Hovhaness – And God Created Great Whales Sequence

This week’s sequence inspiration is a wild piece about Whales by American/Armenian composer Alan Hovhaness.

In his symphonic poem, And God Created Great Whales, Hovhaness uses aleatoric sections (In his words, “free non-rhythm chaos”), pentatonic melodies, and whale sounds to create a piece that captures the epic scope of giant whales in the ocean, the ruthless chaos of nature, the majestic beauty of nature, and humanity’s impact on nature. This piece is DEEP (pun intended)

My favorite part is @ 5:23 when the 3 trombones have layered glissandos that sound like a pod of whales talking to each other. Check it out in the video below.

This sequence is based on a pentatonic scale, and is a fantastic way to warm up your chops and dial in your intonation. You can hear the strings introduce this in the above video at 0:51. I like to gliss it AND slur it when I practice.

As always, start with a key or register that is familiar to get the hang of the lick before progressing to less familiar places. 

Horn players, I recently discovered how to change clefs mid-bar, so I have created a part that jumps into bass clef when it gets low. Please let me know if you need the part adjusted for any reason. 

Have any questions? Comment below, or leave a comment on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

Happy Practicing!!

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