2001 Kazoos (Also Sprach Zarakazoostra)

Richard Strauss/arr. Paul Jennings

What a perfect way to start this special new year. This dramatic opening to Richard Strauss' dramatic tone poem Also Sprach Zarathustra was popularized some 30 years ago as the theme to Stanley Kubrick's revolutionary film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Since that time, the tune has become almost a programmatic cliché - whenever someone wants to portray an awakening or a powerful beginning. It's funny that most of your kids will know this melody, most likely from a commercial or use in a movie or TV, and seldom because of its part in the original movie or as part of Strauss' larger work.

It was such a natural that we took great care to arrange it for full orchestra, and record it well. Please listen to just the tracks and share them with your students. Discuss its origins and larger context.

In performance, the kazoo part is pretty self-explanatory. With younger groups, you may want to eliminate the pick-ups in bars 4, 8, and 12. At the very least, you will need to do some subdividing as you conduct... and understand that perfection will be hard to attain. A serious demeanor and very "proper" staging will make this even funnier for the audience.

There is no magic way of playing the Boomwhackers®, but we will tell you that in the studio we find that the richest sound comes from playing them so that the side is struck against the top of a wooden chair or high stool. This provides a solid surface at about the right height, and nice projection from the tube. We used only Bass Boomwhackers®, though the regular ones will work just fine, too. You can divide the notes anyway you like, but the first bars of C and G are very effective if they are played by one player, timpani-style. Also, combining two notes per player during the final roll makes it easier to get an even roll. Use as many instruments as you like.

One last programming thought: You may wish to go from the ending of this piece directly into "Eine Kleine Kazoo Musik," another wacky kazoo feature originally published in Music K-8, Vol. 6, No. 2, and also available as a Singles Reproducible Kit.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.