We've created special ALL IN
parts for you to learn.
During the Concert for the Planet, Conductor-Cam will guide players through the bar numbers and count players in to ensure everyone follows the score and knows when to play their part. These ALL IN parts are designed for everyone so you can join in an play your part for the planet.
Watch the video of Global Orchestra Ambassador Monica Trapaga and learn how to play along during the performance.
Throughout Mars, the Bringer of War, Holst has employed a repeated rhythmic theme or motif. It looks like this:
Every instrument in the orchestra plays this at some point during this movement, however at the very beginning of the piece we see it in the violins, harp and timpani, who are playing it at a very soft dynamic - p. Gradually, over the course of the piece, they increased their dynamic, and more instruments join them, until one point where the whole orchestra is playing this motif in unison at an extremely loud dynamic - fff.
For our Global Orchestra, we'll be playing this motif on different sized tubs and buckets, from little tiny containers like plastic cups through to huge tubs like garbage bins (make sure you clean them out first!).
First, each performer will need five different sized plastic tubs or buckets, for example:
1. A plastic cup
2.A largish piece of tupperware
3.A regular bucket
4. An old industrial sized paint bucket
5.A garbage bin
Whatever you have handy will be fine, but it's important that you have five different sized containers, as these will help us add variety to the motif throughout the piece.
Next, label the containers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 from smallest to biggest. Your containers will correspond to the notes on the staff, with 1 being the smallest and highest sound, to 5 being the biggest and deepest sound:
Then experiment with your containers. How do you make a very soft sound? How do you make a very loud one? This will be important as you play through the piece.
Finally, as we play through the piece, your conductor will signal when you need to change from one sized bucket to another, how loud you need to play, and when you need to stop.
Watch Monica as she shows you how play along to Mars.
There are a number of repeated themes or motifs in Jupiter:The Bringer of Jollity, but in the middle of the movement is a stirring passage that appears only once. When he was composing Jupiter, Holst decided to include an arrangement of a nationalistic hymn called I Vow To Thee, My Country. Apart from a tiny moment towards the end of the piece, it's the only section of Jupiter with a distinct key signature - E flat Major. We'll be playing in this section.
For this section, we'll be using two homemade instruments: marbles in bowls and different lengths of PVC pipe.
Marbles in Bowls
For this, you'll need a marble and a bowl. The marble is easy: any marble will do, and you can buy a whole bag from a toy shop for a few dollars. The bowl is not just any bowl though. The best kind of bowl will be:
- ceramic, porcelain or glass (metal bowls will be too clangy, while clay, earthenware or plastic bowls are too dull)
- largish (e.g. a fruit bowl or mixing bowl will be perfect, even a big breakfast or soup bowl can work, but a tiny bowl is no good)
- not your mother's priceless heirloom from 1892 (because she will kill you).
Additionally, we're looking for bowls that have a specific pitch. You might notice that if you strike an empty bowl with something hard, such as a spoon, it will usually make a nice, clean ringing noise like a bell, and each bowl will sound different from another one, even bowls that look the same. These bowls all have different pitches, just like keys on a piano.
What you need to do is go out and find a bowl that matches one of two pitches: E flat or B flat. To do this, play these notes on your instrument and then compare them to the sound the bowl makes when you strike it. You want to try to find a bowl that matches one of these notes as closely as possible.
When it comes time to play your bowl, quietly place your marble inside and gently roll the bowl around in your hands. The marble will roll around the inside of the bowl and make a soft ringing noise. The faster you roll the marble, the louder it will get. Careful not to roll it too fast or it will fly out!
For this, you're going to need eight lengths of PVC piping, which you can get either from a hardware store or else from scraps a plumber friend might have. You'd be surprised how many folks have random bits of PVC piping lying around in their garage.
Just like the bowls, we're looking for pipes that match specific pitches. Unlike the bowls however, we can adjust pipes to match our needs. How do we do that? By cutting them to certain lengths! It works the same as say a violin or guitar: when a player puts their finger on a string, they're actually shortening the length of that string, and in doing so, making it a higher pitch. So by cutting a pipe to match a certain length, we're making it match that pitch.
These are the pitches we're going to make. They're the notes in the Eb major scale. We've colour-coded them, so when you make your pipes you can paint them to match the notes, making it easier to follow the music:
Making the pipe instrument
There's a little bit of mathematics involved in making an instrument out of PVC pipe. The pitch of the note is affected by many things: the length of the pipe, the diameter of the pipe, even the temperature of the air in the room you're playing. To keep things simple, we're going to presume you'll be using PVC pipe with a diameter of around 4-5cm (which is pretty common). You'll need a responsible person to cut the pipe to the following lengths:
Eb - 108.3 cm
F - 96.2 cm
G - 85.4 cm
Ab - 80.4 cm
Bb - 71.3 cm
C - 63.2 cm
D - 56.0 cm
Eb - 52.7 cm
Once you've cut the pipes to the correct length, we suggest you paint them or mark them with the colour corresponding to the pitch in the music. It keeps things easy when you've got a whole room full of pipers playing at once!
Playing the pipes
The great thing about this instrument is that one set of pipes is easily played by a group of people. We suggest you'll need either four or eight people for each set of pipes.
If you have eight people, each person takes a pipe and stands in order of the scale (Eb, F, G etc).
If you have four people, each person has two pipes according. We suggest dividing them up so:
Person 1: Low Eb and Bb
Person 2: F and C
Person 3: G and D
Person 4: Ab and High Eb
To play the pipes, you have to hit one end with something hard. Some people drop them end first on the ground (they sound best on a thin carpet over solid ground, rather than directly onto something hard, just FYI), while others hold them in their hands and hit them with a thong. Experiment!
Neptune is the final movement of The Planets and is the most mysterious and ethereal of the seven pieces. One of the elements that make Neptune so ghostly is the appearance of a choir of women's voices in the last third of the piece. The choir isn't even on stage, with Holst giving instructions that they are to sing in a room backstage of the orchestra, and for the door to the room they are singing in to slowly be closed in the very final bar so as to create the sensation of the voices fading into nothing. It's pretty clever when you think about it...
Our contribution to this other-world sound will be whirly pipes. These instruments are a piece of cake to make: you'll need some grey water pipe. That's it. You can buy a 10 meter roll from a hardware store for less than $20, and you can cut about 6-7 from each roll.
You'll need two pipes, one pitched at G and one pitched at E. Cut them at these lengths and label them clearly:
E= 102 cm
G= 85 cm
To play this instrument, spin the pipe around your head like a helicopter. Make sure everyone has plenty of room!