Nancy T. Hansen Theatre at Purdue University Theatre


Written by George Farquhar
Adapted by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig
Directed by Richard Sullivan Lee
Sound Design by Austin Mullen
Music Composition by Jeff Sherwood
Music Composition Concept

This play is a story of two young men who unexpectedly find true love on the search to make more money.  Utilizing the styles and themes of the social dance music of the 17th and 18th century, the music score will contain themes of love and deception to flow with Aimwell and Archer’s change of heart when they find true love.  The scene transition music will employ driving rhythms and upbeat tempos to propel the action and fast pace of the story.  Short bursts of music will also highlight audience address moments when stepping out of the world.  The entire feeling of the music score will be light and jovial to maintain the comedic elements throughout this adaptation of late Restoration Comedy. 

Aural Research

When researching 17th and 18th century music, I found many pieces composed by Beethoven, Bach, Handel.  These well-known composers didn't quite carry the right quality of music I was after.  Given the light air of this Restoration comedy play, I searched for music that was also light and happy.  As a team we discussed how there were never really any dark moments in the show.  Upon further research into the time period, I stumbled across information on court dances and country dances.  Much of the dance music was composed by choreographers known as the dancing master.  One such dancing master was John Playford.  His pieces seemed to really capture the vibrancy of the era.  

Music Composition Process

Weekly meetings with the sound designer, director, and choreographer yielded an in-depth understanding of the intents behind Farquhar's story and Lee's direction.  The music for the finale dance scene was needed far in advance so that the choreographer had time to work with the music and create the dance sequence.  We settled on the tune "Grimstock" from John Playford's The Dancing Master.  The rest of the sound score was inspired by this music.  

The instrumentation was divided between two worlds:

  • Lady Bountiful's House - Chamber string quartet - Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass

  • Boniface's Country Inn - Country band - Fiddle, Flute, Piccolo, Lute, Guitar, Double Bass

After an initial arrangement of "Grimstock," I proceeded to add in ornamentation.  The sound score was created with sampled instruments from Native Instruments Komplete and East West Play within Digital Performer.  In efforts to help the sampled instruments sound more real, we recorded a live musician playing the fiddle and violin parts in the sound score.  Additional ornamentation was added to "Grimstock" including live recorded finger cymbals, guitar, and cajon. These added parts gave further life to the piece and enhanced the driving rhythm.

Production Photos

Click on an image below for a detailed explanation

Sound Cue Samples

Complete Music Cue Sheet

Click below to listen to sound cue samples.

Sheet Music

Click on an image below for a detailed description.


Click on an image below for a detailed explanation.


© 2020 Jeff Sherwood. 

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