American Hymn

From Wind Repertory Project
William Schuman

William Schuman

Subtitle: Variations on an Original Melody

General Info

Year: 1981
Duration: 10:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Merion Music (Sole Selling Agent: Theodore Presser)
Cost: Score & Parts - $50.00   |  Score Only - $4.50


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbals (crash and suspended)
  • Glockenspiel (Orchestra Bells) I-II
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Tubular Bells (Chimes)
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

American Hymn was commissioned by the American Bandmasters Association and the United States Air Force Band. It received its premiere on March 5th, 1980, as part of the 40th anniversary of the American Bandmasters Association in Washington, DC.

It is based on an earlier choral work which Schuman contributed to a comprehensive survey entitled American Hymns Old and New, published by Columbia University Press. The Langston Hughes text that inspired the original human is simple and straightforward, which is reflected in the melodic setting (quasi hymn-spiritual).

- Program Note from publisher


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor) – 11 March 2019 (The Music Center at Strathmore)
  • Ohlone Wind Ensemble (Fremont, Calif.) (Tony Clements, conductor) – 25 March 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Brown, Michael R. (1992, Spring). “Analysis: American Hymn: Variations on an Original Melody by William Schuman.” Journal of Band Research 27(2), 67-79.
  • Brown, Michael Ray. (1989). “The band music of William Schuman: A study of form, content and style.” Ed.D. dissertation. Athens: University of Georgia, pp. 78-98. Abstract: Dissertation Abstracts International (1990, March) 50(9), 2692-A.
  • Rhodes, Stephen. “A comparative analysis of the band compositions of William Schuman.” Dissertation. Greeley: University of Northern Colorado. Abstract: Dissertation Abstracts International (1988, January) 48(7), 1579-A.
  • Schuman, W. (1981). American Hymn: Variations on an Original Melody: For Concert Band [score]. Merlon Music: Bryn Mawr, Penn.