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Cajun Folk Songs, Part One

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Frank Ticheli

Frank Ticheli

General Info

Year: 1990
Duration: c. 6:25
Difficulty: III-1/2 (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Manhattan Beach Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $135.00   |   Score Only - $16.50


1. La Belle et la Capitaine – 3:10
2. Belle – 3:15


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra-Alto Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Castanets
  • Marimba
  • Sand Blocks
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tom-Toms (4)
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


See Kish book in Resources section (below) for errata list.

Program Notes

Cajuns are descendants of the Acadians, a group of early French colonists who began settling in Acadia (now Nova Scotia) around 1604. In 1755 they were driven out by the British, eventually resettling in south Louisiana. Today there are nearly a million French-speaking descendants of the Acadians living in Louisiana and parts of Texas, preserving many of the customs, traditions, stories, and songs of their ancestors.

Although a rich Cajun folk song tradition exists, the music has become increasingly commercialized and Americanized throughout the twentieth century, obscuring its original simplicity and directness. In response to this trend, Alan and John Lomax traveled to south Louisiana in 1934 to collect and record numerous Cajun folk songs in the field for the Archive of Folk Music in the Library of Congress. By doing so, they helped to preserve Cajun music in its original form as a pure and powerful expression of Louisiana French Society.

La Belle et le Capitaine and Belle can both be heard in their original versions on the Lomax recordings (Swallow LP-8003-2, Swallow Records Co., Ville Platte, Louisiana). La Belle et le Capitaine tells the story of a young girl who feigns death to avoid being seduced by a captain. Its Dorian melody is remarkably free, shifting back and forth between duple and triple meters. In this arrangement the melody is stated three times. The third time an original countermelody is added in flutes, oboe, clarinet, and trumpet.

Belle is about a man who goes away to Texas only to receive word of his sweetheart's illness, forcing him to return to Louisiana. Finding her unconscious upon his return, he pawns his horse to try to save her, to no avail. The folk melody is sometimes varied rhythmically, texturally, and coloristically, and an original melody is added for variety.

Cajun Folk Songs is composed as a tribute to the people of the old Cajun folk song culture with hopes that their contributions will not be forgotten. The work is dedicated to the Murchison Middle School Band, Austin, Texas, Cheryl Floyd, director, who commissioned the work and gave its premiere on May 22, 1990.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

  • Florida: IV
  • Minnesota: II
  • Texas: III. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • West Chester (Penn.) University Concert Band (Adam Gumble, conductor) - 29 April 2021
  • University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Lentz Concert Band (Joseph P. Cutting, conductor) - 25 April 2021
  • Grove City (Penn.) College Concert Band (Andrew S. Erb, conductor) - 25 March 2021
  • Ouachita Baptist University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Symphonic Band (Jim Lloyd, conductor) - 18 March 2021
  • Houghton (New York) College Wind Ensemble (Dakota Hirsch, conductor) - 13 March 2021
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Symphonic Band (Kelvin Jones, conductor) - 15 December 2020
  • Andrews University (Berrien Spring, Mich.) Wind Symphony (Byron Graves, conductor) - 24 October 2020
  • McClellan College (Waco, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Jon Conrad, conductor) - 20 February 2020
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Thursday University Band (Ross Wolf, conductor) – 8 December 2019
  • Skidmore Community Concert Band (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) (Milton Lee, conductor; Oscar Fischer, alto saxophone) – 5 December 2019
  • Caltech-Occidental Wind Orchestra (Pasadena, Calif.) (Glenn Price, conductor) – 9 November 2019
  • California Polytechnic State University Pomona Symphonic Winds (Mitchell Fennell, conductor) – 9 October 2019
  • University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg) Concert Band (Travis Higa, conductor) – 7 October 2019
  • Idaho State University (Pocatello) Civic Band (Eric Armstrong, conductor) – 4 October 2019
  • Baylor University (Waco, Texas) Concert Band (Nathan Taylor, conductor) – 5 May 2019
  • Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, Tx.) Symphonic Band (Melodie Brown, conductor) – 13 April 2019
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) University Band (Brent Levine, conductor) – 28 February 2019
  • Wheaton (Ill.) North High School Concert Band (Kent Krause, conductor) - 26 February 2019
  • Penn State University (University Park) Concert Band (Herbert Payung, conductor) – 4 December 2018
  • South Central High School Symphonic Band (David Christianson, conductor) – 26 November 2018
  • Mabry Middle School (Marietta, Ga.) Symphonic Band (Dan Welborn, conductor) – 19 December 2007 (2007 Midwest Clinic)

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Frank Ticheli website Accessed 6 July 2020
  • Kish, David. (2013). Guides to Band Masterworks. Volume III. Delray Beach, Fla.: Meredith Music Publications, 2013. pp. 79-121.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp.286-297.