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The Music for the Littlemagictrain Programme

A note from the musicians:
The music for Littlemagictrain was commissioned specially by Gina Bale for the classes in this pack. It is the result of two musical collaborations: CDs 1 and 2 were composed and played by Jonathan Still and Daniel Jones, CD3 by Jonathan Still and Andrew Holdsworth. All three of them have over twenty years experience of music in the dance world, whether it’s working with pre-school children or with some of the biggest stars of the international ballet scene: dancer Daniel Jones as a soloist with English National Ballet, musician Jonathan Still as pianist for ballet schools and companies, and music producer Andrew Holdsworth playing for ballet classes and recording music projects for dance schools and companies.

We styled the music according to whatever seemed to fit the stories and characters, adding layers of musical interest where we could that you might or might not hear consciously. So for example, we’ve used a large range of styles, tempos, metres, different instruments and dynamics. As well as familiar pop and rock styles, there are jazz waltzes, polkas, jigs, slow tempos, fast tempos, threes, fours, and sixes. There’s a twisting jellyfish, a galloping horse, a sarabanding green turtle and a jiving kangaroo. You’ll hear siren whistles, swannee whistles, a theremin, an Otamatone, kazoos, windchimes and sound effects that we spent a lot of time getting just right: pretending to be a fishy choir with your head in a bucket of water, playing the kazoo like a squirrel, and singing like a jellyfish.

Teachers may recognise some of the influences and styles – dance rhythms, Michael Jackson, heavy metal, Italian piano house, opera, ballet, Motown, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, R&B, Brazilian, Spanish, Irish and Scottish folk, and several others that we don’t have names for. There are quotations from songs, even an opera (the Kangaroo sings Your tiny hand is frozen from La Bohème before warming up with a hand-jive, based on the same tune). You’ll hear When the boat comes in (“he shall have a fishy on a little dishy…”) when the animals are eating at the north pole, and the Irish tune As I went out upon the ice as they jump up and down. While you’re making sandcastles, you’ll hear the old musical hall song “Oh I do Like to Be Beside the Seaside.” We couldn’t resist throwing in a few ballet jokes, too, like Aurora the Elephant (a famous piece for the ballerina in Sleeping Beauty, turned into a solo for the double bass) or the Swan Lake cygnets who became the Bombay Ducks. Listen carefully, and you’ll hear What shall we do with the drunken sailor? You might even hear Twinkle twinkle little star hidden under the sea somewhere, but you don’t have to: our aim was to make the music a lot of fun, and fire children’s imagination with music and sounds along with the stories and pictures.

Jonathan Still, August 2014
Composed and performed by: Jonathan Still: piano, acoustic bass, keyboards, programming, various instruments Daniel Jones: guitar, cavaquinho, various instruments Andrew Holdsworth guitars, drums, programming, bass, keyboards, various instruments, engineering and production. With: Tony Woollard: Cello (The Train) Charlie Brown: Violin (Green turtles)

 
Have a little listen!  
Cold Paws

Pony patrol

Kangaroo Drop
Sleeping Jaguar
 
 

 


 
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