The Master Key
(beta test version)
Tom Duff


Pipe 1-2
Sing 10-11
Pipe 2-3
Sing 9-10
Pipe 3-4
Sing 8-9
Pipe 4-5
Sing 7-8
Pipe 5-6
Sing 6-7
Pipe 6-7
Sing 5-6
Pipe 7-8
Sing 4-5
Pipe 8-9
Sing 3-4
Pipe 9-10
Sing 2-3
Pipe 10-11
Sing 1-2
Pipe 11-12
Don't sing

Pipe 1-2, Sing 10-11:  C G A D   Pipe 2-3, Sing 9-10:  Gb Bb Eb       Pipe 3-4, Sing 8-9:  B Ab Db    
Pipe 4-5, Sing 7-8:  A C Eb F G   Pipe 5-6, Sing 6-7:  Bb C D Ab     Pipe 6-7, Sing 5-6:  B C# Gb B  
Pipe 7-8, Sing 4-5:  A G# F#       Pipe 8-9, Sing 3-4:  G E Bb Db     Pipe 9-10, Sing 2-3:  D A C    
Pipe 10-11, Sing 1-2:  E F# G#       Pipe 11-12, Don't sing:  F# A# C G                 


The Master Key is a composition for three to about five singers. You need at least three to delineate the harmony, but with more than about five or six it's likely to sound muddy. (There are instructions for larger groups below.) Each singer needs a pitch pipe, like "The Master Key" from Wm. Kratt Co. or something similar.

Each singer goes through the score one note at a time, sounding the pitch once on the pitch pipe and then singing the pitch repeatedly in a regular rhythm using the syllable "Doo". (It does not matter what octave you pick to sing in.)

As you progress through the score, the pitch pipe tones get longer and longer, and the number of "Doo"s gets smaller and smaller, until for the last few notes you're not singing at all. The score gives approximate timings, in beats at roughly M.M. = 60.(That is, the timings are roughly in seconds, but I don't expect stop-watch accuracy.) You should do four "Doo"s per beat, so when it says, for example, "Sing 4-5", you would be singing "Doo" about 16 to 20 times. All the singers singing pulses should synchronize.

You should decide ahead of time what order singers should start in. Each singer should enter when the preceding singer is almost ready to move from the first to the second note. You could do this two ways — the singers could guess when to enter or each singer could cue the following one. Exact synchronization of entries is not a requirement!

When the last singer finishes, the piece is over. The total time should come out to about 10 or 15 minutes.

Larger Ensembles

If you have more than five singers or so, the ensemble can divide into three to five groups of about equal size, one group to a part. Each group should appoint a leader who will play the pitch pipe part and conduct the rest of the group, giving a downbeat to start and a cutoff to end the group's "Doo"s on each note.