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Suit Suite for Three Euphoniums and Three Tubas


Sy Brandon

Year of composition





Difficult (Grades 7+)


9 minutes


Modern classical music



Instrumental parts

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This composition, composed for the Kansas State University Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, is inspired by the suits of a deck of cards and their associated representations. It is in one continuous movement that is divided into four sections. Spades (death) is a funeral march that uses frequent dotted rhythms, outbursts of anger, and a lyrical, somber descending melody. A change of mood that is accomplished by brightening the harmony leads into Hearts (romance). This section follows a loose AABA form. The A sections contain lyrical lines and lush harmony. The B section is freer in rhythm and represents a dialogue between two lovers. The last measure of this section introduces a dotted rhythm motive that is used throughout the next section, Diamonds (riches). This section is subtitled �riches� instead of �wealth� because �riches� implies money for money�s sake rather than the benefits it can buy. It is in the style of a frenzied waltz as if those with the riches are at an elaborate ball totally unaware of the restlessness going on around them. Towards the end of this section, a chromatic line begins to insert itself, suggesting the uprising and war (Clubs) that follows. A flutter-tongued chord transitions the listener into Clubs (war) section. This section begins powerfully with repeated chords resembling people shooting at each other. The shooting motif appears frequently throughout. Different melodic ideas represent the battle between the euphoniums and the tubas. The tide of the battle keeps going back and forth, but nobody actually wins. The piece ends with the sound of death and destruction, therefore starting the cycle of the suits over again.

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