And the Rhythm Is Just a Little Bit Off

for Orchestra

Michael Karmon

Rental
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

"?And The Rhythm Is Just A Little Bit Off?" was written in 1996 and is based on the following rap/poem a friend ?performed? at a band rehearsal several years ago:

"I wrote a song
And it?s kind of funny
?Cause the words don?t rhyme
And the rhythm is just a little bit off"

The ending which so clearly doesn?t match the meter of the other lines, always takes me by surprise, and this little ditty inexplicably cracks me up. When I was searching for ideas for a lighthearted orchestra piece in January of ?96 this ?poem? naturally came to mind, and I decided to mirror in the music the quirky rhythm of the text along with its self-deprecating yet almost arrogant tone.

The first thing we hear, after a brief tumbling figure in the winds, is a repeated note in the strings and timpani that is interrupted by loud bursts in the low brass. This section soon winds down as the violins, and finally just a solitary violin, slow down the pulse, mirroring the implied deceleration of the last line of the poem. The orchestra soon starts up again with a brief rising melody in the strings, followed by a bright chord in the high winds and later in the brass. These three elements provide the material for the rest of the piece. The repeated notes, now animated with more interesting pitches, are explored in a series of variations of different lengths. Then, after a sizable section featuring long-held notes in the brass, the bright wind chord return suddenly about halfway through the piece. Soon a solo cello, followed by a duet between a solo violin and viola, takes up and expands the rising melody from the introduction. After this the opening of the piece returns, with some alterations, and the piece closes in a tone similar to the beginning.

I am indebted to my teachers Judith Lang Zaimont and Dominick Argento for their advice and guidance. I hope the piece is as much fun to listen to as it was to write.

Available on Rental

Additional Information

Composition Date 1996
Duration 00:09:00
Orchestration 3(Picc.) 2 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) - 4 3 3 1; Timp. 3Perc. Pno.(Cel.) Hp. Str.
Premiere May 3, 1997. Haddonfield Symphony, Alan Gilbert, conductor.