Bag o’ Tails: A menagerie of (almost) 10 bagatelles for piano and unbreakable Native American medicine rattle

Although I first had the idea for a series of humorous animal sketches as early as 1974, I did not sit down and actually compose them until February-March of 2001. In fact, about the only thing left from the seminal ideas of a quarter century earlier is the title — a clear pun on the type of pieces these are: bagatelles. The almost in the subtitle was inserted because the fifth bagatelle (“The Manx,” not shown below) consists entirely of rests, the rationale being that since the manx has no tail.... The Native American Indian rattle comes in on the eighth bagatelle (“The Lizard”) which is played with the right hand on piano while keeping time with the rattle in the left. (Watch out for when the lizard loses his tail!) Several of these pieces are programmatic, while others are simply musical caricatures of the animals in question. All are rather tongue-in-cheek and should not be taken too seriously. This collection is dedicated to two lovely young ladies, Meredith and Melanie — cousins, actually, who were 6 and 4, respectively, at the time of writing. These bagatelles were clearly written with children in mind. (The sheet music for this work is currently available from Wolfhead Music.)

The Duckling (3:17)
The Squirrel (2:33)
The Armadillo (4:49)
The ’Possum (2:58)
The Mouse (4:45)
The Echidna (2:55)
The Lizard (1:29)
The Penguin (3:07)
The Tasmanian Devil (2:21)
Copyright 2001 by John Craton

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