Here is the soundtrack for the scene that I’ve chosen from Petty Magic.
If you want to read more about the book, Petty Magic and the author, Camille DeAngelis, please see this post.
If you haven’t read the book yet, stop right here! I won’t be giving any big secrets away on this particular post but if you want to experience it without any prior information, this is your warning.
The section of Petty Magic that I chose to illustrate sonically is the making and enchanting of the magic house at the winter holidays.
One of our best traditions is the gingerbread house, which we
work on for an entire month beforehand. It may seem a quaint pastime
by ordinary standards, but we’re making a model of Harbinger House.
Everything in it is made out of sugar, which can be spun so finely it’s
clear as glass, even the fishbowl on the kitchen counter. Family heir-
looms are replicated in miniature, carved out of gumdrops or rock
sugar, and all the furniture is made of Belgian dark chocolate. We use
graham crackers and vanilla frosting too, of course. And who knew
you could get a full palette mixing the food coloring ordinary families
use for dying Easter eggs? It was our gingerbread Harbinger House
ritual that inspired Mira to take the confectionery course at that fancy-
pants culinary academy in New York.
The model is built in halves so that you can open it and peer into
each of the rooms, even the ones that exist only for the occasion. We
also fashion a sort of candy golem for each guest as well as ourselves;
some are molded out of chocolate, others cobbled together with
almonds and sultanas. Even the tabby cat is replicated in candied ginger.
The house is displayed on a table in the foyer and all the candy golems
arranged on the table outside the entrance. Then Helena enchants our
grand creation, and the gingerbread house is a complete mirror of the
real thing: candy ladies scurrying between kitchen and dining room;
candy children making merry (and making naughty); the chocolate
figures of all the local beldames climbing the front porch just before
the real doorbell rings, and others vanishing off the tabletop just before
they appear inside the WC. When we were children we could spend
hours at a time giggling at every tiny chocolate dame that popped
out of the marzipan toilet. On a more practical note, mothers can
ensure the kiddies are all in their beds without going up two flights of
stairs to check.
I knew that I wanted this to have a very cheery, bright sound. I chose A major for the key and mostly bell-type instruments. Celesta, and a music box are the two primary sounds. Harp and strings accompany with a few percussion instruments, ratchet, glockenspiel, and woodblocks. There are some wooden puppets that I hope the blocks foreshadow musically.
I hope that you like the piece and that I’ve captured the scene. I had to think about what it would look like in a movie so with the help of a friend who’s expert in video, I divided the scene into three. The first part, we see the building of the house and its contents by Mira. The second part, we see the enchanting of the house and the correspondence to the real house. We also experience the delight of the children. The ratchet starts the third section and we see and hear someone disappearing when they go into the WC. I also see this last part as the transition back to the adults as they use the candy house to check on the sleeping children.
Thanks go to:
Isabelle MacCrimmon, my expert in all things video.
Sonic Couture for the free music box sounds. When I heard them, I knew they’d be perfect for this project. Get them here.
And of course, most of all to the author, Camille DeAngelis. Loved this book and I’m looking forward to reading many more from her.