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Sea Songs (Knox)

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Thomas Knox

Thomas Knox

General Info

Year: 1980 / 1988
Duration: c. 8:40
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: LudwigMasters Publications
Cost: Score and Parts - $65.00   |   Score Only - $17.50


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn (optional)
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra Alto Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III (Cornet I divisi)
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III (Trombone I divisi)
Euphonium (divisi)
String Bass
Harp (optional)
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells (or Glockenspiel)
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Gong
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


  • Flute I, m.76, beat 3: Delete quarter rest
  • Horn in F I, m.269, beat 1: Delete duration dot

Program Notes

Sea Songs was written for the 350th anniversary of the city of Boston. It was premiered by the United States Marine Band, Col. John R Bourgeois conducting, at the Hatch Memorial Shell in Boston, May, 1980. It is based on nautical songs and sea chanties.

- Program Note from the score

After opening with a nod to Debussy’s La Mer, Sea Songs primarily features two sea shanties: Shenandoah and What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor. The setting is both hauntingly beautiful and gymnastic for the band as Knox pushes boundaries of ensemble technique.

In case you need a response to the call of What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor (or need more material for "Talk Like a Pirate Day"), history provides us with the following:

  • Chuck him in the longboat ’till he’s sober.
  • Scrape his chest with a rusty razor.
  • Soak him in oil ’till he spouts a flipper.
  • Put ’im in the scuppers with a hosepipe on ’im.
  • Or, from 1989: Put him at the wheel of an Exxon tanker.

- Program Note from Austin Symphony Band concert program, 13 November 2017


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class A
  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: VI
  • Iowa: V
  • Kansas: V
  • Louisiana: V
  • Michigan: Senior High AA
  • Mississippi: VI-A
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: IV-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Knox, T. (1988). Sea Songs: For Symphonic Band [score]. Ludwig Music Co.: Cleveland, Ohio