent in exile many years ago. The island has historically had a strong community of taiko drummers and as such, the piece incorporates optional homemade taiko drums.
Blackshaw writes: “To capture the idea of interpretation and the concept of reading between the lines, the students areinvited to become decision makers about particular sections in the musi c. For example, the opening and closing sections of the piece use the same material, which is a selection of repeated melodic figures. The students themselves decide how to play these figures as individuals, in smallteams and then as a whole band. Their decisions include ideas regarding tempo (how fast?), dynamics (how loud?), and articulation (smooth, shor t, or hard?). To inspire them, we use the haiku poem; i.e., the opening section invites the students to play the material as if it were a 'stormy, wild sea' and the closing section invites the students to play the same melodic figures but this time, draw their inspiration from 'Heaven's River,' or as we know it, the Milky Way.
In-between, there is an elaborate, heavily textured section that becomes increasingly powerful. The music doesn't rest harmonically until the whole band plays in unison. These multiple layers of sound represent the many thoughts and ideas that would have surrounded those individuals sent to Sado Island in exile, the final unison is representative of their own breakthrough experience sending them on a pathway to inner peace and acceptance.”
Embrace your players' creativity, offer them your trust, and see how far Letter from Sado can take your band!
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