A performer's guide to the saxophone music of Sherwood Shaffer

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Andrew Paul Hays (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Steven Stusek

Abstract: "During his career, composer Sherwood Shaffer has written thirteen concert works for the saxophone. These compositions represent a wide range of instrumentation from solo saxophone with piano, saxophone quartets and other chamber works, to solo saxophone with full orchestral accompaniment. Despite their quality, these works occupy a relatively unknown niche of the saxophone repertoire. The purpose of this study is to provide a brief biography of Sherwood Shaffer and an overview of his works for saxophone, to analyze sections from several representative pieces from the standpoint of performance preparation, and to provide an overview of stylistic and technical challenges found in common among his works. Three works, Summer Nocturne for alto saxophone and piano, Charades for violin, tenor saxophone, and piano, and Sinfonia for saxophone quartet, were chosen from the set of thirteen to serve as the primary examples for this research. In order to obtain information about the origins and influences behind these works, the composer and several of the musicians who commissioned them were interviewed. Insights into the difficulties found in these works as well as historical data regarding their composition and premiere performances were gathered. Technical and textural challenges found in these works were identified through performance analysis. Shaffer uses complex textures, and the active nature of his individual parts creates difficulty during rehearsal and preparation. When learning these pieces, performers must identify melodic themes as they are passed from instrument to instrument. Only through proper ensemble balance and stylistic interpretation do the important melodic themes prevail. Other factors including interpretation of accent marks, proper use of written dynamics, and awareness of common melodic structures are examined. "--Abstract from author supplied metadata.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2007
Sherwood Shaffer, concert, works, saxophone, compositions, solo, piano, quartets, chamber works
Shaffer, Sherwood,--1934-
Saxophone music--Analysis, appreciation

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