October 12, 2009: Touch March Edition

Today is the birthday of Ralph Vaughan Williams, one of my favorite composers.  One of his most famous pieces was written for military band in 1924, and it also happens to be one of my marches to listen to.  Translated from Italian, it literally means “touch march,” but I still prefer to call it Toccata Marziale.  What makes this march unusual is the fact that it was written in 3/4 meter.  (Most marches are written in 4/4 time.)  Ralph Vaughn Williams is able to compensate for the time not coming straight ahead by shifting the melody across measure bars and simply ignoring stressed syllables. In this regard Ralph Vaughn Williams was much like my other favorite, Percy Grainger, in that he just didn’t care enough about convention to give a damn what the critics would say.  I’m putting it down in MP3 format for you, so all you have to do is right click it and “save target as” to your own hard drive.   This MP3 plays with Windows Media Player.  It sounds best when you play it loudly and turn the bass up, so you can dance around your room naked to the tuba part.




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