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Pagan Dances

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James Barnes

James Barnes

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This work bears the designation Opus 70.

General Info

Year: 1987 / 1996
Duration: c. 13:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Southern Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $125.00   |   Score Only - $74.95


1. Ritual - 3:26
2. Mystics - 7:00
3. Master of the Sword - 3:40


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Pagan Dances completes the cycle of four “primitive” works for symphonic band. I began with Visions Macabre in 1978, followed by Invocation and Toccata in 1980, and Torch Dance in 1984. All of these works employ highly dissonant harmonic combinations, repetitive melodic material, and driving rhythm to showcase the symphonic band’s immense power and dramatic color combinations. This suite is intended to portray an imaginary scene from prehistoric times as if it were a scene from a ballet. It begins with the entrance of the worshipers performing a ritual dance before their idol god. Mystics, or high priests, appear, evoking incantations and performing feats of sorcery before the worshipers. Suddenly, The master of the sword enters, performing a savage dance that culminates with his execution of a sacrifice on the high altar with his broadsword.

- Program Note by James Barnes


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State Ratings

  • Georgia: VI
  • Iowa: IV
  • Kansas: VI
  • Maryland: VI
  • New York: Concert Band VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: I
  • Virginia: IV


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Barnes, J. (1996). Pagan Dances: For Symphonic Band [score]. Southern Music Co.: San Antonio, Tex.