Metamorphic Dances

From Wind Repertory Project
Brian Balmages

Brian Balmages

General Info

Year: 2019
Duration: c. 8:05
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: JFH Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $120.00; (digital) - $120.00   |   Score Only (print) - $16.00


1. Polka 1:10
2. Waltz – 2:00
3. Tango – 2:15
4. Cakewalk – 2:25


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
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-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Castanets
  • Claves
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

As the title implies, Metamorphic Dances is based on traditional dances that have gone through some type of transformation. In essence, each movement brings a classic type of dance music roaring into the 21st century. The first movement is based on the polka. When the American School Band Directors Association commissioned this piece to honor the service of Dennis Hanna, I was told that he loved polka and played in a polka band. Accordingly, this became a fitting way to begin the piece. Starting in the classic polka style, the movement begins to incorporate elements of a circus march while moving through some irregular meter change. It is a lively way to begin the piece, though it is also a great movement to play individually as a concert closer.

The second movement is based on a waltz and relies heavily on a shifting pulse between triple and duple meter. I toyed with the idea of calling this movement Waltz-ish) at one point before settling on the idea of naming each movement after the exact dance that is represented. The music is very playful while touching on more sustained, arching phrases along with cascading inner lines.

Ironically, the third movement was the second one I wrote and was originally intended to be the opener. I actually began it with the idea that it would be the polka (the off beats are a clear signal). However, the music pulled me in a very different direction, and as soon as I wrote the bass line in measure 8, it became extraordinarily clear that this was a tango, not a polka! This is the most passionate of the four movements.

The final movement was the first to be completed and was premiered a year prior to the completion of the entire piece. It is a whimsical, yet extremely energetic, take on the classic cakewalk. The majority of the movement should feel light with a great deal of forward motion. Toward the end, the music develops into thick layers of sound before coming to a thrilling ending.

Metamorphic Dances was commissioned by the American School Bandmasters Association to honor the service of Dennis Hanna. My sincere thanks to ASBDA, a wonderful organization who has also come to represent many good friends of mine.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

  • Texas: III. (two movements)
  • Texas: IV. (three movements)


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Kennesaw State University (Ga.) University Band (Daniel Lee, conductor) - 29 November 2023
  • Tyler (Tx.) Junior College Symphonic Band (Jeremy Strickland, conductor) - 23 February 2023
  • Texas Lutheran University (Seguin) Wind Ensemble (Richard Herrera, conductor) - 7 October 2022
  • Cedar Park (Tx.) Middle School Symphonic Band (Britni Dunn, conductor) - 19 December 2019 (2019 Midwest Clinic)
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Concert Band (Eric Allen, conductor) – 23 September 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works