A Unique Anniversary Present

by Jonathan Herz on August 26, 2010

We recently delivered a custom musical box which we are very excited about. The box was commissioned as a 20th wedding anniversary present. There are only two tunes, both performed at the wedding it commemorates. We were enormously pleased to have the services of Peter Mansfield (www.mansfieldmusic.net) to arrange the pieces for this musical box.

Arranging for musical box is a nearly lost art. With a sharp attack, enormous range, and short sustain in the treble, the musical box is at once versatile, articulate and challenging to arrange for. To these musical characteristics, add the mathematical complexities of choosing a comb scale: The arranger must specify which notes in the chromatic scale over six octaves he will and will not use over the course of arranging all the tunes on a box. Then he must choose which of these notes he will use more than once in a short interval as multiple teeth tuned to the same note will be required for these. Peter took on this challenge and, we think, succeeded brilliantly. The arrangements are rich and textured like traditional musical box arrangements yet free of the virtuosic excesses to which 19th century arrangements were prone. A traditional sound rendered fresh and original. Click here to hear this unique box play Simple Gifts. Peter is a composer, arranger, and keyboard player who has worked with many performers, including The Boston Pops, Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals, and Elisabeth von Trapp. Please visit his site to hear more of his work. We are excited to be working with him where new material and custom arrangement are required.

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