Trona generally arranges music of easy-to-moderate difficulty for small, mixed woodwind ensembles. Most pieces are arrangements of familiar tunes in the public domain, although there are a few original items, usually directed at specific teaching points.
A lot of the material was developed for the ‘Blow and Blast’ workshop programme for adult learners in Perthshire and Central Scotland. Other pieces were arranged for junior school groups or mixed-ability ensembles of family and friends. Most can be played one-to-a-part, or with several players to each part. There will also be some items for flute, clarinet and bassoon trio and a few ‘curiosities’ coming soon!
Much of the charm of small woodwind ensembles lies in the opportunity to exploit the very different tone colour and character of the various instruments. This is often lost in mainstream published arrangements in pursuit of a more cost-effective ‘flexible’ instrumentation designed for the educational market. This ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach tends, as with clothing, to translate as ‘one size may do for all but probably won’t fit anyone very well’. Consequently, while there is the potential for a degree of flexible instrumentation in many of these arrangements, the priority is to create relatively straightforward parts in terms of technical demands, allowing the players to focus on their ensemble skills.
Too many school and amateur groups over-face relative beginners with material which is completely beyond them. At the other extreme, some arrangements for novice players can be so straightforward that they are tedious and unsatisfying to perform, particularly for those who do not have the melody. Trona aims to strike a happy medium!