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Toccata Marziale

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Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams

General Info

Year: 1924
Duration: c. 4:40
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts - $125.00   |   Score Only - $12.95


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Triangle


Note: Asterisk at end of line indicates change may only be needed in the 2005 Battisti edition.

In parts:

  • All, reh.5: All parts diminuendo should be from 2nd eighth note
  • All, reh.5, 4 after: Crescendo should be last beat, not whole bar
  • Various, reh.2, 3 after: Crescendo notated 1 beat too early
  • Various, reh.8, 2nd bar: Crescendo eighth note early
  • Various, reh.9, 1 before Diminuendo eighth note too early
  • Various, reh.9, 3 after: Tutti diminuendo last quarter note
  • Various, reh.10, 1 before: Diminuendo from beat 1
  • Upper woodwinds, reh.15, 1 before: Diminuendo should be last quarter note
  • Oboe, reh.6, 3 after: 4th semi should be E natural 7th and 9th Eb Score has E natural throughout*
  • Oboe, reh.17, 1 before: An octave too low*
  • Bassoons, reh.2, 1 before: Lines omitted
  • Bassoons, reh.8, 1 before: Editorial addition of upbeat Ab
  • Bassoons, reh.20, 3rd bar: Insert Ab anacrusis
  • Bassoon I, reh.5: Should be piano not mf
  • Bassoon II, reh.10: Legato ends on 2nd beat of 4th bar
  • Bassoon II, reh.11: Starts on 1st beat with a D eighth note*
  • Bassoon II, reh.13, 3 before: Should have B natural not Bb
  • E-flat Soprano Clarinet, B-flat Soprano Clarinet I, Oboe, Saxophones, End, Last 3 bars: Phrasing could be changed to fit the original
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinets, reh.12: Phrasing wrong for 4 bars*
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinets, reh.21: Should diminuendo on last quarter note
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo, reh.6, 3 after: Second beat should be two eighth notes. (Smudge on second eighth note in copies makes it looks like a dotted eighth)
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet I, reh.13, 1 before: Second eighth note should be G# not Gb*
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet II, reh.6, 4 before: Has no note in this bar - col cornet 2 starts in the next bar in the original score
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet II, reh.6, 3 after: 4th semi should be F#. 7th and 9th F natural (Score has F# throughout)*
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet II, reh.18, 2 before: Should play eighth note F# then 2 eighth note rests
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet III, reh.3, 4 after: Wrong notes 2nd eighth note should be D natural, 6th should be Bb*
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone, reh.11, 1 before: Should be tacet for 1 bar
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone, reh.8, 1 before: Last note should be F not A*
  • Brass, reh.1, 1 before: Staccato omitted in brass upbeat
  • B-flat Cornets, reh.9: Piano first beat
  • B-flat Cornet I, reh.16, 3 before: Should be Bb not G*
  • B-flat Cornet I, reh.19: Should be E not G*
  • B-flat Cornet II, reh.19, 1 before: Should have C# not natural according to piano score*
  • B-flat Trumpet, reh.6, 3 after: Should have F# not natural (Score has F natural)*
  • Horn in F IV, reh.9: Should have a D instead of*
  • Horn in F IV, reh.19: Should have 2 bars of dotted half note A, as at 6*
  • Trombone I, reh.10, 5 after: Should be D not C*
  • Trombone I, reh.10, 7 after: Tacet for 1 bar
  • Trombones, reh.14: Second entry should be p not pp
  • Trombones, re.17, 2nd bar: Crescendo last quarter note
  • Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, reh.7, 1 before: Slur from second sixteenth note
  • Bass Trombone, reh.12: Should be B not G*
  • Basses, reh.7, bars 3-4: Should be legato 2nd & 3rd and 5th and 6th eighth notes
  • Basses, re.7, bars 5-6: Should be legato 4th and 5th and then first 2 eighth notes
  • Tuba, reh.9, 4th bar: First eighth note is G*
  • Tuba, reh.14: Should be p not pp though euphonium is pp
  • Tuba, reh.17, 1 before: Omit 2nd eighth note*
  • Side Drum, reh.3, 3 after: Crescendo omitted*
  • Side Drum, reh.16, 3 before: Add ruff before bar*
  • Side Drum, End, 3 before: Should have crescendo*
  • Triangle, reh.7, 4 after: Rhythm should be quarter note eighth note rest quarter note eighth note rest*
  • Timpani, Percussion, reh.9, 3 before: Forte not ff
  • Timpani, reh.19, 3 before: Should have eighth note on 1st beat followed by 2 eighth note rests
  • Cymbals, End: Stroke missing*

