Zachary Ridgway premieres The Cough Drop Song in San Antonio

The Cough Drop Song (2014), for singing pianist
Duration: c. 5:30 minutes
Bass Voice, F#2-C4 range*, with piano
*if transposition is requested, please contact the composer

The Cough Drop Song – Lyrics
This is a song about audience participation.  A pet peeve, a cardinal sin? Affliction of the cultured.  Maybe it’s worse than cell phones going off during a slow movement. Let’s begin. I am dressed to a tee and come out for a bow. I have practiced hundreds of hours… The bench height is right. The exposition goes great. Suddenly I hear it start and then it’s too late: A cough drop wrapper! You can blow your nose during my arpeggios.You can rummage in your purse.But, please, please DON’T unleash this aural curse.


Get out another cough drop.
Crinkle that wrapper one more time.
Unwrap it painfully slowly –
really, that’s just fine.
Get out another cough drop.
Bring enough to share.
Your friends will feel left out;
Now THAT would not be fair.

I have practiced not to get distracted. Don’t need silence while I play. The audience and I could listen to your lozenges all day.


Live performance is so tricky, as timing is everythin’. You resist until the music becomes pianissimo, then the crinkling can begin! Crinkle, crackle, ripple, rumple, crumple, wrinkle, crease.


In avoiding a cough you make people scoff. Few things are worse than this cure. Maybe next time if you truly care, bring your cough drops unwrapped, in a tupperware?!

You’re right. Concert hall acoustics are perfect for the delicate sound of crinkling plastic.


 Words & Music (c) 2014 by Yvonne Freckmann






Originally from Tennessee, pianist Zachary Ridgway grew up largely in Sofia, Bulgaria. An alumnus of Baylor University, Zachary is an eager performer with a strong interest in the music of Scriabin and of Messiaen. He is also an avid collaborator and chamber musician.
Zachary now teaches at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas; serves as church pianist at Trinity Baptist and at St. Peter’s Catholic Church; is a founder and organizer of Mozart Festival Texas; and devotes the remainder of his time to his dogs Hugo and Whiskey River (a rescue Boxer).

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