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Tänze aus Terpsichore

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Michael Praetorius

Michael Praetorius (arr. Nikk Pilato)

General Info

Year: c. 1612 / 2011
Duration: c. 12:05
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Nikk Pilato Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $150.00; (digital) - $100.00   |   Score Only (print) - $50.00; (digital) - $30.00


1. Bransle
2. Gaillarde
3. Ballet
4. Courante


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn (ad libitum)
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet (ad libitum)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet (ad libitum)
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-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass (ad libitum)
Harp (or piano) (ad libitum)
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Castanets
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel (Orchestral Bells)
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam Tam
  • Tambourine
  • Tenor Drum (or Field Drum)
  • Triangle (medium or large)
  • Tubular Bells (Chimes)
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block (medium or high)
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

I came to appreciate Renaissance music much later in life than some of my colleagues. I paid the requisite attention in Music History class as an undergraduate, but my head was swimming in music by Barber, Copland, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich…to be completely honest, the trials and tribulations of troubadours and trouvères, and the intrigues of courtly dances did not interest me much.

That all changed when I ran across a wind band setting of Renaissance dance music by Bob Margolis, aptly titled Terpsichore (Terpsichore also being the name of a collection of dance music assembled by German composer Michael Praetorius, and published in Wolfenbüttel, Germany, in 1612). Margolis’ suite drew from several dances found in the Terpsichore, and is highly recommended for advanced ensembles looking for a challenge. Around this time, I also discovered a wonderful work for strings entitled Capriol Suite by Peter Warlock (a pen name for Philip Heseltine). This work drew inspiration from another collection of Renaissance dance music, Thoinot Arbeau’s Orchesography. Not long after discovering the Arbeau tome, Patrick Dunnigan, Director of Bands at Florida State University, published his own Selections from "The Danserye", based on yet another collection of Renaissance-era music, Tielman Susato’s Het derde musyck boexken, better known as The Danserye.

My introduction to these three works (and by extension, the three collections of dance music upon which they are based) all took place within a year of each other, and the music – simple, charming, elegant – continues to fascinate and delight me. In putting together this suite, I had a clear goal in mind: To write something that would not be terribly difficult in the hopes of making the suite accessible to most high school wind bands (and perhaps even some daring middle school bands). To that end, most of the important parts in Tänz aus Terpsichore (literally, “dances out of Terpsichore”) are cued in other instruments, and some of the more “exotic” instruments are optional (and also extensively cued). Many of the original meters have been transformed into time signatures that will give fewer problems to a young ensemble (e.g., 6/4 becomes 6/8, etc.)

Not wanting to copy what Mr. Margolis had already accomplished in his excellent work, I took pains not to use the specific dances he had previously orchestrated, though they do remain some of my favourite music from the Terpsichore. However, in the end, I couldn’t help myself, and compromised by setting some of those famous ancient melodies in the brief interludes between movements. These interludes are optional, and are explained in further detail in the Interlude Score (included).

Though this is a suite of music derived from the Terpsichore, I also couldn’t help but include a nod to Warlock’s and Dunnigan’s settings, as both influenced me greatly. It is my sincere hope that this suite will help introduce the wonderful music of the Renaissance to a wider audience. The order of the movements (and the interludes) is completely at the discretion of the conductor; the sequence in which they appear is merely a suggestion that seems to flow well.

- Program Note by Nikk Pilato


State Ratings

  • Florida: V
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Wind Ensemble (Devin Otto, conductor) - 12 May 2021
  • Penn State University (University Park) Concert Band (Hannah Redd, conductor) - 7 December 2020
  • Indiana State University Wind Orchestra (Nikk Pilato, conductor) - Spring 2017
  • University of South Florida (Tampa) Symphonic Band (Matthew McCutchen, conductor) - Fall 2015
  • Broward (Davie, Fla.) Symphonic Band (Neil Jenkins, conductor) - Spring 2013
  • California State University Long Beach Symphonic Band (Nikk Pilato, conductor) - 1 December 2011   *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer