Symphonic Prelude, A (Reed)

From Wind Repertory Project
Alfred Reed

Alfred Reed

Subtitle: Based on Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair

General Info

Year: 1963
Duration: c. 5:45
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: E.B. Marks, through Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts - $85.00   |   Score Only - $5.00


Flute I-II-III (III doubling Piccolo)
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
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
B-flat Cornet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel (or Orchestral Bells)
  • Suspended Cymbal


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The work is based on an Appalachian folk melody Black Is The Color of My True Love's Hair, thought to be originally of Scottish origin, as its lyrics refer to the River Clyde in Scotland. The earliest known recording of the American version of this tune was made by John Jacob Niles in 1941 and has been adapted and reinterpreted numerous times since in various musical styles, but mostly in the American Folk idiom.

Composed in 1963, this work was dedicated to the Hartford City (Ind.) High School Symphonic Band, directed by William G. Fread and John R. Brane. The Hartford City Symphonic Band performed the work under Mr. Reed's baton two times: first on November 15, 1963, in the school's gymnasium, then again two days later at the American School Band Directors Association national convention in Elkhart, Indiana.


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

State Ratings

  • Florida: IV
  • Virginia (VMEA): IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Concert Band (Daniel J. Farris, conductor) - 12 November 2023
  • Rockford (Ill.) Wind Ensemble (Ken Goodman, conductor) - 23 October 2022
  • Washington State University (Pullman) Symphonic Band (Troy Bennefield, conductor) – 6 February 2020
  • North Dakota State University (Fargo) University Band (Warren Olfert, conductor) – 15 October 2018
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Symphonic Band (Jennifer K. Bollero, conductor) – 1 March 2018
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Concert Band (Michael Schaff, conductor) – 8 November 2017
  • Tallahassee (Fla.) Winds (Patrick Dunnigan, conductor) – 2 May 2017
  • California State University, Bakersfield, Concert Band (Leo Sakomoto, conductor) - 5 June 2015
  • Los Angeles Pierce Symphonic Winds (Stephen P. Piazza, conductor) - 11 May 2013
  • New World School of the Arts Wind Ensemble (Rodester Brandon, conductor) - 13 May 2003

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Reed, A. (1963). A Symphonic Prelude : Based on "Black is the color of my true love's hair" [score]. Edward B. Marks: [s.l.].