Green Bushes

From Wind Repertory Project
Percy Aldridge Grainger

Percy Aldridge Grainger (trans. F. Pappajohn)

This work bears the subtitles Passacaglia on an English Folksong and British Folk-Music Settings No. 12.

General Info

Year: 1906 / 2009
Duration: c. 8:56
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig Masters
Cost: Score and Parts - $175.00   |   Score Only - $30.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
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
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Green Bushes (Passacaglia on an English Folksong) was written by Percy Aldridge Grainger in London and Denmark between November 16, 1905, and September 19,1906. Sources for the composition were: 1) a folksong collected by Cecil Sharp, from the singing of Mrs. Louie Hooper of Hambridge, Somerset, and 2) the singing of Mr. Joseph Leaning at Brigg, Lincolnshire, collected by Grainger on August 7, 1906. Green Bushes (or Lost Lady Found or The Three Gypsies) was apparently a widely known melody. Grainger accumulated ten different variations of it during his folksong-collecting career, and used one of them as the final movement of his Lincolnshire Posy in 1937. Though the song is of English origin, it has also been found in Ireland and America; Ralph Vaughan Williams used it in the Intermezzo of his Folk Song Suite, as did George Butterworth in The Banks of Green Willow.

Green Bushes was first performed at the Philharmonic Concert at the Kurhaus an der Comphausbadstrasse, Auchen, Germany on May 10, 1912, with Grainger conducting. In his program notes, Grainger writes: "Among country-side folksongs in England, Green Bushes was one of the best known of folksongs -- and well it deserved to be, with its raciness, its fresh grace, its manly clear-cut lines.. . Green Bushes strikes me as being a typical dance-folksong -- a type of song come down to us from the time when sung melodies, rather than instrumental music, held countryside dancers together. It seems to breathe that lovely passion for the dance that swept like a fire over Europe in the middle ages -- seems brimful of all the youthful joy and tender romance that so naturally seek an outlet in dancing.

"An unbroken keeping-on-ness of the dance-urge was, of course, the first need in a dance-folksong, so such tunes had to be equipped with many verses (20 or 100 or more) so that the tune could be sung ... as long as the dance was desired to last. In setting such dance-folksongs (indeed, in setting all dance music) I feel that the unbroken and somewhat monotonous keeping-on-ness of the original should be preserved above all else. The greater part of my passacaglia is many-voiced and free-voiced. Against the folktune I have spun free counter-melodies of my own—top tunes, middle tunes, bass tunes ... The key-free harmonic neutrality of the folksong’s mixolydian mode opens the door to a wondrously free fellowship between the folktune and these grafted-on tunes of mine. My Green Bushes setting is thus seen to be a strict passacaglia throughout well nigh its full length. Yet it became a passacaglia unintentionally. In taking the view that the Green Bushes tune is a dance-folksong, I was naturally led to keep it running like in unbroken thread through my setting, and, in feeling prompted to graft upon it modern musical elements expressive of the swish and swirl of dance movements, the many-voiced treatment came of itself."

- Program Note by San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra concert program, 19 March 2011


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Colorado State University (Fort Collins) Concert Band (Erik Johnson, conductor) – 3 March 2019
  • Texas Christian University (Fort Worth) Symphonic Band (Brian Youngblood, conductor) – 17 April 2018
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, All-College Band (Carrie Pawelski, conductor) – 8 November 2017
  • University of Toronto (Ont., Can.) Wind Ensemble (Gillian MacKay, conductor) - 1 April 2017
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Concert Band (Jason H. Ham, conductor) – 21 April 2016
  • San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Wind Orchestra (William V. Johnson, conductor) - 19 March 2011

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Grainger, P.; Pappajohn, F. (2007). Green Bushes [score]. Ludwig Masters: Boca Raton, Fla.