Big Cage, The (King)

From Wind Repertory Project
Karl King

Karl King

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Subtitle: Circus Galop

General Info

Year: 1934
Duration: c. 1:15
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $50.00   |   Score Only (print) - $4.00

For further availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Full Score
D-flat Piccolo
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone or Alto Clarinet
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Bass Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III-IV
E-flat Horn or Alto I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Dedicated to Clyde Beatty, famous lion trainer.

- Program Note from score

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 220 beats per minute.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Iowa State University (Ames) Wind Ensemble (Michael Golemo, conductor) - 3 February 2023
  • Lee University (Cleveland, Tenn.) Wind Ensemble (David Holsinger, conductor) - 12 April 2022
  • Wheaton College Symphonic Band (unconducted) – Spring 2015

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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

All Wind Works


  • King, K. (1934). The Big Cage [score]. K.L. King Music House: Fort Dodge, Iowa.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 344.