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"Mediocrity Lane"

Title Mediocrity Lane
ComposerF.G.J. Absil
Instrum.Studio Orchestra
DateApril 2006
StyleLatin - Mambo
KeyAb - Bb
Tempo160 BPM


A musical score excerpt
  • Piccolo, Flute 1-2, Oboe 1-2, Bassoon 1-2;
  • Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone (doubling on Bb Clarinet), Tenor Saxophone 1 (doubling on Bb Clarinet), Tenor Saxophone 2 (doubling on Bb Clarinet), Baritone Saxophone (doubling on Bb Bass Clarinet);
  • French Horn 1-2, Trumpet 1-2-3-4, Trombone 1-2-3, Bass Trombone;
  • Guitar, Piano, Bass Guitar, Drums;
  • Timpani, Harp, Percussion (2 players: bar chimes, claves, congas, maracas, shaker, suspended cymbal, triangle), Mallets (glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone);
  • Strings (Vi1, Vi2, Vla, Vc, DB).


This piece, entitled Mediocrity Lane, is a relaxed Latin Mambo in Ab for studio orchestra. There are two ad lib solo sections for vibraphone and soprano saxophone.

The dominant pedal introduction features woodwind, percussion and harp in the high register and contains a bell-like scalar figure for woodwind and divisi strings, that runs unisono into the bass register. The main theme [A] (m. 17) is presented by the big band section (bucket mute brass and the lead doubled an octave lower in the guitar); its b-section is orchestrated for winds and strings, interspersed with brass accents. A short bridge, m. 35-42, leads to the first ad lib solo section [B] for vibraphone (optional repeats with background). The main theme is presented in varied form in [C] (m. 61), in a woodwind and string combination. Suddenly pizzicato strings take over the main motive in [D] (m. 79) at a slightly slower tempo. This is followed by a number of variations on the main theme: woodwind and harp (m. 85-92), saxophone section [E] (m. 97-104) and once again woodwind plus strings (m. 105-111). A tutti forte bridge with polychords leads to the second ad lib solo section [F] (m. 117), now for soprano saxophone (again, optional repeats with string cluster harmonic background). After a crescendo transitional phrase (m. 133-136), the piece moves into a more tranquil setting [G] (m. 137): the mambo rhythm is first presented by a light harp and xylophone, with tremolo string background, after which the solo woodwind play another (staccato) variation on the main theme, interspersed with 6/8 rhythm pizzicato strings. At [H] (m. 146, Meno mosso) there is a counterpoint-like chorale setting of the main motive, first for brass, then for strings and clarinets. The second polychordal crescendo tutti bridge leads into a montuno section [J] (m. 171), that gradually builds into a tutti climax. A 4-part imitation of the montuno bass motive moves in the high register, with the material from the introduction now presented in the new key of Bb [K] (m. 197). The main theme is repeated in [L] (m. 207, now for open brass) and leading to a climax (m. 215-222), just before the start of the coda [M] (m. 223). This is based on earlier bridge material (see m. 35-42), and after an imitation in 6/8 meter (m. 233-236, with pizzicato strings background) leads to a mysterious murmuring in the tremolo strings that is interrupted by two final fortissimo big band accents.

The recommended minimum number of string players is 10-8-6-4-2.