Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Cost: Score and Parts - $140.00 | Score Only - $22.50
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
String Bass (optional)
Piano and Celesta
- Bass Drum
- Crash Cymbals
- Snare Drum
- Suspended Cymbal
- Tenor Drum
- Wood Block
See errata list in Casey, in Resources, below.
- Condensed score, p. 23, reh. 40: add Common time meter signature to all staves.
- Condensed score, p. 23, 1 m. after reh. 50, beat 1: add Common time meter signature to all staves.
In May, 1963, I received a letter from Keith Wilson, President of the College Band Directors National Association, asking me to accept a commission from that organization to compose a work for band. He wrote: 'The purpose of this commission is to enrich the band repertory with music that is representative of the composer's best work, and not one written with all sorts of technical or practical limitations.' That was the origin of Emblems. I began work on the piece in the summer of 1964 and completed it in November of that year. It was first played at the CBDNA National Convention in Tempe, Arizona, on December 18, 1964, by the Trojan Band of the University of Southern California, conducted by William A. Schaefer.
Keeping Mr. Wilson's injunction in mind, I wanted to write a work that was challenging to young players without overstraining their technical abilities. The work is tripartite in form: slow-fast-slow, with the return of the first part varied. Embedded in the quiet, slow music the listener may hear a brief quotation of a well-known hymn tune Amazing Grace, published by William Walker in The Southern Harmony in 1835. Curiously enough, the accompanying harmonies had been conceived first, without reference to any tune. It was only a chance of perusal of a recent anthology of old 'Music in America' that made me realize a connection existed between my harmonies and the old hymn tune.
An emblem stands for something - it is a symbol. I called the work Emblems because it seemed to me to suggest musical states of being: noble or aspirational feelings, playful or spirited feelings. The exact nature of these emblematic sounds must be determined for himself by each listener.
- Program Note by Aaron Copland
This is Copland's only work written expressly for wind ensemble.
- Program Note by Russel Mikkelson
- Audio CD: Cincinnati Wind Symphony (Eugene Corporon, conductor)
- Audio CD: The Musashino Academia Musicae Wind Ensemble (Kenneth Bloomquist, conductor) - 2006
- Audio CD: Northwestern University Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor)
- Audio CD: United States Marine Band (Michael Colburn, conductor)
- Florida: VI --- (The Florida Bandmasters Association denotes this work as significant literature)
- New York: VI
- North Carolina: VI
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 28 April 2023
- Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (George Vosburgh, conductor) - 13 November 2022
- United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Darren Lin, conductor) - 23 October 2022 (New London, Conn.)
- University of North Florida (Jacksonville) Wind Symphony (Erin Bodnar, conductor) - 12 October 2022
- Concordia Band (Moorhead, Minn.) (Lindsay Ross Boyd, conductor) - 25 April 2021
- University of Maryland (College Park) Wind Symphony (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor) – 29 February 2020
- Northern Symphonic Winds (Potsdam, N.Y.) (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 15 February 2020
- Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Matthew McInturf, conductor) - 13 February 2020 (2020 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
- University of Utah (Salt Lake City) Wind Ensemble (Timothy Sexton, conductor) – 5 February 2020
- Brooklyn (N.Y.) Wind Symphony (Jeff W. Ball, conductor) – 14 December 2019
- Kennesaw (Ga.) State University Wind Symphony (Debra Traficante, conductor) – 18 November 2019
- University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Symphonic Band (Anthony Falcone, conductor) – 10 October 2019
- West Chester University (Penn.) Wind Symphony (M. Gregory Martin, conductor) – 24 April 2019
- University of Southern California (Los Angeles) Thornton Wind Ensemble (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor) – 23 February 2019 (CBDNA 2019 National Conference, Tempe, Ariz.)
