Monday, November 19, 2007

Forward, March! into the Labyrinth

Play an instrument long enough, and you learn to start thinking like a true artist: how can I make some money off of something—anything?

I noticed, at the Masonic Lodge concert, that the Scottish Rite Band played out of two small books of marches—small, so they will fit on the lyres of musicians when they are actually (God forbid!) marching.

One book was called “Marching to Victory.” The other was called “Marching to Fame.”

Now, with all due respect to the writers of marches, and the amount of time it takes to write anything at all, these were pretty insipid.

Yet, I discovered a possible niche. One can write a book of marches with martial titles and an inspiring cover title, and take the world of high school students, community bands, nay, even the whole military establishment by storm. The world could know me. I smell power.

I begin at the hard part: a title for the collection. Here is where imagination, savoir-vivre, je ne sais pas, are required.

Just the collection titles below constitute a life's work of march-writing:

Marching to Triumph
Marching to Empire
Marching to Disaster
Marching to Doom
Marching to a Different Drummer
(Editorial note: this is for bands whose rhythm sections are lured away from the conductor’s tempo by their own inner metronomes—by the way, it is part of the drummer’s job description that he/she must always criticize the conductor for wavering and unsteady tempi, especially during accelerandos and ritardandos. Italian drummers have no difficulty with this sort of thing—drummers with a Teutonic background should be playing horns—since they are, ahem, “teutonic.”)

Marching to Oblivion
Marching to Hegemony (could be combined with the preceeding)
Marching to Armageddon
Marches for the End Times
The Twelve Marches of the Apocalypse
Cataclysms of Jericho—Seven Marches Guaranteed to Destroy
Lucky Marches for the Acacacademy of Anthropopopopopometry
Dada Marches (all music must be played with the eyes closed on an instrument for which the player has no training)
Effete Marches for Literati
Manly Marches for the Ineducati
XXX-Rated Marches for the Orgiati
Political Marches in Ineffective Meters
Marches without Melodies
Arrhythmic Marches
Harmonica Band Reed Marches
Guessing Marches
Marches on One Note (easy to get 11 marches out of this theme)
Marches based on Themes from Bad Movies
Ironic Marches on Saracstic Motifs
Marches in Polymetric Polytones
Rhetorical Marches for Speeches on Occasional Topics on Topical Occasions
Painful Marches for the Marchise de Sade
Fiddling While Cities Burn: Marching Forward Through History Backwards to Rome
Marching to Destiny: Deterministic Marches for Free People
High Colonic Marches
A Treasury of Monetary Marches
A Wine Cellar of Marches that may turn to Vinegar
A Sweet Evening of Acerbic Marches
Odd-Metered Marches for Acrobatic Musicians
Aerobic Marches for the Under-Exercized
Abrasive Marches for the Weak of Heart
Marches for Cat-Scans and Birdbrains
Bellicose Marches for Boxers and other Belligerents
Serpentine Marches with Sinuous Melodies

Somewhere, there is a computer program that will, on a simple command, generate marches in a variety of acceptable keys. With a second computer, marches can be written while I practice, or nap. Or both. With several computers running the program simultaneously, the life's work could be finished in a week. Then it will be time for a computer that generates more titles.


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