by Pamela J. Marshall

for tuba

Duration >5:00, variable


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After attending tuba evangelist Aaron Hinds’ presentation at New Music Gathering in Baltimore in 2016, I was inspired to write Sanderlings. The music pulls the tuba into the sound world of the ocean, via the extended techniques in the tubist’s repertoire. Various scampering motives reflect the typical activity of the tiny Sanderling, a small shorebird that runs back and forth on the beach foraging at the edge of the waves.

The piece uses various motivic material: scurrying 16th-note runs, rhythmic unpitched tapping, a lyrical melody, and air noise imitating waves. A meditative quality takes over as we hear more and more waves with shorter and shorter bits of music. The performer controls the pacing at the end by choosing which bits of music to repeat and when to breathe the waves.

The performer can be very free with their interpretation. Play the various effects in a way that you find expressive and adapt the effects to your skills as needed. The improvised ending is intended to fade away gradually with less and less sound. A sample ending is provided, but it is not a prescription. Be free with it, or ignore it completely and improvise your own.


Soon I hope to have a recording from the premiere by Stephanie Magera at Eastman.


The drawing of sanderlings on the cover is by Cape Cod artist Catherine Clark ( Thank you, Catherine, for permission to use this image that perfectly matches this piece.

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