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Four Scottish Dances

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Malcolm Arnold

Malcolm Arnold (trans. John P. Paynter)

General Info

Year: 1957 / 1978
Duration: 10:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Carl Fischer Inc.
Cost: Score and Parts - $100.00   |   Score Only - $24.00


1. Pesante - 2:10
2. Vivace - 2:15
3. Allegretto - 3:20
4. Con brio - 1:45


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
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 Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Harp (or Celesta/Piano)
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


In Parts:

  • Flute II, mvt. 2, 1 m. before reh. D (m. 32): Key signature should read 1 flat only.
  • Bassoon II, mvt. 1, 3 m. before reh. D (m.28), beat 1: Add accent to E; fix score also.
  • Clarinet II, mvt. 3, 2 m. after reh. C (m.23): Key signature should read 5 sharps.
  • Clarinet, III, mvt. 3, 2 m. after reh. C (m.23): Key signature should read 5 sharps.
  • Cornet II, mvt. 4, reh. F (m.51): reh. F marking obscures the dotted quarter B natural at ff dynamic (same as m.53).
  • Horn in F II, mvt. 3, 1 m. before reh. E (m.36): G sharp should read G natural.
  • Trombone I, mvt. 3, 2 m. before the end (m.67), beat 2: Remove duration dot from half note.
  • Trombone II ,mvt. 4, 1 m. before reh. H (m.66), beat 3: Add "open" to cancel straight mute.
  • Baritone B.C., mvt. III, 1 m. after reh. C (m.22): Key signature should read 3 sharps.

See also: Topolewski in Resources, below.

Corrections to the Topoloweski list:

  • Page 8: Flute II, mvt. 1, m.29, should read "Correct the second note..." i.e., E should read D.
  • Page 11: Bassoon II, mvt. I, m.40, 41, should also include meas. 39 (conductor's opinion).
  • Page 12: Alto Sax I, mvt. II, m.48, 49, is a correction for the Alto Sax II part only.
  • Page 12: Alto Sax I, mvt. IV, m.51, is a correction for both the Alto Sax I and II parts.

Program Notes

These dances were composed early in 1957, and are dedicated to the BBC Light Music Festival. They are all based on original melodies but one, the melody of which is composed by Robert Burns.

The first dance is in the style of a slow strathspey -- a slow Scottish dance in 4/4 meter -- with many dotted notes, frequently in the inverted arrangement of the "Scottish snap." The name was derived from the strath valley of Spey. The second, a lively reel, begins in the key of E-flat and rises a semi-tone each time it is played until the bassoon plays it, at a greatly reduced speed, in the key of G. The final statement of the dance is at the original speed in the home key of E-flat.

The third dance is in the style of a Hebridean song and attempts to give an impression of the sea and mountain scenery on a calm summer's day in the Hebrides. The last dance is a lively fling, which makes a great deal of use of the open string pitches of the violin (saxophones in the band edition).

- Program Note by composer


Audio CD: Arnold for Band, Dallas Wind Symphony (Jerry Junkin, conductor)

State Ratings

  • Florida: VI
  • Indiana: GROUP I
  • Maryland: VI
  • New York: VI
  • North Carolina: V (any 2 mvts.); VI (any 3 mvts.); Masterworks (all mvts.)
  • Texas: II. (any one movement)
  • Texas: III. (any two movements)
  • Texas: IV. (any three movements)


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Sinclair Community College (Dayton, Ohio) Wind Symphony (Michael Berning, conductor) - 13 November 2022
  • World Adult Wind Orchestra Project (WAWOP) (Schladming, Aus.) (Kevin Sedatole, conductor) - 17 July 2022
  • University of Texas, Arlington, Wind Symphony (Douglas Stotter, conductor) - 8 April 2022
  • University of Illinois (Champaign/Urbana) Wind Orchestra (Elizabeth Peterson, conductor) — 1 May 2022
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 23 May 2021
  • Whitworth University (Spokane, Wash.) Wind Symphony (Richard Strauch, conductor) - 9 May 2021
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Sarah McKoin, conductor) - 5 May 2021
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Glenn C. Hayes, conductor) - 3 May 2021
  • University of Kentucky (Lexington) Wind Symphony (John Cody Birdwell, conductor) - 3 May 2021
  • South Dakota State University (Brookings) Wind Symphony (Jacob Wallace, conductor) - 25 April 2021
  • Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) Symphonic Band (Kirt Saville, conductor) - 31 March 2021
  • Texas A&M University (College Station) Symphonic Winds (Travis Almany, conductor) - 21 March 2021
  • East Tennessee State University (Johnson City) Wind Ensemble (Joe D. Moore, conductor) - 11 March 2021
  • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Wind Symphony (Rubén D. Gómez, conductor) - December 2020
  • University of Colorado Boulder Symphonic Band (Michael Roeder, conductor) – 28 February 2020
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.) Peabody Wind Ensemble (Harland D. Parker, conductor) – 20 February 2020
  • Atlanta (Ga.) Wind Symphony (David Kehler, conductor) – 19 January 2020
  • United States Air Force Band (Washington, D.C.) (Don Schofield, conductor) – 18 December 2019 (2019 Midwest Clinic)
  • University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) Wind Ensemble (Travis J. Cross, conductor) – 6 December 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Arnold, M.; Paynter, J. (1978). Four Scottish Dances: For Concert Band [score]. C. Fischer: New York.
  • Sir Malcolm Arnold website.
  • Topolewski, Timothy. Errata Studies for the Wind Band Conductor, Vol. 1. Topolewski, 1990.