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Big Cage, The

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Karl King

Karl King (arr. Andrew Glover)

Subtitle: Circus Galop

General Info

Year: 1934 / 2004
Duration: c. 1:13
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C. L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts - $65.00   |   Score Only - $5.00


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophone I-II
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Cornets/Trumpets I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium (Bass Clef & Treble Clef)
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Bells


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Dedicated to Clyde Beatty, famous lion trainer.

- Program Note from score

You can smell the cotton candy and sawdust with this rollicking galop from Karl King. Dedicated to famous lion trainer Clyde Beatty, The Big Cage is accelerated fun for performers and audiences. This first-ever concert sized edition of The Big Cage incorporates the performance practices of the composer and while not simplified, makes this galop accessible to bands of medium to advanced levels. How fast can you go???

- Program Note by publisher

King gave up trouping with circus bands in 1918, but he continued to write marches and galops for the circus for many years. One interesting example is Atta-Boy March, which was published in 1926 and then republished in 1961 as Center Ring March. The Big Cage – Circus Galop was written in 1934 and dedicated to Clyde Beatty, a lion tamer who was as famous then as Gunther Williams was 50 years later.

As a musical form, the galop has increased in tempo considerably from its nineteenth-century European origin as a ballroom dance. Then, it was a moderately fast hop-glide dance step; now, it is a fast and furious contest between the tigers and the musicians to see who can finish their act first. William, G. Pruyn, music director of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Combined Shows, prefers a galop tempo of MM=220.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

Audio Links

State Ratings

  • Kansas: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by this Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Coast Guards (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Clark) (1942/2009)

All Wind Works


  • King, K.; Glover, A. (2004). The Big Cage: Circus Galop [score]. C.L. Barnhouse: Oskaloosa, Iowa.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 344.