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Royal Canadian Sketches

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Ralph Ford

Ralph Ford

General Info

Year: 2001
Duration: c. 9:00
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $72.00; (digital) - $72.00   |   Score Only (print) - $9.00


1. Trail Blazing
2. Autumn Light
3. Vista


Full Score
Flute 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
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wind Chimes
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Royal Canadian Sketches, composed September 2000-February 2001, was commissioned by and dedicated to the Red Deer Band Society, the Red Deer Royals (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), and their director, Mr. Kein Mann.

The piece was constructed as a suite in three movements, each depicting the environmental beauty of the land and the spirit of the people in the western provinces, known in the 1800s as the Northwest Territories.

Out where the hand clasp's a little stronger
Out where the smiles last a little longer
That's where the West begins.

- Edward Chapman, Victorian poet

- Program Note from score

The first movement, Trailblazing, was inspired by and written to reflect the experience of being t the Calgary Stampede, which is why it has a kind of "Western" sound to it. Calgary is the Texas of Canada. The second movement, Autumn Light, is written to be a kind of portrait of Red Deer, Alberta, which is on the plains. It is remote, surrounded by a lot of open, flat land with the occasional oil field, halfway between Calgary and Edmonton.

Ford describes the third movement, Vista, as a "forty-measure crescendo. It is a musical representation of the drive from Red Deer to the rocky Mountains. If you drive west out of Red Deer, heading toward the Canadian Rockies, they look big initially but are a two-hour drive away. In reality, they are much larger than the Rockies in the United States, so you experience a continually growing sense of awe as you draw nearer and their size becomes more and more apparent. Some have compared this third movement to Pines of the Appian Way, The fourth movement of Respighi's symphonic poem The Pines of Rome.

- Program Note from Teaching Music Through Performance in Band

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class A
  • Georgia: V
  • Mississippi: VI-A
  • Tennessee: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Ford, R. (2001). Royal Canadian Sketches [score]. Belwin-Mills Publishing: Miami, Fla.
  • Lychner, John A. "Royal Canadian Sketches." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 11, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 408-417. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2018.
  • Perusal score