Dance of the Jesters

From Wind Repertory Project
Peter I. Tchaikovsky

Peter I Tchaikovsky (trans. Ray E Cramer)

General Info

Year: 1873 / 1997
Duration: c. 4:40
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Curnow Music Press
Cost: Score and Parts - $129.00   |   Score Only - $25.00


Full Score
C Piccolo I-II
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
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
B-flat Cornet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-II
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


In Score:

  • Program note from the score (copied below) erroneously attributes this music to a nonexistent ballet entitled The Snow Maidens. It is actually from incidental music to an 1873 play by Alexander Ostrovsky entitled The Snow Maiden.

In Parts:

  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone, m.349, beat 2: Add accent.

Program Notes

Dance of the Jesters is a prime example of Tchaikovsky’s keen sense of musical nationalism. Originally composed as incidental music for the ballet The Snow Maidens, the dance forever captures the color and zest of Russian folk dance music. The ballet about the Snow Maiden, the daughter of Father Frost, tells of her forbidden love with a human, Misgir, who is already betrothed to Coupava. The Snow Maiden follows him southward with plans to interrupt his wedding, but tragically melts under the rays of the southern sun.

Upon meeting Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1868, Tchaikovsky renewed his keen sense of musical nationalism. Inspired by the master composer, Tchaikovsky's compositional style would forever capture the color and zest of Russian folk dance and music. The flurry, energetic drive and playful melodies associated with his ballet scores are all heard in this rare and invigorating music. This edition comes from an arrangement from the ballet The Snow Maidens that was originally transcribed for a Russian military band.

- Program Note from transcriber

Dance of the Jesters (Dance of the Buffoons) is one of the more commonly performed works from The Snow Maiden, often used as an encore in orchestral settings. In the band transcription, Cramer captures the flurry and energetic spirit of the original work with brass fanfares, playful ballet melodies, rapid woodwind and keyboard passages, along with invigorating percussion scoring which punctuates throughout.

- Program Note by Rich Pauch for the Wheaton Municipal Band concert program, 21 December 2017


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Louisiana: IV
  • Michigan: Senior High AA
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Christopher C. Chapman, conductor) - 12 October 2023
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Orchestra (Barry L. Houser, conductor) - 21 April 2023
  • Clovis (Calif) High School Wind Symphony (Esmeralda Rocha Lozano, conductor) - 24 March 2023 (2023 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.)
  • University of New Mexico (Albuquerque) Symphonic Band (Brett Penshorn, conductor) - 9 December 2022
  • University of Hawai'I West Oahu (Pearl City) University Band (Christopher Otsuka, conductor) - 27 April 2022
  • Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) Concert Band (Cory Near, conductor) - 8 April 2022
  • Western University (London, Ont., Can.) Wind Ensemble (Colleen Richardson, conductor) - 25 March 2022
  • Iowa State University (Ames) Wind Ensemble Gold Band (Michael Golemo, conductor) - 24 March 2021
  • University of Central Arkansas (Conway) Wind Ensemble (Ricky Brooks, conductor) - 11 February 2021
  • Duke University (Durham, N.C.) Wind Symphony (Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant, conductor) - 17 October 2020
  • Butler University (Indianapolis, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Michael Colburn, conductor) – 1 March 2020
  • CBDNA East Intercollegiate Band (Philadelphia, Penn.) (Elizabeth Peterson, conductor) – 22 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 Eastern Division Conference, Philadelphia, Penn.)
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Thomas Gamboa, conductor) – 19 February 2020
  • University of Oregon (Eugene) Wind Ensemble (Josiah Glaser, conductor) – 12 February 2020
  • Triangle Wind Ensemble (Cary, N.C.) (Evan Feldman, conductor) – 15 December 2019
  • Ithaca (N.Y.) College Wind Ensemble (Christopher Hughes, conductor) – 12 December 2019
  • Duke University (Durham, N.C.) Wind Symphony (Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant, conductor) – 14 November 2019
  • Yolo Community Band (Woodland, Calif.) (Bobby Rogers, conductor) - 1 June 2019
  • Andrews University (Berrien Springs, Mich.) Wind Symphony (Edgar Luna, conductor) – 13 April 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Tchaikovsky, P.; Cramer, R. (1997). Dance of the Jesters [score]. Curnow Music Press: Wilmore, Ky.