Hoverboard

Written: 2015

Price: full set $95; score $25

Commissioned By: The Lake Orion Schools' Band Directors and Boosters for their 2016 Symphonic Celebrations Concert

Duration: ca. 3:30

Grade Level: 3




October 21, 2015. Movie aficionados will likely recognize this date, especially if they adore films of the 1980s, for it is commonly referred to as “Back to the Future Day.” In Back to the Future II, Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) journeys ahead in time, and in one of the movie’s most memorable scenes McFly flees a shady set of individuals and commandeers a little girl’s scooter to help him escape. As McFly removes the scooter’s handlebars, making it into a skateboard, he notices that the base has no wheels: it floats above the ground, allowing the rider to soar through the air at a breakneck pace. Since the film’s premiere, fans have anxiously awaited the creation of a real, functional hoverboard, and although a prototypes exist, it remains unavailable to the mass public. In lieu of a flying device, inventors have ingeniously manufactured a motorized two-wheeled scooter; it is the average person’s closest option to McFly’s contraption, but its potential is unquestionably constrained by wheels and gravity.

Using these images as inspiration and drawing upon experience with his own motorized scooter, Montoya imaginatively portrays someone using a hoverboard for the first time. He nods to the soundscape of Alan Silvestri, who composed the music for the Back to the Future trilogy, by incorporating metallic percussion throughout, emphasizing the tritone interval, and recalling the initial three notes of Silvestri’s main theme at the very end of the piece. The opening music depicts the tingling excitement and awe of seeing the revolutionary apparatus. An ascending melody tries to build but is repeatedly stopped short, symbolizing the protagonist’s awkward fledging attempts to ride the machine. For a moment, a measure of success is found; however, as anyone who has tried to skateboard knows, balance is lost and falls occur. Hence the only way to master the hoverboard is to remount and persevere. At some point, practice makes perfect, confidence and fun overtake timidity, and the rider zooms around at an exhilarating speed. As a result, what was once highly anticipated and in the future now becomes a conquered thing of the past!