Mapping Music

New Thoughts on Marching Bands

New Thoughts on Marching Bands are a series of participatory, place based compositions to be performed by musicians and non musicians alike. The score ties music to locations, telling a story of each place and being inseparable from that geography.

The scores are written on a map instead of on  a traditional staff. The map gives notes, simple melodic patterns and ideas through both traditional demarcation and the use of graphic elements. The marching band ad libs sounds within the musical framework given on the map as they move through each place. The score involves different levels of structure from distinct melodies, to completely improvised sections. The end result is a combination of emotionally driven noise and melodically driven narrative.

Participants can bring their own instruments, borrow instruments, or interpret the piece through their voices or the sound of their footsteps as they march. In this way these pieces hope to be accessible to all ages and abilities, musicians and non-musicians alike.

The compositions have their foundation in the experimental musical works and performances by Harry Parch, the chance based music of John Cage, the musical theatre styles of Philip Glass, the structured ad libbing of In-C by Terry Riley and the city as orchestra in Arseny Avraamov’s Symphony of Factory Sirens.