Train of Thought

From Wind Repertory Project
Alex Shapiro

Alex Shapiro

Subtitle: For Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone, French Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba and Pre-Recorded Audio

General Info

Year: 2015
Duration: c. 8:15
Difficulty: IV+ (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Activist Music
Cost: Score and Parts (digital) - $140.00


Full Score
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Horn in F

Pre-recorded audio

N.B. Created to be adaptable for other instruments


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Train of Thought began life as an acoustic sextet for a sultry combination of instruments that deserves more repertoire: bass clarinet, baritone saxophone, French horn, trombone, euphonium, and tuba. This initial, more intimate version was commissioned in 2015 by Paul Kile, director of bands at Edina High School in Edina, Minnesota, for the Cochran Chamber Commissioning Project.

A year before the first version of this piece was even conceived, my Vermont composer friend Dennis Bathory-Kitsz happened to post a short video on Facebook of a neighborhood Amtrak train zipping past his lens and microphone at full speed. There was something hauntingly beautiful about the particular chords and rhythms of that moment, and after replaying the clip several times I sensed that maybe sometime in the future, I could make use of these evocative sounds. I asked Dennis to return to the edge of the tracks and collect more audio samples. After I catalogued the pitches and patterns so that I could view them as musical elements, I stowed the edited files away, for an unknown, unimagined project -- never guessing the amount of joy I’d get creating not one but two iterations from the recordings.

Everyone experiences the elusive feeling of repeatedly pondering something, and -- with or without our permission -- sensing the concept rattle down an endless set of internal tracks. Soon those thoughts wander somewhere else, sometimes related, and just as often, not. Our psyches dance between that which is linear and that which appears from seemingly nowhere in a waking dream-state. Whether we’re losing our train of thought as our focus derails, or are trying our best to hold on to it, our minds have tracks of their own.

- Program Note by composer

Composed for the 2015-16 Cochran Chamber Commissioning Project, and Paul Kile, director of bands at Edina High School, Edina, Minnesota.

- Program Note from publisher


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Burlington (Iowa) Chamber Ensemble (Ben Grochowsky, conductor) - 19 November 2023
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Concert Band (Arris Golden, conductor) - 12 October 2021
  • Edina (Minn.) High School musicians - 22 May 2016 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Alex Shapiro website Accessed 14 June 2021
  • Shapiro, A. (2015). Train of Thought: For Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone, French Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba and Pre-Recorded Audio [score]. Activit Music: [Friday Harbor, Wash.]