Title: Don’t Be Alarmed
Year Completed: 2011
Duration: 6 mins
Instrumentation: Any combination of woodwind, brass, percussion, piano, strings and/or voice; plus a stereo soundtrack played on a cd player, or a computer
Credits: Commissioned by the Nova Scotia Music Educators Association
Premiere: Friday Oct. 28, 2011 in Antigonish, NS.: Kings County Academy, Paul Hutten, director.

Purchase/Rent: Canadian Music Centre

A work for younger ensembles (grades 5 and up) that has an open instrumentation (voices, instruments, or both) for a flexible number of musicians. The work includes a recorded soundscape and a fully composed score for either a large or small ensemble. The score has a structured form and a straightforward and simple melody, unison or with one additional line, and contains some improvisation and interaction with the soundtrack. This format should make it possible for a large number of students, in both large and small schools, to share the rich experience of working with contemporary composition, written by a recognized composer who lives in Nova Scotia. The project is one that is being undertaken in celebration of the 50th anniversary of NSMEA.

Don’t be Alarmed, as the title infers, uses alarm sounds. Don’t be Alarmed was premiered and workshopped by students at the Kings County Academy in Kentville, Nova Scotia, under the direction of Paul Hutten. In the initial stage Paul’s students were asked to record sounds. They were simply told to find sounds that interested them. The result was a short sampler CD of sounds from their homes, and of particular interest, alarm sounds. Using this as a guide, I recorded similar sounds for the soundscape. This prompted me to record the alarms in my house: the house alarm, radio, oven-timer, also the car alarm, and a hand-cranked siren. The sound of a fire truck worked well. And a short clip of Paul's students in the play-ground is included. Synthesized sounds are added to lend rhythmic, and pitch content to the soundtrack. At the heart of the work performers are asked to experiment with cell phones and other alarm-like sounds.


Any combination of instruments and voices can be employed. The following list is only a guide. 

Note vocal parts for all instruments are always notated in C. That is, for every part the sung note sounds as written. When the instrumental part returns it is transposed again.

Piccolo C Treble High
Flute C Treble High or C Treble
Alto Flute G Bass (treble clef)
Bass Flute C Bass (treble clef)
Oboe C Treble
English Horn F Treble High
Bassoon C Bass or C Bass Low
Clarinet in Eb Eb Treble
Clarinet in Bb Bb Treble High, Bb Treble, or Bb Treble Low
Bass Clarinet in Bb Bb Bass Low (treble clef)
Alto Saxophone Eb Treble
Tenor Saxophone Bb Treble High
Baritone Saxophone Eb Bass (treble clef)

Trumpet in Bb Bb Treble of Bb Treble Low
Trumpet in C C Treble
Horn in F F Treble or F Bass
Trombone C Bass
Euphonium / Baritone C Bass or Bb Bass (treble clef)
Tuba C Bass (low)

Percussion instruments:

Non-Pitched: In addition to the normal array of percussion instruments (bass drum, snare drum, suspended cymbals, drum set, etc...) you should find alarm sounds, bell sounds, and other sounds that match the soundtrack. Follow the soundtrack notations in the score. Create sounds that blend with the soundtrack.

Pitched: Mallet instruments should play with the pitched rhythms on the soundtrack. OR play the treble and/or bass lines with the other instruments.

Piano: Read from the score. Play both the treble and bass lines.

Guitar (electric or acoustic) C Treble
Bass Guitar C bass

Violin 1 C Treble High
Violin 2 C Treble
Viola C Bass (alto clef)
Cello C Bass
Bass C Bass

derek charke dont be alarmed