Suite Argentine

From Wind Repertory Project
James Syler

James Syler

General Info

Year: 2020
Duration: c. 7:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: James Syler
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $125.00   |   Score Only (print) - $25.00 (perusal score available upon request)


1. Chacarera (a folk dance from northwest Argentina)
2. Milonga (a slow pre-tango)
3. Bombo (the drum of the gaucho)
4. Malambo (the exciting folk dance of Argentina)


Full Score
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
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 ( 6 players), including:

  • Bombo Drums (3) (or small Bass Drum)
  • Guiro (large)
  • Hi-Hat
  • Marimba
  • Shaker (metal)
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The South American country of Argentina was born from Spanish, Italian, French, and other immigrants who started arriving in the coastal city of Buenos Aires in the mid-1500s. It is a rich and diverse musical culture that spans vernacular traditions to art music. Most famous for the tango, I chose the following four folk musics for this symphonic suite.

I. Chacarera is a type of folk dance that originates in northwest Argentina. The name is derived from the Spanish word “chacra” meaning farm or ranch. This setting is partially based on a recording of an old chacarera for guitar from the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

II. Milonga is a precursor to the more popular tango and originates in the Rio de la Plata region near Buenos Aires. Milonga reached its height of popularity in the 19th century. In this setting, I wrote a slow tempo milonga that implies the music that would eventually become the tango.

III. Bombo is a traditional Argentine wooden drum with an animal skin head that is the basic rhythm instrument for most Argentine folk music. Its sound is similar to a muffled bass drum and features a drumming technique that alternates between striking the drum head and the rim or shell. This movement is an extended solo featuring four drummers playing traditional bombo patterns that accentuate its unique sound and drama.

IV. Malambo may be Argentina’s most exciting dance. It originated on the country ranches where gauchos (cowboys) used to pantomime a fight. The music is a IV-V-I chord progression in a repeating four-bar phrase used to accompany gaucho dancers performing intricate foot dances. In this setting, I combined the opening chacarera melody with the traditional malambo progression. The music harmonically modulates upward and culminates with the full ensemble at full volume.

- Program Note by composer

Commissioned by a consortium of twenty high schools and colleges organized by Dr. John Zarco, conductor.

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Texas - San Antonio Symphonic Band (John Zarco, conductor) – 5 March 2020

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