George Washington's Teeth
Composed by Sonny Burnette (b. 1952)
Published by Pine Castle Music Publications
Includes score and parts
2 Piccolos, 4 C Flutes, Alto Flute, Bass Flute, and Percussion
Percussion: snare drum, wood block, and suspended cymbal (one player)
Contrary to American legend, George Washington's teeth were not made of wood. Our first president certainly did have his share of dental problems, howerever, and owned a number of sets of dentures. His first set of choppers were made from hippopotamus ivory and gold, carved by hand, and held in place with metal springs. Being a bit too large for his mouth, the dentures produced the peculiar facial expression seen in many of his portraits.
The march is introduced with a revolutionary-flavor fife and drum sound. The astute listener may detect a few bars from I'll Never Smile Again prior to the entrance of the flute chior. Following the introduction, the form of the march follows the typical scheme: first and second strains, trio and break strain.
Since it is rather difficult to find percussion instruments manufactured from hippo ivory these days, George Washington's choppers will be musically represented by the wood block, thus perpetuating the erroneous notion that the false teeth of our founding father were made of wood.