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Carnival of Venice (arr Arban)

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Jean-Baptiste Arban

Folk song variations arranged by Jean-Baptiste Arban and Donald Hunsberger

This work may appear under its title in French, Le Carnaval de Venise.

General Info

Year: c. 1865 / 2015
Duration: c. 8:25
Difficulty: VI (soloist) / III (ensemble) (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $150.00   |   Score Only (print) - $30.00


Full Score
Solo Cornet
C Piccolo (Flute III)
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass 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-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bell Tree
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Carnival of Venice is a folk tune popularly associated with the words "My hat, it has three corners". A series of theme and variations has been written for a number of solo instruments, as "show off" pieces that contain virtuoso displays of double and triple tonguing, and fast tempos.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

When Arban wrote this set of variations in the early 1860s, he may have been inspired, as well as challenged, by Niccolo Paganini's twenty variations for violin on the same air. The folklike melody has been attributed to both Paganini and the German opera composer Reinhard Keiser (1674-1739). Arban would probably also be inspired and challenged if he could hear his "Carnival" variations played by contemporary virtuosos of the tuba, euphonium, trombone, and cornet – for example, as recorded by Wynton Marsalis with Don Hunsberger and the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

For Wynton Marsalis.

- Program Note from Score

Arban composed a number of virtuosic solos for cornet. Many are written in the theme-and-variation form, as is the case with the Variations sur Le Carnaval de Venise. This piece is based on a popular Italian folk tune whose most familiar lyrics begin with “My hat, it has three corners.” Many composers, including the virtuoso violinist Niccolò Paganini and famed operatic composer Gioachino Rossini, have written sets of variations based on this tune. In Arban’s piece, the cornet soloist first plays a lyrical introduction before introducing the melody. The variations which follow show off a wide range of cornet techniques from beautiful melodic playing to fast and furious double and triple tonguing.

- Program Note from the United States Marine Band concert program, 18 August 2022


(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

  • Kansas State University (Manhattan) Wind Ensemble (Frank Tracz, conductorl John Kilgore, trumpet) - 8 March 2023
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Darren Lin, conductor; Robert Bonner, trumpet) - 18 August 2022
  • Baldwin-Wallace University (Berea, Ohio) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Dwight Oltman, conductor; Martin Cochran, euphonium) – 14 February 2020
  • New York (N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Hana Kim, conductor; Joe Burgstaller, trumpet) – 14 December 29
  • Raritan Valley Symphonic Band (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) (Christopher Sumner, conductor; Kenneth DeCarlo, trumpet) – 24 April 2019
  • Bemidji (Minn.) State University Wind Ensemble (Scott Guidry, conductor; Mike Newton, euphonium) – 24 September 2017
  • Concord (Mass.) Band (James O'Dell, conductor; Richard Given, cornet) – 10 June 2017
  • United States Army Band (Ft. Myer, Va.) (Richard K. Henebry, conductor; Jeremy McBride, euphonium) – 16 June 2016

Works for Winds by This Composer