Karl King ~ American Composer

This week we stuck close to home as we found a composer to study.

I did a random google search for American Composers; I was looking for some great Movie/Show Tune composers….  and about half way through the list I realized many of them were transplants to the U.S. not natives…

I stumbled onto Karl King.  A Bandmaster and Composer from Canton, Ohio.  He was an only child and a self taught musician.  He was eleven when he used the money from his newspaper route to buy himself a coronet.

Other musicians in the Grand Army Band of Canton would help him learn how to play brass instruments and he only had 4 piano lessons and 1 harmony lesson in his whole life!  He learned to compose music by studying musical scores.

One of his most famous pieces is pretty iconic.  Listen, tell me if you start craving peanuts and cotton candy after you hear it.  I am certain it will make you smile and take you down a memory lane or two.

Here is another one that made me smile and made us strut around the kitchen keeping time.  Can you imagine how fast those brass players fingers are moving and how their lips look after playing this song?  yeesh!

After the circus life, King settled down in Iowa where he directed the Fort Dodge Municipal Band for the next 50 years.  He died in 1971 at the age of 80.

He composed over 300 works comprised of galops(yes, that is spelled correctly,it is the forerunner to a polka), waltzes, overtures, serenades and rags.  In addition to that number of works he also wrote 188 marches and screamers.  The music of Karl King has a very distinct sound and it is said that he did for circus marches what  Sousa did for the patriotic marches.

I hope you enjoyed what we learned this week about a composer from Ohio.

Link up and share who you have studied this week


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