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Scoring & Instrumentation
At Least Four Instruments
Alternate Title
Trope for Variable Ensemble
Year Authored (or revised)
Duration (min)




Composer's Note:

The trope had its origin in the Middle Ages, at which time it was often the practice to embellish a traditional liturgical text (e.g., Introit, Kyrie, Gradual, etc.) with the insertion of another. These interpolations or tropes served as “commentaries” on the main text and were not meant to change the meaning or character. The consequent musical settings resulted in a body of literature that gained significance in later years. The civil rights protest song, We Shall Overcome, is the source material for Trope. The actual melody is deeply embedded in the musical texture, and, though unrecognizable, serves as the point of departure for fragments that embellish it.

Trope in its original version for alto saxophone and piano was premiered by John Sampen, alto saxophone, and Marilyn Shrude, piano, as part of a concert entitled Voices of Dissent, presented at Bowling Green State University on February 26, 2007. Subsequent reconstructions include the following: Trope for variable instrumentation and duration; Trope for acoustic and pre-recorded saxophones with animation; a fixed media micropolyphonic realization recorded by John Sampen, James Fusik and Jeffrey Heisler for CDCM Computer Music Series Volume 38. Music from Bowling Green State University, MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music; Trope for saxophone and MAX MSP as realized by Noa Even and John Fielder; and TROPE, a collaborative video. 2015. Marilyn Shrude (music), Erwin Redl (kinetic light installation), John Sampen (saxophone), Michiko Saiki (video).


Score bundle includes transpositions for C, B-Flat, F, and E-Flat instruments, as well as a piano score. Instruments must have a range of F#3 to A#4.

First Perfomance
John Sampen, Emily Bair, Joel Diegert, Kathryn Hachey, Carl Wiggins, alto saxophones; Chiesa Evangelica Battista — Florence, Italy. 6/19/07


Text Language - Non English


Text Source/Author


Title Number
Ensemble Type
Open inst, variable options, or undefined
Music by women


Files & Media





Sample Pages


Purchase Options
PDF License & Download
PDF Price
Print & Ship
$14.00 set of scores