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Suite Tuba

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Thomas Bough

Thomas Bough

General Info

Year: 2010
Duration: c. 8:20
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Cimarron Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $100.00


1. Shifting Sands - Moderato
2. Struttin' with Sam - Allegro Swing!
3. Lullaby - Andante Cantabile
4. Finale - Allegro


Full Score
Solo Tuba
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Claves
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Suite Tuba was written in honor of my doctoral advisor and applied instructor from Arizona State University, J. Samuel Pilafian. Although Sam is best known in the brass world for his ground-breaking performances as the tuba player and founding member of the Empire Brass Quintet, he was also the primary arranger and business manager for Empire for nearly 20 years. He is also an incredible teacher, who has trained thousands of musicians around the world. Sam had a profound impact on my career in all four areas, that is, as a player, a composer and arranger, entrepreneur and teacher. This composition is designed to reflect different elements of training and studying with Sam.

The first movement, Shifting Sands, reflects Sam’s love of rhythm and groove, not to mention the sands of the Sonoran Desert where we met. I know that Sam will appreciate the shifting asymmetric rhythms of the first section, but I suspect he will enjoy the bass line that accompanies the second section even more, since it extends over the bar line. In the second section, there are frequent shifts from major to minor and back again, which reflects the high level of technical fluency Sam expected, inspired and required.

The second movement, Swingin with Sam, reflects JSP’s remarkable skill as a jazz performer and teacher. In his undergraduate days at the University Miami, Sam played bass guitar in the top jazz band alongside jazz legends Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays. His expertise in the field of early jazz performance was part of what inspired my dissertation on the same topic. This movements starts with the soloist playing the bass line, since bass line construction was a skill Sam passed on to all of us. This movement is loosely based on a traditional jazz tune called That’s a Plenty.

The third movement, Lullaby, is self-descriptive. Sam talked about letting your sound “glow” in music like this, so that’s the goal … to play with a truly beautiful, resonant sound and let the simplicity of the music speak for itself.

As a tuba player, I always found it odd in a vague sort of way that most of the solo literature was not actually written in the normal register for the tuba. As a conductor and arranger, I realize that solo tuba parts get written in the upper register to aid with projection, but in my own composition, I wanted to keep at least a few phrases in the traditional range of the tuba. The scoring of the duet with the French horn during the final full statement of the theme in this movement is the primary exception to this concept. The final movement, subtitled Finale, combines themes from the other movements with new material and a second cadenza.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Northern Illinois University (DeKalb) Wind Symphony (Thomas Bough, conductor; Douglas Olenik, tuba) – 21 October 2022
  • Northern Illinois University (DeKalb) Wind Ensemble (Thomas Bough, conductor; Scott Tigge, tuba) – 20 May 2022

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Bough, T. (2010). Suite Tuba [score]. Cimarron Music Press: [New London, Conn.].
  • Thomas Bough website Accessed 15 February 2022