Paper Cut

From Wind Repertory Project
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Alex Shapiro

Alex Shapiro

General Info

Year: 2010
Duration: c. 5:00
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: American Composers Forum
Cost: Score and Parts - $60.00   |   Score Only - $10.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
B-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F
Trombone I-II
Electric Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V (5 Players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Drum Set
  • Snare Drum
  • Vibraphone


Errata from the initial 2010 printing:

  • E-flat Alto Saxophone, m. 35: Everyone who previously (at bar 32) crumpled paper, needs a new flat sheet to rip at bar 36. So it should say "TO NEW FLAT SHEET" at bar 35, and then at bar 36 the box should read, "NEW FLAT SHEET: crescendo rip down length of paper". Delete the "TO NEW FLAT SHEET" indication at bar 38, and change the box indication at bar 39 from "NEW FLAT SHEET: crescendo rip" to "SAME FLAT SHEET: crescendo rip".
  • Tuba, m. 93: can be taken down an octave if preferred.
  • Electric Bass, m. 88: Raise Eb up an octave assuming that the player's instrument doesn't go that low.
  • Vibraphone, m. 72: hard mallets will sound best.

Errata from the second 2013 edition:

  • B-flat Trumpet I: m. 85-86, please add ties to the note.
  • Trombone II, Cymbals, Snare, and Bass drum: m. 87, please add two 16th note paper-playing pick ups into m. 88., to match Bass clarinet and Baritone sax.
  • Tuba, m. 71: Please crescendo the last two beats of the measure along with the rest of the band.
  • Electric Bass, m. 96: Please add a tie into 96 to a half note, to match the rest of the band.
  • Vibraphone, m. 96: Please add a tie into 96 to a half note, to match the rest of the band.
  • Everyone playing paper in bar 79 should also play a quarter note downbeat of paper at m. 80.

Program Notes

What do teenagers like? Video games, TV, and movies. What do all these media have in common? Music!

I was thrilled to have a chance to add to the educational band music repertoire, thanks to the American Composers Forum's terrific BandQuest series. In my desire to compose something relevant to younger players, I decided to create a piece that sounds somewhat like a movie soundtrack, to which the musicians can imagine their own dramatic scene. I also thought it would be fun to make the kids themselves part of the action, and so Paper Cut has the band doing choreographed maneuvers that look as compelling as they sound. In fact, the band members don't even play their instruments until halfway into the piece.

Music isn’t just melody: it’s rhythm and texture as well. The unusual element of paper and the myriad sounds that can emerge from something so simple offer a fresh view of what music-making can be and opens everyone’s ears to the sonic possibilities found among everyday objects.

- Program note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Eastern Oklahoma State College Concert Band (Wilburton) (Brian T. Harris, conductor) - 25 April 2023
  • Best of the West Symphonic Band (Grand Junction, Colo.) (Kimberly Kincaid, conductor) - 2 December 2022
  • Prairie Ridge High School (Crystal Lake, Ill.) Wind Ensemble (Marykate Kuhne, conductor) - 10 May 2022
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Jack R. Snider Concert Band (Trevor Frost, conductor) - 1 May 2022
  • University of Central Arkansas (Conway) University Band (Aaron Breeding, conductor) - 26 April 2022
  • Rowan University (Glassboro, N.J.) Symphonic Band (Joseph Higgins, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • Syracuse (N.Y.) University Concert Band (Elizabeth M. Schmidt, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • Sacramento (Calif.) State University Concert Band (Matthew Morse, conductor) – 17 October 2018
  • Indiana State University Wind Symphony (Nikk Pilato, conductor) - 16 October 2018
  • University of Arkansas - Little Rock Wind Ensemble (Ken Goff, conductor) - 13 September 2018
  • Berea (Ky.) College Wind Ensemble (James Dreiling, conductor) – 25 October 2016
  • Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Symphonic Band (Kelly Watkins, conductor) - 11 April 2015
  • Sheridan College/Community Wind Ensemble - 4 April 2015
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Orchestra (Christopher J. Woodruff, conductor) - 23 November 2013
  • Arroyo Grande (Calif.) High School Concert Band (Anthony Yi, conductor) - 3 June 2013
  • VanderCook College of Music (Chicago, Ill.) Symphonic Band (Charles T. Menghini, conductor) – 16 December 2011 (2011 Midwest Clinic)

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Alex Shapiro website
  • Cardany, Brian M. "Paper Cut." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 10, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 288-293. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2015.
  • Creative Repertoire Initiative
  • Errata List
  • Shapiro, A. (2010). Paper Cut: For Concert Band [score]. American Composers Forum: Milwaukee.