Hanna, Barbera & Curtin - Meet the Flintstones
Interpreting the Music
Teaching & Learning the Piece
Hanna, Barbera & Curtin: Meet the Flintstones
• No key signature but many accidentals
• Lively tempo
• Jazzy rhythms with syncopation strongly featured
• Chord playing in both hands
• Leaps of up to an octave
• Suitable for small hands but requires strength and agility
• Wide dynamic range
• Tricky to play well
This well-known cartoon theme will suit students with good coordination and showmanship. There are plenty of challenges including mixed articulations, syncopated rhythms, chord playing, jumping, and big dynamic changes. The best performances will have been very carefully prepared and then played with lots of personality and panache.
The original theme tune can be found here:
However, there is no need to play it this fast!
Coordination of the different rhythms in each hand will make HT playing a slow process at first. It is vitally important not to rush this stage, and you may need to be very clear to students about enforcing this. Many will want to play it up to speed as soon as possible and may neglect the precise directions of the score, playing partly by ear instead. It will not be suitable for exam performance if its details have not been practised slowly. Otherwise it would be better to keep it as a fun piece and choose something else for the exam.
Fitting appropriate, made-up words or phrases to the rhythms can be an easy way of promoting understanding and accuracy, whereas counting will be vital for some students, to ensure correct delivery of the jazzy syncopated rhythms. Measure out all the quavers in bars 1 and 2 - and tap LH first, which makes the repetition of it easier to grasp. The RH is also repetitive but cuts the bar up differently. Some will pick this up by ear without any trouble but for those who are struggling, it may even be worth getting them to draw patterns to help them understand how it all fits together.
If the player is unable to jump for the last chord, a repeat at the same pitch could be preferable to a completely inaccurate chord. This certainly removes a difficulty, which is the need to move in opposite directions with only a very short time to reposition the RH in a specific shape. However, it is worth practising the jump as a technical exercise (and for the sense of achievement).
Fingering: in bar 1 those with a weak finger 5 may prefer to open with RH fingers 4 and 2, LH finger 4. For the jump to E flat, larger hands will possibly want to use 2, but smaller hands will need to make a good landing with the thumb.
Phrasing and articulation are mostly left to the performer’s discretion, with only a few staccato and tenuto marks in the score. The style is quite punchy so there is no need to aim for a flowing legato! Some of the repositioning will dictate a detached note, and this can provide an initial guide to articulation. One possible result of this could be. Phrases, mostly of 4 bars or 2+2, suggest themselves naturally in the way the music follows a question-and-answer pattern.
The dynamics get really quiet in the middle – playing the same music as the opening, but pp instead of ff. Bar 5 should not sound like an exact replica of bar 1 either. Bar 14 seems, very challengingly, to go from pp to ff in only 6 notes, but in effect the crescendo will start before that bar and continue through the next. There is no need to worry too much about hitting ff at the start of bar 15, and it will be just as effective simply to keep getting louder to the end.