- University of Kansas (Lawrence) Wind Ensemble (Paul Popiel, conductor) – 21 February 2019
- United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor) - 17 February 2019
- University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (Kevin M. Geraldi, conductor) – 15 February 2019
- Young Artists Wind Ensemble (Tanglewood, Lennox, Mass.) (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor) - 29 July 2018
- University of Florida (Gainesville) Symphonic Band (John M. Watkins, Jr., conductor) - 19 April 2018
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Appalachian Spring (arr. Morita) (1944)
- Appalachian Spring (arr. Patterson) (1944)
- Buckaroo Holiday from "Rodeo" (tr. Megan) (1941/2000)
- Buckaroo Holiday from "Rodeo" (tr. Sudduth) (1941)
- Canticle of Freedom (arr. Duffy) (2000)
- Celebration (arr. Lang) (1938/1945)
- Ceremonial Fanfare
- A Copland Portrait (arr. Grundman) (1986)
- A Copland Tribute (arr. Grundman) (1986)
- Danzón Cubano (tr. Rogers) (1949/2000)
- The Dodger (arr. Knox) (c. 1880/1950/)
- The Dodger. See also: Old American Songs I
- Down a Country Lane (tr. Patterson) (1962/1991)
- El Salón México (tr. Hindsley) (1939/1972)
- Emblems (1964)
- Excerpts from "Appalachian Spring" (arr. Longfield) (1944)
- Fanfare for the Common Man (1942/1944)
- Fanfare for the Common Man (arr. Longfield) (1942/1944/2007)
- Finale from "Symphony No. 3" (trans. Patterson) (1946/)
- Hoe Down from "Rodeo" (arr. Moss)
- Hoe Down from "Rodeo" (tr. Rogers)
- Inaugural Fanfare
- Laurie's Song (tr. Martin) (1954/ )
- Laurie's Song (arr. Silbert and Buchanan) (1954/ )
- Letter from Home (arr. Belski) (1944)
- A Lincoln Portrait (tr. Beeler) (1942/1951)
- Old American Songs (arr. Moss) (1950/2006)
- Old American Songs I (arr. Silvester) (1950/2001)
- Old American Songs II (arr. Duffy) (1952/2001)
- Our Town (arr. Singleton)
- An Outdoor Overture (1938/1948)
- Preamble for a Solemn Occasion (1949/1974)
- The Promise of Living (arr. Curnow) (1954/2012)
- The Promise of Living (tr. Duffy) (1954/2000)
- The Promise of Living (tr. Hile) (1954)
- The Promise of Living (tr. Singleton) (1954/2002)
- Quiet City (arr. Hunsberger) (1941/1992)
- The Red Pony (1969)
- Scenes from "Billy the Kid" (arr. Hilliard) (1941/2000)
- Stomp Your Foot (tr. Duffy) (1954/1956/2000)
- Symphony No. 3. See: Finale from "Symphony No. 3"
- Themes from "An Outdoor Overture" (arr. Curnow) (1938/2014)
- Three Excerpts from "Our Town" and "Simple Gifts" (arr. Cohen)
- Three Latin American Sketches (arr. Mikkelson) (1972/2021)
- Variations on a Shaker Melody (1960)
- Waltz and Celebration (arr. Lang) (1944/1972)
- Casey, Patrick. "Errata Aaron Copland's Emblems." CBDNA Report, Fall 1995, pp.4-7. Accessed 14 March 2023.
- Lynch, John. "Aaron Copland's Emblems: An Iconic Composer and his Misunderstood Masterwork." Estudios bandísticos: Wind Band Studies vol. 4, 2020, pp. 19-40.
- Lynch, John Patrick. "Emblems: Signifiers of stylistic coherence in the formulation of an American sound in this and other selected works of Aaron Copland." 1996. University of Cincinnati, D.M.A. dissertation.
- Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. GIA Publications, 2010. pp. 812-820.
- Whitwell, David. "The Enigma of Copland's Emblems." Journal of Band Research vol. 7, no. 2, Spring 1971, pp. 5-9.