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Immovable Do, The

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Percy Aldridge Grainger

Percy Aldridge Grainger (ed. Joseph Kreines)

General Info

Year: 1940 / 2006
Duration: c. 4:40
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Various
Publisher: G. Schirmer
Cost: Score and Parts - $65.00   |   Score Only - $7.50


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II (plus a Flute III part in substitution of the E-flat Clarinet)
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II (plus a part for Contrabassoon)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV-V
B-flat Soprano Clarinet VI (optional part, subs for Alto Clarinet)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet VII (optional part, subs for E-flat Soprano Clarinet)
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone I-II
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV (plus a part for E-flat Horn)
Trombone I-II-III
B-flat Baritone
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle


In Parts:

  • Bassoon I, m.118, beat 1: E natural should be E-flat
  • Bassoon II, m.118, beat 1: E natural should be E-flat
  • Trombone III, m.118, beat 1: E natural should be E-flat
  • Euphonium (B.C.), m.118, beat 1: E natural should be E-flat
  • Tuba, m.118, beat 1: E natural should be E-flat
  • String Bass, m.118, beat 1: E natural should be E-flat

Program Notes

The Immovable Do (composed 1933-1939) draws its title from one of the two kinds of Tonic Sol-fa notation, one with a "movable Do" ("Do" corresponding to the key-note of whatever key the music is couched in, from moment to moment; so that the note designated by "Do" varies with modulation) and the other with an "immovable Do" (in which "Do" always stands for C). In my composition -- which is not based on any folksong or popular tune -- the "immovable Do" is a high drone on C which is sounded throughout the whole piece. From the very start (in 1933) I conceived the number for any or all of the following mediums, singly or combined: for organ (or reed organ), for mixed chorus, for wind band or wind groups, for full or small orchestra, for string orchestra or eight single strings. It seems natural for me to plan it simultaneously for these different mediums, seeing that such music hinges upon intervalic appeal rather than upon effects of tone-color.

- Program Notes by Percy Aldridge Grainger

Grainger composed this work while he was living in New York between 1933 and 1939, around the same time he was working on one of his most performed works for band, Lincolnshire Posy. While sitting at his foot-pumped reed organ one day, the reed that produced "c" or "do" became stuck and rather than call the organ technician, he decided to improvise a tune around this "immovable do". His improvisation over a static pitch features an intricate rhythmic texture with syncopation, dense rhythmic lines and triple over duple time.

- Program Note from State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Ensemble concert program, 15 November 2018


State Ratings

  • Florida: V --- (The Florida Bandmasters Association denotes this as "significant literature.")
  • South Carolina: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • United States Army Band (Ft. Myer, Va.) (Randall Bartel, conductor) - 28 January 2023 (Winchester, Va.)
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Concert Band (Eric Allen, conductor) - 29 March 2022
  • CBDNA 2022 Western/Northwestern Division (Tacoma, Wash.) Intercollegiate Band (Paula Holcomb, conductor) – 19 March 2022 (CBDNA 2022 Western/Northwestern Conference, Tacoma, Wash.)
  • University of North Dakota (Grand Forks) Wind Ensemble (James Popejoy, conductor) - 8 March 2022
  • Bowling Green (Ohio) State University Wind Symphony (Bruce Moss, conductor) - 16 April 2021
  • Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.) Wind Ensemble (Joseph Higgins, conductor) - 11 March 2021
  • Hope College (Holland, Mich.) Wind Ensemble (Gabe Southard, conductor) - 5 March 2021
  • Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Madison Argo, conductor) - 4 March 2021
  • North Dakota State University (Fargo) Wind Symphony (Wayne Olfert, conductor) - 19 October 2020
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Robert Taylor, conductor) – 4 October 2019
  • Shepherd University (Shepherdstown, W. Va.) Wind Ensemble (Scott Hippensteel, conductor)– 11 May 2019
  • University of Texas (Austin) Symphony Band (Joshua Gall, conductor) – 7 December 2018
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Ensemble (Tiv Cumberbatch, conductor) - 15 November 2018
  • University of Texas, Arlington, Symphonic Band and Winds (Christopher Evans, conductor) – 16 October 2018
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (John R. Locke, conductor) – 27 September 2018
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Campus Concert Band (Joe Clark, conductor) – 7 March 2018
  • Colorado Wind Ensemble (Denver) (David Kish, conductor) – 11 February 2018
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Concert Band (Jason H. Nam, conductor) – 6 February 2018
  • Northern Symphonic Winds (Potsdam, N.Y.) (Brian K. Doyle, conductor)– 2 February 2018
  • Illinois State University (Normal) University Band and Symphonic Band (Dan Dietrich, conductor) – 26 April 2017
  • High School Concert Band [Interlochen, Mich.] (Frederick Fennell, conductor) - 20 August 1982

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works