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Emily Grossman

Octopus March

November 18, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Drake and Phoebe don't just play the piano: they explore it. I have a hard time keeping their fingers still while directing them onto their next assignments, but I don't usually mind because we make such excellent discoveries along the way. Drake has been studying a series of marches by different composers in different time periods. "Don't be surprised if this particular march gets a little strange in the middle. Know anything about Shostakovich?" I asked. Drake shook his head. I elaborated, "He lived in a time and place where freedom of expression was severely limited, and the government systematically killed off a great number of people, including some of his friends. Since he wasn't allowed to outwardly object, he expressed himself rather sarcastically through his compositions. And, since there's no words to his music, he got away with it.

"What are marches written for? Who marches?"
"The military."
With a smirk, I concluded, "Have fun with your march this week!"

I led his little seven-year-old sister back to the studio for her lesson with a question.

"What do we count to when we march?"
"Two."
"Right. Know why?"
"Because we have two legs."
"One-two, one-two." I marched in place.
Phoebe pondered legs for a second while I leafed through her books: "What about an octopus? They would count to eight."

Hmm, I wonder what an octopus march would sound like. "There's eight notes from C to C..." I played then in a row, counting as I went.

"No, an octopus would march like this:" She rounded her fingers and spread them apart. Crawling from left to right, first with the left hand and then with the right, she skipped every other key in the scale with four fingers and then played the ones she skipped with the right hand.

I observed, "Hey, I like that. One of us could play that pattern, and the other could make up a song that goes on top of it."

We made an octopus march. What would you create to complete this octopus?


From Barry Nelson
Posted on November 18, 2011 at 6:03 PM
well, I think it would alternate a little differntly, such as :

C E D F G B A C

but hey, what do I know about how an octopus would march :)

From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 18, 2011 at 7:42 PM
Well, ours is not the definitive octopus march, as I am certain not all octopi conform to the same step.
From Courtland Bates
Posted on November 19, 2011 at 5:56 AM
Octopus march? Do you take us for suckers? ;)

Just kidding. Again, another wonderful blog!

From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 19, 2011 at 9:37 AM
Octopi. Someone needs to make and octopi pie. Then we would know how inviting they can be, despite their eight legs.
From Randy Walton
Posted on November 19, 2011 at 6:35 PM
An octopus march, now what could that be?
I really don't know but it is in C.
An octopus march, now that could go far
With drum beat steady, eight beats to the bar.
An octopus march will cause you to laugh;
Of course it will, it's on alto staff!
From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 19, 2011 at 7:03 PM
I'll write a melody for your lyrics! But i will have to change the last bit for all my non-viola students... :)
From Randy Walton
Posted on November 19, 2011 at 7:11 PM
An octopi pie is so hard to do,
It's squishy and squashy and slimy like goo!
An octopi pie, oh my! do I dare?
Most pies are round but this pi are square!
An octopi pie has so many feet
But dig in hearty and bon appetit!

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