“A” is for “Accordion”

I’ve made it as far as the accordion part. Fortunately, I’m going in score order, not alphabetical order, meaning I’ll only have percussion parts left to do.
This is the first piece I’ve done with performance directions like “sleazy,” “saloon/honkey-tonk,” “Like a Kick Line,” “horse whinny,” and “really bang it out.” I suspect this will not be my Pulitzer winner.
I’ve gotten several e-mails over the past few days about the title — “Sasparilla.” All have essentially said, “good title, but I think it’s spelled ‘sarsparilla’ ” or “I think it’s spelled ‘sarsaparilla’.” It appears that there are, in fact, several accepted spellings. The “real” spelling, I believe, is “sarsaparilla,” but that looks weird. The other two spellings, “sarsparilla” and “sasparilla” are slangified spellings.
Really, I wish I could just put “saloon” or a true liquor in the title, but I worry that no high school bands would ever do the piece if it had a direct mention of alcohol. Thus, we’re left with sasparilla, which was a liquor in the old west, but now is basically root beer. Michael Daugherty suggested I call it “Sasparilla Spurs,” because he thought “sasparilla” alone needed more edge, but it was generally agreed that “Sasparilla Spurs” sounds like a fictional basketball team in an alternative league.

Looks like I’ll be upgrading the studio in a few weeks. Karl, one of my composer-friends from ASU, has offered to give me a deal on a new, larger monitor. I’m tired of not even being able to fit an 8.5×11 page at full-size on my screen. Plus — let’s be honest — I like electronics, and this seems like an awfully fun purchase…


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