Program Notes

Toccata Marziale, written in 1924, was Vaughan Williams’s second work for military band and is one of the most significant contributions to the wind band literature. The word “toccata” comes from the Italian toccare, meaning “to touch,” hence its association with the early Baroque virtuouso keyboard pieces written by Frescobaldi and others. Toccata Marziale is a contrapunctal masterpiece for wind ensemble, in which textures are juxtaposed in massed effects with large sections of winds and brasses. A rhythmic vigor, as suggested by the title, permeates the piece, and Vaughan Williams’s brilliant scoring reveals the fundamental properties of the band’s sonority and its instrumental virtuosity and color.

- Program Note by Frederick Fennell

This Vaughan Williams composition works well as the opener of a concert program. While playable by both fine high school and university ensembles, conductors should note that the thick scoring can result in a heavy, sluggish performance if players are not proficient with light articulations and styles. Some key compositional traits of this composer are present, such as blurring the downbeat, enacting rhythmic interplay amongst parts, and juxtaposing contrasting melodic styles. When performers take full advantage of these expressive opportunities and highlight the unique qualities of this composition, Toccata Marziale makes for an invigorating contribution to the concert.

- Program Note from Great Music for Wind Band

Toccata Marziale is one of two works Vaughan Williams composed for concert band after being exposed to military bands during his service in the British Army in World War I. Completed in 1924, the “toccata” references an early Baroque genre of virtuosic keyboard music. The piece’s long melodic lines are tempered only by its martial tempo and stately character. Vaughan Williams’s skillful use of the concert band features dialogue between the woodwind and brass sections in a brilliant and constantly shifting texture.

- Program Note from Baylor University Symphonic Band concert program, 21 April 2017


State Ratings

  • Arkansas: V
  • Florida: VI --- (The Florida Bandmasters Association denotes this as significant literature)
  • New York: VI
  • Texas: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Florida State University (Tallahassee) Symphonic Band (Andrew Dubbert, conductor) - 4 April 2023
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Mark Scatterday, conductor) - 25 January 2023
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Wind Ensemble (Emily Threinen, conductor) -- 21 October 2022
  • Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) Concert Band (Cory Near, conductor) - 24 September 2022
  • Banda dell'Esercito Italiano (IRome) (Filippo Cangiamila, conductor) – 22 September 2022
  • Spring Garden Band of York (Penn.) (Jeffrey Shaull, conductor) - 23 October 2022
  • University of Maryland (College Park) Wind Ensemble (Alexander Scott, conductor) - 8 December 2021
  • University of Texas at Arlington Wind Symphony (Douglas Stotter, conductor) - 14 March 2021
  • Grand Symphonic Winds (St. Paul, Minn.) (Matthew George, conductor) - 12 February 2021
  • Texas A&M University (Lubbock) Wind Symphony (Timothy Rhea, conductor) – 28 February 2020
  • Tallahassee (Fla.) Winds (Patrick Dunnigan, conductor) – 11 February 2020
  • Peabody Institute (Baltimore, Md.) Preparatory Wind Orchestra (Elijah Wirth, conductor) – 14 December 2019
  • Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisc.) Symphonic Band (Matthew Arau, conductor) – 16 November 2019
  • University of Central Florida (Orlando) Wind Ensemble (Danny Santos, conductor) – 7 November 2019
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City) Wind Ensemble (Tim Sexton) – 29 October 2019
  • University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) Wind Ensemble (Christopher Knighten, conductor) – 16 October 2019
  • Southern Adventist University (Collegedale, Tenn.) Wind Symphony (Ken Parsons, conductor) – 13 October 2019
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) – 27 September 2019
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Concert Band (Ray Stewart, conductor) – 26 September 2019
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Wind Ensemble (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 20 September 2019
  • Arts Academy Band [Interlochen, Mich.] (Frederick Fennell, conductor) – 11 January 1970
  • Eastman Wind Ensemble (Rochester, N.Y.) (Frederick Fennell, conductor) – 17 November 1961 *Premiere Eastman Wind Ensemble Concert*

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works