Fantasia Upon A Cabbage - Guitar Quartet

Fantasia Upon A Cabbage - 4 guitars/large ensemble

For School Music Teachers and for adults with a sense of the ridiculous...

As a Guitar Teacher I often have to teach beginners how to read music, and of course the seven names of the musical notes can be made to spell words. Like CABBAGE.

This, then, is a little piece of kitchen-based nonsense, cooking up a rather unappetising dish comprising cabbage, egg, beef and a lot, lot more cabbage. I’ve arranged it (if that is the word) to include nods to the renaissance and baroque periods.

As well as EGG, you’ll find some GEG (that’s scrambled egg) and a BAD EGG (and some sad music). You’ll also find that the recipe includes a helping or two of BEEF.

Bach comes in for a special mention, as there’s a fugue-like section where the subject comes in a fifth away from the starting key (which I’ve loosely interpreted as being a recipe in a foreign language) and there’s some stretti (well, just about) at the end, when the fugue subjects overlap a tiny, tiny amount. And we also pay homage to the pedal section of an organ, where the CABBAGE subject comes in down low at half the speed of the original.

The final, jazzy, chord at the end contains seven notes that collectively spell CABBAGE.

Guitar 4 is supplied in treble and bass clefs - either or both will work in a large ensemble.

So there are lots of teaching points, lots of things to ask the audience to listen out for, and a lot of mischief in a compact piece.

The musical refrain CABBAGE is not the greatest motif to work with, but on reflection, when you have this much cabbage, it’s much better to listen to it than have to eat it...

  • See also my version for String Quartet

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