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Old MacDonald's yellow submarine

Sheet Music: Score

Old MacDonald's yellow submarine : for toy piano, prepared piano and assorted bits / Erik Griswold

by Erik Griswold (2004)

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  • Library Availability: 786.28/GRI 1 — Available for loan
  • Instrumentation: Soloist playing prepared piano, toy piano and percussion.
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  • Audio Sample

    Performance by Margaret Leng Tan from the CD Works by Erik Griswold, Diana Blom, Mark Isaacs, Anthony Moles, Ros Bandt [and] Judy Bailey


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Old MacDonald's Yellow Submarine is an exploration of sounds with which I've been fascinated since childhood. Its varied sections range from nostalgic and wistful to playful and cheeky, drawing on influences as diverse as John Cage and John Lee Hooker.

Old Mac comprises six movements - On that farm, e-i-e-i-o, Pink Memories, Chooks! (Australian for "chickens"), Bicycle Lee Hooker, and Old MacDonald's Yellow Submarine - each using a different combination of instruments, including prepared piano, toy piano, wood blocks, and miniature music boxes. Knowing the skill and dedication of Margaret Leng Tan, I pushed the limits of toy instrumental virtuosity by asking her to coordinate a bicycle bell, bicycle horn, train whistle, and toy piano in Bicycle Lee Hooker, a right brain-left brain extravaganza.

I arrived at the title of the suite, a conjunction of Old MacDonald had a farm and Yellow Submarine, when I took the tines (or melody) of one music box and crossed them with the barrel (or rhythm) of another to produce the surprising hybrids heard in the sixth movement. (The third movement similarly combines the pitches of The Pink Panther with the rhythm of Memories).

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (21p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 16 min.

Contents note:

On that farm - E-i-e-i-o -- Pink memories -- Chooks! -- Bicycle Lee Hooker -- Old Macdonald's yellow submarine.

Dedicated to Margaret Leng Tan

Commissioned for Margaret Leng Tan with funds provided by Australia Council. Music Board.

First performance by Margaret Leng Tan — 13 Mar 15. San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

Includes performance notes.

Selected as one of the 'Recommended Works' at the 2010 International Rostrum of Composers forum held in Lisbon.

Typeset edition.

ISMN: 979-0-720156-32-3

Related products

This work is also available in the following products:

Works by Erik Griswold, Diana Blom, Mark Isaacs, Anthony Moles, Ros Bandt [and] Judy Bailey
CD: Works by Erik Griswold, Diana Blom, Mark Isaacs, Anthony Moles, Ros Bandt [and] Judy Bailey

CD: One / Claire Edwardes.


- Browse other works for Toy piano music

- Browse other works by Erik Griswold

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