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Shepherd's Hey

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Percy Aldridge Grainger

Percy Aldridge Grainger

Subtitle: For Military Band

General Info

Year: 1918 / 1948
Duration: c. 2:25
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Cost: Score and Parts - $75.00   |   Score Only - $10.50


Condensed Score
Oboe I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Saxophone (with substitute Alto Saxophone part)
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Piano (ad lib.)
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


In Parts:

  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet I. m.76, beat 1&: quarter note F-sharp should read eighth note; m.76, beat 2: eighth note C should read quarter note.

Program Notes

Although Shepherd's Hey is paired with Irish Tune from County Derry in many editions, conductors should not infer that one piece must be performed with the other. Shepherd's Hey works very well on its own as a concert closer or opener; additionally, it could follow a heavier work to balance the program. Moderate technical facility is necessary to perform this reel with clarity, and there are several flourishes (particularly in the final measures) that performers must approach with maturity and control. A strong performance of Shepherd's Hey is rousing fun for players and audiences alike.

- Notes from Great Music for Wind Band

In some agricultural districts in England, teams of “Morris Men”, decked out with jingling bells and clicking sticks, can still be seen dancing to such traditional tunes as Shepherd's Hey, which are usually played on a fiddle or a combination of fife and drum. This is one of the many wonderful renditions of English folksongs transcribed by Grainger. Originally penned for an ensemble of 12 instruments in 1911, the band version was transcribed by the composer in 1948.

- Program Note from Lee University Wind Ensemble concert program, 23 November 2015

Shepherd's Hey was scored for wind band in 1918. The word 'Hey' denotes a particular figure in Morris Dancing. Morris Dances are still danced by teams of "Morris Men" decked out with bells and quaint ornaments to the music of the fiddle or 'the pipe and tabor' (a sort of drum and fife) in several agricultural districts in England. The ‘hey’ involves the interweaving of generally two lines of dancers, which may be symbolized by Grainger's use of two parallel lines of music at the opening of the composition, rather than a simple statement of a theme that then moves into variants.

- Program Note from


State Ratings

  • Alabama: A
  • Indiana: Senior Band Group I
  • Minnesota: Category 2
  • Mississippi: IV-A, V-A, VI-A
  • Oklahoma: IV-A
  • South Carolina: V
  • Texas: IV


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