Molly on the Shore

From Wind Repertory Project
Percy Aldridge Grainger

Percy Aldridge Grainger (ed. R. Mark Rogers)

General Info

Year: 1920 / 1998
Duration: c. 4:10
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: String Band
Publisher: Southern Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $89.95   |   Score Only - $12.75


Full Score
Condensed Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II-III (III doubling E-flat Soprano Clarinet)
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra-Alto Clarinet/B-flat Contrabass Clarinet (doubling Contrabassoon)
E-flat Double Bass Sarrusophone
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
Special E-flat Alto Saxophone (doubling Soprano Saxophone)
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion (4 players min.), including:

  • Big Drum (Bass Drum)
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Hammerwood (or Xylophone)
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Steel Marimba (or Vibraphone)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

In setting Molly on the Shore I strove to imbue the accompanying parts that made up the harmonic texture with a melodic character not too unlike that of the underlying reel tune. Melody seems to me to provide music with initiative, whereas rhythm appears to me to exert an enslaving influence. For that reason I have tried to avoid regular rhythmic domination in my music -- always excepting irregular rhythms, such as those of Gregorian chant, which seem to me to make for freedom. Equally with melody, I prize discordant harmony, because of the emotional and compassionate sway it exerts.

- Program Note by composer

Molly on the Shore receives frequent performances from high school and university ensembles, and it is certainly appropriate for a variety of concert programs. Although melodically straightforward, this brisk reel will provide several technical challenges, especially for younger players. For a successful performances, students must exhibit firm control over articulation and finger technique. Fast tonguing pervades the upper woodwind parts, and performers should approach the decorative triplet turns with care. Grainger's characteristically intricate tapestry of melodies and countermelodies is thoroughly enjoyed by audiences.

- Notes from Great Music for Wind Band

Based on two Cork Reel tunes, Molly on the Shore and Temple Hill, respectively, Molly on the Shore began as a string quartet and was later rescored by Grainger himself for full symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, and finally military band in 1920. In a 1959 letter to Frederick Fennell, Grainger wrote, “I strove to imbue the accompanying parts that made up the harmonic texture with a melodic character not too unlike that of the underlying reel tune ... Equally with melody, I prize discordant harmony, because of the emotional and compassionate sway it exerts.”

- Program Note from Kell High School Wind Ensemble concert program, 20 December 2017


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class A
  • Arkansas: V
  • California: V Class A
  • Florida: V
  • Georgia: V
  • Massachusetts: V
  • Michigan: AA
  • Mississippi: IV-A, V-A, VI-A
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Texas: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy (Halifax, N.S., Can.) (Brad Ritson, conductor) - 11 February 2024
  • James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Concert Band (Amy Birdsong, conductor) - 30 October 2023
  • San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Wind Orchestra (Jennifer Martin, conductor) – 30 April 2023
  • Manhattan Wind Ensemble (New York City) (Sarah Fernandez, conductor) - 11 March 2023
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock, Tx.) Symphonic Band (Eric Allen, conductor) - 7 March 2023
  • Broken Arrow (Okla.) High School Wind Ensemble (William Wakefield, conductor) - 1 March 2023 (88th Annual ABA National Convention)
  • Chicago Wind Symphony (Chicago, Ill.) (Michael McCain, conductor) - 7 January 2023
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Symphonic Winds (Benjamin Kohn, conductor) - 10 November 2022
  • Lamar University Wind Ensemble (Andrew McMahan, conductor) - 6 October 2022
  • Oklahoma City (Okla) University Wind Philharmonic (Matthew Mailman, conductor) - 12 April 2022
  • Purdue University (West Lafayette, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Jay S. Gephart, conductor) – 18 February 2022
  • Texas All-State Symphonic Band (Kevin Sedatole, conductor) - 12 February 2022 (2022 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Wind Ensemble (Emily Threinen, conductor) – 1 October 2021
  • Heart of Texas (San Antonio) Concert Band (R. Mark Rogers, conductor) - 23 May 2021
  • Cathedral City (Calif.) High School Symphony Band (Matthew K. Howe, conductor) - 16 December 2019
  • University of Manitoba (Winnipeg) Wind Ensemble (Ryan Wehrle, conductor) – 6 December 2019
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Robert Taylor, conductor) – 4 October 2019
  • Texas Christian University Wind Symphony (Fort Worth) (Matthew Garrett, conductor) - 3 October 2019
  • California State University, Los Angeles Wind Ensemble (Emily Moss, conductor) – 23 September 2019
  • Dallas (Tex.) Wind Symphony (Howard Dunn, conductor) - 18 August 1985 *Inaugural Concert*

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Fennell, Frederick. (1983) "Molly on the Shore by Percy Aldridge Grainger." The Instrumentalist 38 (October 1983): 24-29
  • Goza, David. Molly on the Shore: A Conductor's Guide to a Minor Miracle
  • Grainger, P.A. (ed. Rogers, R.M.) (1998). Molly on the shore [full score]. Southern Music Company: San Antonio, TX.
  • Lourens, Alan. "Molly on the Shore. MBM Times, Issue 6 (2012), 59.
  • Miles, Richard B. 2000. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 3. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 389-393.
  • Nicholson, Chad. (2009). Great Music for Wind Band: A Guide to the Top 100 Works in Grades IV, V, VI. Galesville, MD: Meredith Music Publications. pp 7-8.
  • Shipes, Matthew. (2018) "Experts' Excerpts: Molly on the Shore by Percy Aldridge Grainger." ITEA Journal [International Tuba Euphonium Association] 45, no. 2 (Winter 2018): 52-55.