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Molly on the Shore

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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 sub for E-flat Soprano Clarinet)
Oboe 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 (sub for Contrabassoon)
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Double Bass Sarrusophone
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
Special E-flat Alto Saxophone (sub for 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.)

  • Big Drum (Bass Drum)
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Hammerwood (Xylophone)
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Steel Marimba (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 Percy Aldridge Grainger

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

Commercial Discography

Audio Links

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


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • 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
  • Banda dell'Esercito Italiano (Italian Army Wind Band) (Filippo Cangiamila, conductor) – 8 July 2019
  • Wind Symphony of Clovis (Calif.) (Gary Gilroy, conductor) – 31 March 2019
  • Atlanta (Ga.) Youth Wind Symphony (Scott A. Stewart, conductor) - 25 March 2019
  • University of California, Los Angeles, Wind Ensemble (Tyler Farrell, conductor) – 6 February 2019
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Symphonic Winds (Anthony Marinello, III, conductor) – 15 November 2018
  • Miamisburg (Ohio) High School Wind Symphony (Steve Aylward, conductor) - 15 November 2018
  • Messiah College (Mechanicsburg, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (Travis Weller, conductor) – 8 November 2018
  • Duke University (Durham, N.C.) Wind Symphony (Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant, conductor) – 27 September 2018
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Sarah McKoin, conductor) – 3 May 2018
  • Youngstown (Ohio) State University Wind Ensemble (Stephen L. Gage, conductor) – 25 April 2018
  • United States Coast Guard Band (New London, Conn.) (Richard Wyman, conductor) – 18 March 2018
  • Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts (West Palm Beach, Fla.) Wind Ensemble (Evan Rogovin, conductor) – 23 February 2018 (CBDNA 2018 Southern Conference, Tampa, Fla.)
  • United States Air Force Band (Washington, D.C.) (Larry H. Lang, conductor) – 3 February 2018
  • Kell High School (Marietta, Ga.) Wind Ensemble (Tayor Watts, conductor) - 20 December 2017 (2017 Midwest Clinic)
  • 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.