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Prairie Songs

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Pierre La Plante

Pierre La Plante

General Info

Year: 1998
Duration: c. 4:45
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Daehn Publications, through C.L.Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts - $76.00   |   Score Only - $8.00


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass 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
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion including:

  • Bass drum
  • Bells
  • Crash cymbals
  • Rattle
  • Snare drum
  • Triangle
  • Wood block
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

From the composer of American Riversongs comes this accomplished concert work based on two mid-western folk tunes. Ranging from beautifully plaintive to exuberantly rustic, the piece achieves a great deal musically without being technically difficult.

- Program Note by publisher

Prairie Songs is based on two songs from the Midwest. These songs were sung and known in Wisconsin and, therefore, seem appropriate for a piece celebrating the state's sesquicentennial (1848-1998).

The Pinery Boy from the Eau Claire region of Wisconsin, is used in the opening section of Prairie Songs. The song tells the story of a young girl who set out in search of her lover, a raftsman working on the river. Her search ends when she learns from the captain that her lover has perished in the river. The young lady returns home and dies of a broken heart. Despite the tragic, and at times, melodramatic nature of the verse, the melody is broad and expansive in scope (an octave plus three notes). The setting of this tune in Prairie Songs is intended to convey a feeling of grandeur and beauty of the (land before time).

The second section of the piece quotes "The Turkey Song" which some authorities believe originated in Kentucky and moved west with the settlers. It is found in various collections of childrens' folksongs, including those of Pete Seeger and Jill Trinka.

Common Melodic patters beween the two songs make them sound as though they are related. The two themes are presented concurrently in the maestoso section just prior to the coda (allegro).

    The Pinery Boy
"Oh a raftsman's life is a wearisome one,"
"It causes many fair maids to weep and mourn."
"For the loss of a true love that can never return."
    The Turkey Song
"As I came over yonder's hill"
"I spied a mighty turkey."
"He flapped his wings, and he spread his tail"
"and his feet looked awful dirty."

Commissioned by the Central Middle School Band, Waukesha, Wisconsin, Laura Kautz Sindberg, conductor, with assistance from the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Commission.

Although scored for first clarinets, the pickup to measure 9 can be used to feature a solo player, with tutti resuming at the pickup to measure 15. At measure 24, the ensemble must not eclipse the melody in the alto and tenor saxophones, and euphonium. Pay close attention to the articulation markings throughout the allegro section. Notes that conclude slurred passages are often marked with a staccato and should be played short, but not clipped or accented. The canonic section at measure 84 should remain piano until the sudden forte just before measure 93. The two themes are combined at measure 139, and dynamics may have to be adjusted accordingly. The bells can be omitted in this section if desired. Enjoy Prairie Songs.

- Performance notes from score

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

Audio Links

State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class C
  • Georgia: IV
  • Kansas: III
  • Louisiana: III
  • Michigan: Junior High AA
  • Minnesota: III
  • New York: Concert Band III
  • North Carolina: III
  • Ohio: OMEA High School Band B
  • Oklahoma: III-A
  • South Carolina: III
  • Virginia: III


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Concert Band (Jefferson Gentry, conductor) - 2 April 2021
  • Miamisburg High School (Miamisburg, Ohio) Symphonic Band (Ryan Wintersheimer, conductor) - 14 May 2019
  • Colonel Gray High School (Charlottetown, PEI) Grade 10 Concert Band (Roger Jabbour, Conductor)- 25 May 2017
  • Three Oaks Senior High School (Summerside, PEI) Grade 10-12 Wind Ensemble (Krista Bryson, conductor) - 7 December 2016
  • North Boone High School (Poplar Grove, Il.) Symphonic Band (Marybeth Kurnat, conductor) - 7 May 2012

Works for Winds by this Composer


  • La Plante, P. (1998). Prairie Songs [score]. Daehn Publications; New Glarus, Wisc.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. 2002. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 4. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 359-364.