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Digital Sheet Music

Attack of the Giant Leeches - DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

Attack of the Giant Leeches - DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

56.00

Composed by Ian Deterling; published by Deterling Music.

Preview Score PDF

  • Whenever I start writing a piece, I always begin by figuring out either a musical idea/motif/melody/chord progression - some musical ‘building block’ that I can construct the piece out of.  The repeating bassline that begins in measure 27 was my starting point for this piece. The constantly rising and falling melodic contours, in combination with its syncopated rhythms, evoked (in my mind) a water-themed adventure/horror/sci-fi film of the 50s and 60s. As I began to develop and add ideas, I structured the form of this piece to mirror the ‘formulaic’ plot that is common to many B-films of the 50s-60s. 

    Attack of the Giant Leeches begins in an eerie swamp; the moss-covered tree branches that hang motionless above the still water are barely visible due to the thick fog. I wrote the first three measures to convey the uneasy feeling you get from an uncomfortable stillness. Suddenly and without warning - a giant leech jumps out of the water only to disappear in the fog. The intent of the sfz chord in measure four is to try and make the audience jump out of their seats! When the University of Wisconsin-Superior premiered this piece in 2013, I was leaning over the balcony in the auditorium to see how many people would jump (I silently laughed to myself as the chord visibly startled about two thirds of the attendees that evening). 

    Attack of the Giant Leeches morphs into a dance around measure 27; it is absolutely crucial for the interlocking rhythms (first between the low voices and the marimba) to be as rhythmically accurate as possible to create this ‘cool groove’ that results in constant eighth-notes. As the plot develops, new characters are introduced and the location changes - and so does the music. The groove changes in measure 51. It stays in 5/4 (although interrupted by moments of 4/4) but the phrasing is different. The bassline from measure 27 is a 10-beat pattern (2 bars of 5/4) where the bass line in measure 51 is a 5 beat pattern (1 bar). The bars of 4/4 (63-64; 77-78; and 81-82) give a sense of stability (as groupings of four feel more stable). These moments of stability are short-lived, as they keep resolving back into the 5/4 groove - indicating that our lead characters have yet to figure out what to do with the giant leeches. 

    The giant leeches return briefly in measures 96-102 - just long enough to attack and capture a few characters! The thick fog returns and is even more sinister (with the addition of feathered beam notation and timpani glissandi). In Flute 1, measures 104-116 is written as two parts; solo flute (stems up) and the rest of the Flute 1s (stems down). The solo flute does not play in measures 106-108 (indicated by whole rests above the whole notes for the rest of the section). 

    As with any sci-fi/horror film, there is inevitably a love scene. The two begin confessing their love around measure 111, and the mushy stuff really starts happening at 129 (I did my best to keep it at least PG-rated). Natural (and to some it would be thankfully) this gets interrupted in measure 142 as they must go defeat the leeches. However - there is a plot twist: the ‘cool groove’ 5/4 bassline is played on the piano in a John Carpenter-esque manner starting in measure 152. A character isn’t who they seem to be! There are five main ideas happening at the same time in this last section; the climactic and frantic battle between the characters and the giant leeches. There is a brief moment of silence (beat two of 191) before the cave blows up and buries the giant leeches (192-195). “And they all went to giant leech heaven.”

  • Instrumentation:

    • Flute 1-2

    • Oboe 1-2

    • Clarinet in Eb*

    • Clarinet in Bb 1-3

    • Bass Clarinet in Bb

    • Contrabass Clarinet in Bb*

    • Bassoon 1-2

    • Alto Saxophone in Eb 1-2

    • Tenor Saxophone in Bb

    • Baritone Saxophone in Eb

    • Trumpet in Bb 1-3 (with straight mute)

    • Horn in F 1-4 (with straight mute)

    • Trombone 1 (with straight mute, pixie mute, and plunger)

    • Trombone 2 (with straight mute)

    • Bass Trombone (with straight mute and bucket mute)

    • Euphonium

    • Tuba

    • Contrabass*

    • Piano

    • Marimba

    • Percussion 1 (2-3 percussionists)

      • Tambourine; Hi-Hat; Bass Drum

    • Percussion 2 (2-3 Percussionists)

      • Bongos; Claves; Tam-tam

    • Percussion 3 (2-3 Percussionists)

      • Small Suspended Cymbal; Large Suspended Cymbal (mallets and bow); Congas

    • Timpani

      *These parts are optional (always either doubled or cued in other parts)

  • Grade 3.5 - 4

  • Duration: about 8’30”

  • Digital download of score and set of parts; 165 pages

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