Tale of the Sword was commissioned by the Awtrey Middle School Band Program in Kennesaw, GA. When the school’s directors Tara Melvin & Stephen Cagle approached me about a work that would portray the school’s mascot, the Vikings, my research immediately drew me to the “Swords in Stone” monument in Stavanger, Norway. Erected in the early 1980’s to commemorate the Battle of Hafrsfjord and the uniting of Norway under their first king, this piece seeks to portray the creation of this monument with episodic moments of the Viking’s early conquests.
This work calls for a minimum of 7 percussionists. More may be utilized if available. Most instruments should be easily accessible using a standard percussion setup. The musician playing the Percussion 2 part will need to move a brake drum closer to the crotales. I recommend both crotales and brake drum to be played with brass mallets, if available. Crotales may be substituted with orchestra bells.
Notes For the 7-10 seconds of “ocean sounds”, I purposefully kept the instructions vague to encourage your students to create their own unique soundscapes. I’d recommend exploring the use of homemade rattles, air through wind instruments, crumpled paper, or “shushing” sounds as a starting point. Let your students’ (and your) imagination run wild!