Bumble Bee Boogie

arr. Paul Jennings

Maybe I'm weird, but I've always enjoyed bumblebees. They are the quiet, gentle members of the bee/wasp/hornet community of flying bee-like creatures. They spend their time peacefully pollinating our world, always a good thing, never thinking of stinging or attacking in angry throngs. Or so it has always seemed.

So for this issue's recorder feature, we are honoring the noble bumbler (as they were known where I grew up) with a unique blending of two different musical takes on our bumblebee friends. We combine "Flight Of The Bumblebee" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (an orchestral interlude for an opera) with the novelty tune "(I'm Bringing Home A) Baby Bumblebee." Actually, that second tune is sort of a rehash of "Arkansas Traveler" but the "Baby Bumblebee" tune is a lot of fun, so we will use that attribution.

Our setting starts with two bars taken directly from the descending chromatic line of "Flight Of The Bumblebee" and continues the chromatic line in triplets instead of sixteenth notes because swing and "boogie woogie" rhythms are pulled from triplets and broken triplets. These triplets continue until bar 5 where our "boogie" background starts in earnest with the rhythm section, trombones, and bari sax laying down the groove.

The basic tune is played realistically by the recorders, though in halftime over the boogie feel. They need to play D, E, G, A, and B. The melody is played twice, with the main difference during the repeat being a classic sax section countermelody. But there it heads into a fun, bumbly ending. That ending starts as the boogie stops in the first bar of the second ending. The orchestra lands on a D whole-tone chord that whooshes to a low drone. And over that drone we have strings improvising bumblebee sounds. Your players are invited to also imitate the bees, either with just their voices or with voices through their recorders. You can approximately time it in seconds or counts, cutting them off with the orchestra. But as you hear on the full track, if the sound continues it may not be all bad. (PJ)

You can access the piano/recorder score at our web site, if you wish to follow along. (See details in the box on page 78.)

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.