Brave the River - coming spring 2024
Commissioned by the Keokuk High School Band
The story of a town on the Mississippi River, and how it came to be.
Roll for Initiative - A Symphonic Campaign
Speaking parts lovingly recorded by my D&D party.
Roll for Initiative is meant to be a symphonic walkthrough of a standard quest found in the game, Dungeons and Dragons, i.e., its namesake. Go into a dungeon, and fight a dragon. This piece plays a lot with motifs in order to convey a story, and in the spirit of the game, uses a bag of dice, and a few roleplaying moments for the band. This piece is available here at the website shop.
Ghost Town, ~3:50, Grade 3
Commissioned by the Mann Middle School Instrumental Program
This piece is a minor take on an old folk song often used in American Elementary music education. Old Brass Wagon is originally a fast paced, major key, barn dance with four verses. In this variation, I've twisted the harmony into minor and slowed down the melody to give it a spooky, ethereal sound. This piece is available in the "Shop" section of my website at this link, https://www.sheeranmusic.online/product-page/ghost-town.
Watercolors Fading, ~9:10, Grade 4
Performed by the University of Colorado Boulder, Concert Band
Commissioned by the Mile High Freedom Bands - Derek Hebert, Artistic Director
One of my favorite forms of visual art is watercolor. Often, painters use a fading technique that can create an infinite amount of shades in the visible color spectrum. Watercolors Fading is a very visual representation of the concept, “Infinite Diversity”, the name of the concert that this piece was originally written for. The piece is a theme and variation with each variation representing a different color, going in (mostly) rainbow order. Red, the color of strawberries, orange taken from the sunrise, a mischievous yellow, the dark greens of a pine forest, teal from the ocean, the beautiful blue-black of a night sky, a flash of white, and a brilliant violet that fades back into red to end the same way we began. This piece is available here at Murphy Music Press (https://murphymusicpress.com/products/w-944).
A Thousand Single Snowflakes, ~3:55, Grade 3
Written for the 2020 Middle School Outreach Ensemble at Colorado State University. The theme for that year was "Miscellaneous Gratitude" which I took to mean "being grateful for the little things". I love the season of winter, so for this piece I decided to be grateful for all of the single thousands of snowflakes that make up the whole of winter. This piece is available here at Murphy Music Press (https://murphymusicpress.com/products/w-742).
A Crown of Violets ~7:37, Grade 4-4.5
This piece is based on the poem fragment, Sappho 94. I have always loved the feeling of bittersweet, and this poem(my favorite of the Sappho Fragments), captures that feeling extremely well. The translation by Anne Carson is the one that I used to create this piece. The first line is striking and full of anguish, so the chime scrape starts off the piece. As the poem slows to an end, we start to lose more of her words, we are left with only fragments. I was inclined to reflect this with a section of cues to bring the piece to an end. Softly, delicately, no grove, no dance, no sound. This piece is available here at Murphy Music Press (https://murphymusicpress.com/products/w-741).
Molly on the Shore ~4:00, Grade 4.5-5
arr. for 6-part Flex Band
Found in A Gardener's Shed ~7:10, Grade 3.5-4
for 5-part Flex Band and Percussion Ensemble
Performed by the University of Northern Iowa Wind Ensemble
This piece has three different movements that can be played as an entire suite, or separately. It's intentionally a percussion heavy piece that uses a few unconventional instruments. The first movement is entitled Terracotta Toccata and focuses on the use of clay pots as instruments. The second movement, Seeds on the Hardwood Floor, uses mostly wooden and shaker based percussion and has a few sections for teachers to focus on "Create" from the NAfME standards of music. Scythe, Sickle, and Shears, focuses on metallic percussion and employs the use of the brake drum, some metal pipes, and some interesting effects for the timpanist. This piece is available here (http://murphymusicpress.com/products/w-650) at Murphy Music Press.
Remains of an Ancient Sea, ~1:48, Grade 0.5
for 3-part Full Flex Band and backing track
This piece is a part of the Beginning Band Adaptable Series, put together by Robert J. Ambrose, Mary Cogswell, and Sean Murphy. It is meant to be able to be played with a small or a large ensemble, depending on your band's needs. The percussion is simple and only needs a pair of drumsticks and a shaker instrument of some sort, so all of the percussionists can be playing. This piece, is available here, and the rest of the Beginning Band Adaptable Series is available here, at Murphy Music Press.