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Sandpaper Ballet

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Leroy Anderson

Leroy Anderson

General Info

Year: 1954 / 2007
Duration: c. 3:15
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Alfred Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $75.00; (digital) - $75.00   |   Score Only (print) - $9.00

For further availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
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 Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Sandpaper Blocks (coarse and fine)
  • Slide Whistle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Sandpaper Ballet is not a ballet score: Leroy Anderson intended it to be an orchestral work designed as a tribute to the soft-shoe dancing style from vaudeville. Dancers in that beloved entertainment genre of yesteryear often rubbed sheets of sandpaper together to create a rhythmic accompaniment to their soft-shoe routines. As one might expect, Anderson’s piece has been choreographed and performed by ballet companies, including the San Francisco Ballet, which regularly stages the piece.

The work opens with the strange, rhythmic sound of what vaguely sounds like a snare drum played with brush strokes. But Anderson used pieces of wood rubbed against sandpaper to achieve this unique sonic effect. The main theme is jaunty and carefree, played by subdued voices. The music gradually takes on a slightly brighter, more colorful manner. The sandpaper rhythms continue throughout and are even heard in what might described as brief cadenzas.

Many years ago while the soft shoe dance was still popular in vaudeville, sometimes dancers would sprinkle sand on the stage to create a crackling sound while performing it. The drummers imitated this sound by attaching sandpaper to wood blocks which they rubbed rhythmically against each other. They use sandpaper in three different strengths, coarse, medium and fine, to create different effects.”

— Quote from Leroy Anderson

- Program Note from Hijiyama (Japan) Girls Junior & Senior High School Wind Orchestra concert program, 11 February 2016


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Sleigh Ride (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Fernie) (1948/)
  • Sleigh Ride (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Torskangerpoll) (1948/2020)

All Wind Works


  • Anderson, L. (2007). Sandpaper Ballet [score]. Alfred: Van Nuys, Calif.
  • Leroy Anderson website Accessed 14 May 2021