London Bridge

for Young Band

2010, rev. 2021

Grade c. 1.5

Duration: 2m

  • London Bridge - London Bridge
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London Bridge was my first attempt at writing Grade 1 band music back in 2010. At the time, I had not yet studied many Grade 1 band scores, so I had some misconceptions about how to orchestrate for such a young ensemble. As a result, the work, while containing all the same notes and rhythms as the present edition, was not very useful to the majority of young bands. I was still thinking too much like an orchestrator rather than taking the more practical and educational approach of using lots of doublings, especially for the rarer and more difficult instruments like Oboe and Horn.

By the time 2021 rolled around, I had seen a bunch of Grade 1 band scores and had a much better idea of how to score for young band. So I decided to brush the dust off this work and give it another go.

However, unlike the majority of Grade 1 band works, I do like to have contrast between woodwinds and brass, so my low woodwinds do not always double low brass. But I do try to score my works such that they will still work and sound good without low woodwinds present.

Musically, London Bridge uses fragments of the melody for a soft, belltone-like introduction which sets up the last phrase of the melody on the dominant, leading us into a faster tempo at bar 9 where we hear the first complete statement of the melody in the key of Eb. This is followed by a brief transition using the same belltone material as the beginning, and leading us into the key of the dominant (Bb) with a new texture.

At bar 19, the percussion and (mostly) brass take over, with the (mostly) brass giving space to the percussion between phrases. Extended harmonies add to the interest here. Finally, in bar 37, we are back in the original key of Eb for one final statement before the enigmatic coda, which introduces a bit more chromaticism.