Get ready for a wild ride! This tribute to NASA is dominated by driving forward movement and interplay between instruments. Dedicated to the accomplishment of reaching the speed of sound, it practically breaks the sound barrier with challenging passages of breadth and excitement!
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 4 | Duration: 5:35
Alto Saxophone 1/2
Percussion 1 (Xylophone, Bells)
Percussion 2 (3 Roto-toms, Woodblock, Guiro, Tambourine)
Percussion 3 (Snare Drum)
Percussion 4 (Suspended Cymbal, Maracas)
Percussion 5 (Brake Drum, Bass Drum, Vibraslap)
For millennia man has been fascinated with speed. The fastest runner, ship, train, automobile, or airplane has been a signal of human achievement. On November 16, 2004 NASA‚s experimental X-43 ushered in a new era in flight by reaching Mach 10--10 times the speed of sound! The X-43 and other new designs are called “Waveriders” since they use their own shock wave to reach these incredible velocities
When asked to write a composition for the Tullahoma High School band, my thoughts immediately went to the impact that this community has had on aerospace development, including this next generation of aircraft. The U. S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center at Tullahoma is the home of our nation's largest complex of flight simulation test facilities. Virtually every flight system in use today, including all NASA spacecraft and the new X-43, have been tested in these facilities. In addition to the engineering center, Tullahoma is home to the University of Tennessee Space Institute and many companies and businesses that support the aerospace community, including Alliant Techsystems (ATK), who manufactured NASA’s X-43 waverider.
The composition Waverider is an energetic tribute to the spirit of innovation and accomplishment that characterizes these efforts. The music begins, and is interspersed with, loud hammered unisons accompanied by very active percussion rhythms, giving a sort of “industrial” sound aspect to the music. The primary thematic sections contrast a lively rhythmic melody with a soaring harmonic section that is meant to “lift” the listener much as the aircraft design lifts the plane to the next level. These ideas are developed and returned in different guises throughout the composition, sometimes in a playful manner and other times more dramatic.
- Greg Danner