Trumpet octet sheet music for Legends of Fractonia is available at:
Most Difficult Trumpet Ensemble
Legends of Fractonia is by far our most difficult trumpet ensemble piece. Stand Firm in Christ is our second most difficult, but they are difficult for two different reasons. For Stand Firm in Christ, the difficulty is in the chops (endurance and range). For Legends of Fractonia, the difficulty is in the rhythms and how the parts come together in counterpoint.
Legends of Fractonia is written over a droning meter of alternating seven-eight and five-eight measures. This, in and of itself, is not enough to make the piece difficult. And I do make use of many of what I call “rhythmic anchors”. These anchors are homophonic sections of the music that give everyone a chance the get calibrated before the next crazy bits. But even with the anchors, the meter and the rhythms make it a very difficult piece to pull together. It will require some serious rehearsal time.
That said, with proper rehearsal time and a conductor, Legends of Fractonia is doable. I typically don’t recommend conductors for trumpet ensembles, but with Legends of Fractonia a conductor would bring the difficulty down a couple notches.
Legends of Fractonia
Throughout most of Legends of Fractonia there is a drone. The drone is the original inspiration from which the piece was derived. The drone itself represents the mathematics of the environment from the Fractonia story (see Back Story below). The entire composition is built around this drone, sometimes displaying it prominently, at other times burying the drone deep down.
Around the drone, the trumpet parts explore that “territory” through a variety of different compositional mechanisms. There are fanfare sections, counterpoint sections, homophonic sections, and lyrical sections. The piece as a whole sounds like a genuine mathematical journey.
The middle section does manage to get away from the drone for a little while. It’s a more tonal section than the rest of the piece. What ties the middle section to the rest of the piece is the meter. It is still seven-eight and five-eight alternating throughout.
All of the parts in this trumpet octet untilize at least some flashy technique. There is double tonguing and fast runs. There are interesting intervals and tricky slur tongue patterns.
Fractonia Back Story
Legends of Fractonia was originally inspired by a book my wife, Pearl, wrote titled Fractonia. She wrote this book to help children better visualize fractions. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy book that follows the main character, Matthew, through his adventures in the land of Fractonia.
You can learn more about the Fractonia book by visiting Pearl’s website. Just click the button and it will take you there: