Monday, December 19, 2016

Blue Danube Arrangement

Blue Danube sheet music arrangement beginning orchestra

Here's another arrangement I've written for this year's String Fest.  I've included two sections plus a DC al Fine to end up with an ABA form for "Blue Danube Waltz."  The intermediate parts give the melody to violas and cellos in the A section and to violins in the B section, while the basses get a more traditional bass part.  Harmony parts are either "boom" or "chick-chick," intentionally simple so we can spend more time working on the melody parts in small groups.  Violas and cellos have to play C# on the G string, while violins go up to F# on the E string.  All intermediate parts (except basses) include slurs.  I've also written parts for a beginning orchestra.  The A section is a simplified melody with notes on the D and A strings, and the B section is mostly open strings.  While the intermediate arrangement can stand alone, the beginning orchestra arrangement needs the addition of the intermediate arrangement to fill it out (and to provide a melody for the B section).

I introduced this piece to my sixth graders by listening to a recording of this famous Strauss waltz.  Many students had heard it before and were excited to be learning this piece in orchestra.  Students also learned how to dance a waltz--"forward-side-together, back-side-together" starting on left foot for the leader or "back-side-together, forward-side-together" starting on right foot for the follower.  A few kids partnered up and tried the dance together, while everyone else was content to just try the steps themselves.

Sheet music (all PDFs):

Audio (WAV files) to preview or for students to play along with to practice:

Intermediate melody (first 4 lines only), which I used when introducing the piece:

Again, I like to use clip art instead of labeling parts "beginning" and "intermediate," so you'll see matching images within the beginning and intermediate parts and scores.

Blue Danube sheet music arrangement beginning orchestra

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