One evening, while playing a contemporary piece with her local Community Orchestra, Mrs. Shapiro noticed how much difficulty many of the string players had in counting 5/5 time, and in switching meters, even though the notes themselves were very simple. She reflected on how band musicians were introduced to mixed meter during their second or third year of study. However, most string students concentrated on classical music, and rarely had exposure to more modern rhythms, mixed meters, and layered meters. She was determined to created a piece of music for very young string players which would familiarize them with this type of counting.
As a first step, BY THE NUMBERS was written in a pattern so that the metric changes always come in the same sequence: 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4.
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