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Choctaw Animals

Charles Shadle
7 min 30 sec
1. Chulhkvn (Spider)
2. Nvni (Fish)
3. Nashoba (Wolf)
4. Issuba (Pony)

Though Choctaw Animals may be performed as a suite, or set of pieces, any of the movements may be performed separately or in smaller groupings. I do think that if you play all of them, it is probably best to play them in the order in which they appear in the score. The tempo indications provide a general framework, and pianists may want to play
the pieces slightly slower, or slightly faster. What is important is that the mood or character of the music is clearly expressed. I have marked the use of the pedal only when
essential. Otherwise, players are free to use the pedal as they see fit, though in general the
music should feel clean and clear. Players may want to use the “una corda” or “soft pedal” occasionally, and especially in the third piece.
1. Chulhkvn (Spider)—pronounced “choth-kan”. In this piece two similar musical lines suggest the artful weaving of the spider.
2. Nvni (Fish)—rhymes with “honey”. The movements of the fish, as it darts through murky water provided the inspiration for this piece.
3. Nashoba (Wolf). The stealthy and mysterious nature of the elusive wolf is expressed in this piece. Imagine a dark wood, where you have a sense of being watched by unseen eyes.
4. Issuba (Pony). A rare and historically important breed of pony, that is actively being brought back from near extinction, has come to symbolize the qualities of resilience and strength that characterize the Choctaw people. The music of this piece reflects the rhythm of hoof-beats, and is joyful and optimistic.

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