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Three Spirituals

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H. T. Burleigh
Steve Danyew

Traditional, arr. Harry Thacker Burleigh; adapt. Steve Danyew

Subtitle: For 8-Part Flexible Instrumentation

General Info

Year: 2020
Duration: c. 8:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Piano and voice
Publisher: Steve Danyew
Cost: Score and Parts (digital) - $79.00
Individual melodies may be ordered separately, which see, below.


1. Down by the Riverside – 2:30
2. Deep River – 3:00
3. I Want to Be Ready 2:00

Instrumentation (Flexible)

Full Score
C Treble Part

  • Piccolo
  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Mallet percussion
  • Violin

C Bass Part

  • Bassoon
  • Trombone
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • Bass
  • Cello

C Alto Clef Part

  • Viola

B-flat Treble Clef Part

  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet
  • B-flat Bass Clarinet
  • B-flat Soprano Saxophone
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone
  • B-flat Trumpet

E-flat Treble Clef Part

  • E-flat Alto Saxophone
  • E-flat Baritone Saxophone

F Treble Clef Part

  • Horn in F
  • English Horn


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Harry Thacker Burleigh (1866-1949) was a vocalist and composer who among many other things, created stirring arrangements of African-American spirituals. Three of the spirituals he arranged are included in this collection.

Burleigh’s spiritual arrangements are scored for voice and piano. I adapted these arrangements for eight-part flexible instrumentation. I tried to retain as much of Burleigh’s harmony as possible, as the harmonic choices he made throughout the arrangements are truly rich and captivating. I did alter some of his harmonies and rhythms and added a few new sections, but I tried to be as faithful to Burleigh’s arrangements as possible

- Program Note by adapter

Performance Notes

I recommend playing each line in the register notated in the conductor score. (You’ll notice that the parts for players have certain lines displaced by 1 or 2 octaves to fit within that part’s clef). In other words, bass-clef lines should be played by bass-clef instruments. I understand there may be cases where you need to play a line up or down an octave, and that’s fine. Obviously, if you have only cellos or only clarinets and trumpets, you will need to deviate from the recommendations provided. The instrumentation lists will be particularly useful if you have a group of instruments spanning a wide range (bass to treble).

Specific percussion parts are not included. However percussionists could play any of the parts on mallet instruments. Also, on Down by the Riverside and I Want to be Ready, percussionists could contribute to the “groove” by improvising parts on instruments such as drum set, tambourine, and others.)

I included a sample written solo that can be played in place of an improvised solo. I find the F major pentatonic scale (F, G, A, C, D) works well in this setting.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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