Moondog and Benny Goodman

"I wrote this piece back in 1955 and dedicated it to Benny Goodman. It is in the swing style, though classically conceived. The form is called a ground, that is, a theme played over and over in the bass. Counting the ground, this piece is in seventeen-part counterpoint - every eight bars a new part comes in, and, once in, keeps repeating its eight bars to the end, which is a sustained chord. Visually, the piece would look like the side of a staircase, one made of solid stone, the first step being the ground, which is repeated to the end, as are all the superimposed parts, the second step being the first added part etc. Bass drum plays four beats to the bar with snare duplicating the rhythm of the ground. The ground, played pizzicato by the double bass, is reinforced midway by the tuba and contrabass cello. The first added part is for Goodie, and that part is played in the highest register of the clarinet on the last repeat, up high like Benny plays. The ground is not played in the same register all the way through, but alternates between two registers, an octave apart, starting low, then high, low, high etc. to the end." Moondog