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Zanzibar Boat Song

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Percy Aldridge Grainger

Percy Aldridge Grainger (arr. Preston Hazzard)

Subtitle: For Mother

General Info

Year: 1902 / 2015
Duration: c. 4:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Piano six hands
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $75.00; (digital) - $75.00   |   Score Only (print) - $7.50; (digital) - $7.50


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
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-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V (6 players), including:

  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Marimba
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Percy Aldridge Grainger's Zanzibar Boat Song was inspired by the following poem from Rudyard Kipling's Plain Tales from the Hills:

They burnt a corpse upon the sand-
The light shone out afar;
It guided home the plunging boats
That beat from Zanzibar.
Spirit of Fire, where'er Thy altars arise,
Thou art the Light of Guidance to our eyes!

Grainger noted on the original piano score "For Mother. For 6 hands at one piano. Well fitted to be played by a teacher and two pupils; the teacher taking the 2nd pianist's part." The original piece was composed March 5-11, 1902, London. Following the initial creation, Grainger began a sketch of the piece arranged for percussion ensemble. Sketches of that incomplete arrangement were obtained by Preston Hazzard from the International Grainger Society and were used in the creation of this arrangement for band.

This arrangement for winds and percussion was done as a commission for the Liberty High School Wind Ensemble in fall of 2011 and is dedicated to Mr. Jamie Weaver, the associate director of bands, in honor of his continuous efforts in seeing to the education of the whole child in music education. In all aspects, Mr. Weaver exemplifies the nature of Grainger's piece, that being a commitment to family and education at its core. It is with this in mind that this project was conceived: combining inspiration and education into a unique musical experience for the Liberty High School program.

- Program note from score


State Ratings

  • Louisiana: IV
  • Texas: IV. Complete


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