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Air for Band (Erickson)

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Frank Erickson

Frank Erickson

General Info

Year: 1956 / 1966
Duration: c. 3:20
Difficulty: II (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Bourne Co. Music Publishers
Cost: Score and Parts - $48.75   |   Score - $7.25


Full Score
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
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, including:

  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

One of the stronger tendencies of twentieth century music has been a return to certain aspects of music of the Baroque and Classical periods. Compositions falling into this category are referred to as "neo classic." Air for Band is such a piece. The form (binary) was quite common in the Baroque period and the melody and harmonies were strongly influenced by the works of Bach.

- Program note from score

Several generations of band members have developed their ability to play a sustained line, to listen for the moving part, and to improve their intonation while playing this work since it was first published in 1956. While not difficult to play technically, Air for Band takes careful rehearsing to get the results the piece deserves. The composition begins softly and in a minor key, and by gradually adding instruments and increasing the dynamics and range, the climactic section is reached approximately halfway through. Erickson then uses the opening melody to create interesting rhythms and dialogues between sections on the way to a modulation to a major key and another crescendo leading to a maestoso ending.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

Frank Erickson’s Air for Band is an early-career work, written in 1956. He later (1966) revised it to fit “standard” band instrumentation and part divisions. In writing Air for Band, Erickson was preoccupied with creating a piece that young students could successfully perform that was also of educational value. The desire to create melodically interesting works of pedagogical merit was a goal shared by a growing list of composers at that time.

In Air for Band, Erickson favored simple and harmonically uncomplicated ideas that were playable, interesting, and to him musically worthwhile. The form of the piece is a modified song form AABACB’ – wherein the C section acts as a bit of development, and the second B section moves into a new key to serve as the coda.

- Program Note from SUNY Potsdam Symphonic Band concert program, 21 April 2016


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class C
  • Arkansas: I
  • Florida: III
  • Georgia: III
  • Iowa: II
  • Kansas: III
  • Louisiana: II
  • Maryland: III
  • Massachusetts: II
  • Michigan: Senior High D
  • Minnesota: III
  • New York: Concert Band II
  • North Carolina: III
  • Oklahoma: II-A
  • South Carolina: III
  • Tennessee: II
  • Texas: III. Complete
  • Virginia: II
  • Wisconsin: C
  • West Virginia: II


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Louisville (Ky.) Concert Band (Joseph Leites, conductor) - 21 February 2022
  • Clyde (Ohio) High School Combined Bands (Jacob Donofrio, conductor) - 30 January 2022 (Severance Music Center, Cleveland)
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Concert Band (John Korak, conductor) - 2 April 2021
  • University of Louisville (Ky.) Symphonic Band "L1" (Frederick Speck, conductor) - 22 November 2020
  • Ashland (Ohio) University Wind Ensemble (Joseph Lewis, conductor) - 20 November 2020
  • Dordt University (Sioux Center, Iowa) Campus-Community Band (Lindsey Zuidema, conductor) - 16 October 2020
  • University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) University Band (Rebecca Cichy, conductor) – 10 March 2019
  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Symphony Band (unconducted) – 23 February 2020
  • Vassar College and Community Wind Ensemble (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) (James Osborn, conductor) – 23 February 2020
  • Grand Street Community Band (Brooklyn, N.Y.) (David Blumenthal, conductor) – 14 December 2019
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Gold Campus Band (Aundria Speidel, conductor) – 2 December 2019
  • Illinois State University (Normal) University Band (Marisa Miko, conductor) – 20 November 2019
  • Snake River New Horizons Band (Pocatello, Id.) (Casey Emerson, conductor)– 4 October 2019
  • Peninsula Symphonic Band (Palo Alto, Calif.) (G. Mancho Gonzalez, conductor) – 18 November 2018
  • Strongsville (Ohio) Community Band (Brian Maskow, conductor) – 9 November 2018
  • Clovis North High School (Clovis, Calif.) Concert Band (Jose Vargas, conductor) – 17 October 2018
  • Kent State (Ohio) Symphony Band (John D. Franklin, conductor) – 30 September 2018
  • Le Mars (Iowa) Municipal Band (Jerry Bertrand, conductor) - 27 June 2018
  • Western Illinois University (Macomb) Concert Band (Alexandra Hulen, conductor) – 2 May 2018
  • University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) White Concert Band (Jamal Duncan, conductor) – 22 April 2018
  • Truman University (Kirksville, Mo.) Concert Band (Timothy Clasby, conductor) – 7 March 2018

Works for Winds


  • Erickson, F. (1966). Air for Band [score]. Bourne: New York.
  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 261-264.
  • Neidig, Kenneth L., edt. (2007). Performance Study Guides of Essential Works for Band. Galesville, MD: Meredith Music Publications.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 195.