March 03, 2006

Sandpaper Ballet

Sandpaper is not just for's also used in making music!

Are you familiar with the American composer Leroy Anderson? He was best known for his short, light concert music pieces that are still played at pop concerts around the world. He's probably most well known for the songs "The Syncopated Clock" which was the theme music on The Late Show years ago and "The Typewriter" which included the sounds of a real typewriter in the music.

My favorite however, is of course, The Sandpaper Ballet. Written in 1954, Anderson tries to imitate the sound of soft-shoe dancers as they hoof-it across the old wooden stage that's been sprinkled with sand. The story goes that he rubbed 3 different grits of sandpaper on a block of wood during the piece to get the desired percussive sounds.

Go to and listen to a sound clip. Sandpaper Ballet is #17 on the list. It'll make you smile and maybe even buy the whole CD to listen to!
Leroy Anderson Favorites
If listening inspires you to buy your own sandpaper, visit our website at

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