Canzon primi toni

From Wind Repertory Project
Giovanni Gabrieli

Giovanni Gabrieli (ed. King)

Subtitle: Sacrae symphoniae, Venice, 1597

General Info

Year: 1597 / 1960
Duration: c. 3:35
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Robert King Music
Cost: Score & Parts - $52.10


Full Score

Choir I
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Trombone I-II

Choir II
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Trombone I-II


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Canzon per sonar primi toni is in the Dorian mode, which comprises a set of intervals and melodies that do not correspond neatly with either the major or minor harmonies that would become standard by the end of the Baroque era. It was composed for two ensembles, each with four parts. These ensembles would be seated across from each other in the choir lofts at St. Mark, creating a marvelous “stereo” effect.

The piece begins with a rhythmic theme common in its time, the “dactyl foot” which consists of one long note followed by two shorter notes. The choirs engage in a call-and-response with each other, and sometimes play together. Most of the phrases are begun with the dactyl pattern, sometimes in diminution. Sacrae Symphonia was such a popular publication that many young composers from the north came to Venice to study and brought Italian Baroque style back with them to Germany and other important centers of music.

- Program Note from University of Texas Wind Symphony concert program, 20 October 2021


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • DePaul University (Chicago, Ill.) Wind Symphony (Eric Neidlinger, conductor) - 14 October 2023
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Symphonic Band (Dontay Douglas conductor) - 28 April 2022
  • Dallas (Tx.) Winds (Jerry Junkin, conductor) - 24 April 2021
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Rob Taylor, conductor) - 26 February 2021
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City) Symphony Band (J.T. Womack, conductor) - 10 December 2020
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Studies Chamber Winds (Daniel Cook, conductor) - 16 November 2020
  • Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.) Band (Peter Haberman, conductor) – 24 November 2019
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Robert Taylor, conductor) – 17 November 2018
  • Texas Woman's University (Denton) Wind Symphony (Carter Biggers, conductor) – 10 November 2018
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Wind Ensemble (Scott Teeple, conductor) – 5 October 2018
  • University of Texas (Austin) Symphony Band (Ryan S. Kelly, conductor) – 18 October 2017
  • Boston (Mass.) Conservatory Wind Ensemble (Eric Hewitt, conductor) – 5 May 2017
  • Marshall University (Huntington, W.V.) Wind Symphony (Brian O. Walden, conductor) - 12 October 2016
  • Penn State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Dennis Glocke, conductor) – 4 October 2015
  • University of Michigan Concert Band (Courtney Snyder, conductor) - 9 February 2015

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Gabrieli, G.; King, R. (1960). Canzon primi toni : Sacrae symphoniae, Venice, 1597 [score]. Robert King Music: North Easton, Mass.