Changing the setting of melody in
for combined concert band and stage band by James Humberstone
Where does the melody come from?
The Jabberwock melody is derived directly from the words of the second stanza of the poem by Lewis Carroll, as if it were being set
for a song. The style is folk song. You can hear it by clicking on the gramophone icon.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”
How is the melody used in its different settings?
Entry one, to the background of the Brillig, comes in bar 28. You can see the score on the next page, and hear it by clicking the gramophone icon. Make notes to
the excerpt here:
Brillig is a Lewis Carroll made-up word that means
The Brillig is represented in the music by
The Jabberwock melody (above) is played on the solo
The harmony that accompanies the melody is
The music reflects the words of the poem by
Jabberwock - first presentation of melody.
The second entry of the Jabberwock melody is in bar 60. This time the melody is repeated exactly the same, but on different instruments and with a very different accompaniment. Immediately after the 8-bar melody there is a extension of the melody for a further 8 bars. These 8 bars fit to the words of the 3rd stanza
of the poem:
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought-So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
On the next two pages you can read the score and listen to a recording of this section. Make notes on the following:
What instruments play the melody this time?
What instruments accompany them?
How is this presentation of the melody given more rhythmic drive?
Is the extension to the melody similar or very different to the original 8 bars?
What harmony is used?
At the first entry of the melody, the harmony (the Brillig) is static. That is to say it stays the same, it doesn’t “go anywhere”. During the second presentation
of the melody there are simple chords. Look at the score on the next page and work out what chords are being played. Write the chords over the bars that they
correspond to in the melody below.
Try playing the chords on a keyboard and singing the original Jabberwock melody to the words of Lewis Carroll’s poem.
Jabberwock - second presentation of melody.
Jabberwock - second presentation of melody.
The third entry of the Jabberwock melody is at bar 84. This time the change made in presentation of the melody is much more stark and less subtle. The
concert band instruments give way to the stage band, the time signature changes to a swung 4/4, and the harmony even more defined than the first time. The
melody itself becomes:
If you can, work out what chords are used in this presentation of the melody, and write them above the score again. Are they the same or different to the ones
in the last excerpt?
As this section continues the original melody is developed in melodically and rhythmically as well as changed in style. Make some notes below on what the similarities are with the original melody, and what the differences are. You can see the score on the following pages and listen to the recording by clicking on the
gramophone icon.
Your task
Level 4
Play the following melody and work out harmony that goes with it. It might be static or functional harmony. Once you have worked out the harmony
rewrite this melody for any solo instrument accompanied by either string orchestra or brass ensemble in a more Lewis Carroll bizarre style.
Level 6
Write an 8 bar melody in a folk or other world music style for violin. Once you are happy with your melody, rewrite it for saxophone ensemble (extra
percussion optional) in swing time.
Level 8
Write an 8 bar melody in a folk or other world music style for violin. Set it for string orchestra with simple chordal harmony. Then write a swung jazz
version of your melody for alto sax, tenor sax, trumpet, trombone, piano and drums. Extend the melody to 16 or 32 bars if you have time.
Before you close this document, if you’ve typed your answers into it, print it out by pressing the above button, or click on the button and then choose
Save as PDF (not that this will not save the music in this document so don’t save over it).