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Armenian Dances, Part One

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Alfred Reed

Alfred Reed

This work is the first movement of the composer's Armenian Dances.

General Info

Year: 1972 / 1974
Duration: c. 11:15
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Sam Fox
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $85.00; (digital) - $85.00   |   Score Only (print) - $15.00; (digital) - $15.00


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone (3.5 octaves)


In Parts:

  • C Piccolo, m. 25: "dim." marking should be on the and of beat 4
  • C Piccolo, m. 64: Hairpin diminuendo should start on beat 3 instead of the and of beat 2
  • C Piccolo, m. 67, beat 4: Add "soli" marking
  • C Piccolo, m. 68: "poco rit." marking should be on beat 1
  • C Piccolo, m. 68: "mf" dynamic marking should be on beat 2
  • C Piccolo, m. 120, beat 4 and 5: G5's should be G-sharp5's
  • C Piccolo, m. 141: Hairpin diminuendo should start on beat 4 instead of the and of beat 2
  • C Piccolo, m. 145-146: Hairpin crescendo should end before beat 1 of m. 146 instead of the and of beat 1 of m. 146
  • C Piccolo, m. 146: Hairpin diminuendo should start on beat 4 instead of the and of beat 2
  • C Piccolo, m. 155-156: Hairpin crescendo should start on beat 4 of m. 155 instead of beat 1 of m. 156
  • C Piccolo, m. 160: Hairpin crescendo should start on beat 2 instead of beat 1
  • C Piccolo, m. 174: Hairpin diminuendo should start on beat 1
  • C Piccolo, m. 270: Hairpin crescendo should end before beat 2 instead of the and of beat 2
  • C Piccolo, m. 271: Hairpin diminuendo should start on beat 1 instead of the "e" of beat 1
  • C Piccolo, m. 353, beat 1: Remove the accent on the A6 quarter note
  • Bassoon II, m. 23, and of beat 2: sixteenth rest should read eighth rest + dotted eighth rest
  • Horn in F II: Move rehearsal mark "317" from m. 318 to m. 317
  • Percussion III, Xylophone, m. 371, and of beat 2: the printed F octave should be a F#

In Score:

  • B-flat Clarinet II, m. 93, beat 4: Eighth note should be a quarter note
  • Percussion I, Snare Drum, m. 86, beat 5: Add accent on quarter note
  • Percussion II, Tambourine, m. 86, beat 5: Add accent on quarter note

Program Notes

The Armenian Dances, Parts I and II, constitute a four-movement suite for concert band or wind ensemble based on authentic Armenian folk songs from the collected works of Gomidas Vartabed (1869-1935), the founder of Armenian classical music.

Part I, containing the first movement of this suite (the remaining three movements constituting Part II), is an extended symphonic rhapsody built upon five different songs, freely treated and developed in terms of the modern, integrated concert band or wind ensemble. While the composer has kept his treatment of the melodies within the general limits imposed on the music by its very nature, he has not hesitated to expand the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic possibilities in keeping with the demands of a symphonic-instrumental, as opposed to an individual vocal or choral, approach to its performance. Nevertheless, it is hoped that the overall effect of the music will be found to remain true in spirit to the work if this brilliant composer-musicologist, who almost single-handedly preserved and gave to the world a treasure trove of beautiful folk music that to this day has not yet become as widely known in the Western world as it so richly deserves. Hopefully, this new instrumental setting will prove to be at least a small step in this direction.

Part I of the Armenian Dances was completed in the summer of 1972 and first performed by Dr. Harry Begian, (to whom the work is dedicated), and the University of Illinois Symphonic Band, on January 10, 1973, at the C.B.D.N.A. Convention in Urbana, Illinois.

Gomidas Vartabed (1869-1935), the founder of Armenian classical music, is credited with collecting well over four thousand Armenian folk songs. Born Soghomon Soghomonian in Keotahya, a small town in Anatolia, Turkey, he would later be given the name Gomidas. His exceptional lyric voice led the prelate of the region to select the orphan Soghomon, at the age of eleven, to study at the Kevorkian Seminary in Etchmiadzin, Armenia. He was ordained an Apegha (monk) in 1895, at which time he assumed the name Gomidas, after the Armenian architect-musician Catholicos Gomidas. His desire for further musical training led him first to studies with Magar Yekmalian in Tiflis, Georgia, and from 1896-1899 to Berlin, where he studied at the Richard Schmidt Conservatory, as well as Frederic Wilhelm University, under eminent musicians of the time. In 1899 he graduated from both the Conservatory and the University, receiving his Ph.D. in musicology; his dissertation topic was Kurdish Music.

Gomidas was a founding member of the International Music Society (1899-1912), for which he read important papers on Armenian neumatic notation, the structure of Armenian sacred melodies and folk melodies. At the age of forty-six, at the apex of his career, Gomidas was exiled, together with other Armenian intellectuals, by the Turks, in April, 1915, at which time the genocide of one and a half million Armenians took place. He was released within a short time, but the sufferings and atrocities which he had witnessed resulted in a complete mental and physical breakdown from which he never recovered. He died in Paris in 1935. His legacy to the Armenian people, and to the world's ethnic music, is invaluable, and his major contribution lies in preserving so many centuries-old melodies from obscurity, or oblivion.

Part I of the Armenian Dances is built upon five Armenian folk songs which were first notated, purified, researched and later arranged by Gomidas for solo voice with piano accompaniment, or unaccompanied chorus. In order of their appearance in the score, they are : Tzirani Tzar (The Apricot Tree); Gakavi Yerk (Partridge's Song); Hoy, Nazan Eem (Hoy, My Nazan); Alagyaz and Gna, Gna (Go, Go).

The Apricot Tree consists of three organically connected songs which were transcribed in 1904. Its declamatory beginning, rhythmic vitality and ornamentation make this a highly expressive song.

The Partridge's Song is an original song by Gomidas; it was published in 1908 in Tiflis, Georgia. He originally arranged it for solo voice and children's choir, and later for solo voice with piano accompaniment. It has a simple, delicate melody which might, perhaps, be thought of as depicting the tiny steps of the partridge.

Hoy, Nazan Eem was published in 1908, in a choral version arranged by Gomidas. This lively, lyric love song depicts a young man singing the praises of his beloved Nazan (a girl's name). The song has dance rhythms and ornamentation which make it an impressive, catchy tune.

Alagyaz (name of a mountain in Armenia), was first written by Gomidas for solo voice with piano accompaniment, and also in a choral arrangement. It is a beloved Armenian folk song, and it long-breathed melody is as majestic as the mountain itself.

Go, Go is a humorous, light-textured tune. In performance, Gomidas coupled it with a contrasting slower song, The Jug. Its repeated note pattern musically depicts the expression of laughter. This song also is in recitative style.

- Program Note by Violet Vagramian, Florida International University


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Arkansas: V
  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: VI
  • Iowa: V
  • Kansas: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Maryland: VI
  • Massachusetts: V
  • Michigan: Senior High AA
  • Minnesota: I
  • Mississippi: VI-A
  • New York: Concert Band VI
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • South Carolina: VI
  • Tennessee: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: VI
  • Wisconsin: Event 3000 Concert Band Class A Standard Repertoire


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Wind Symphony (Rubén Darío Gómez, conductor) - 4 June 2021
  • Lebanon Valley College (Annville, Penn.) Symphonic Band (Christopher J Heffner, conductor) - 13 May 2021
  • North Dakota State University (Fargo) Wind Symphony (Warren Olfert, conductor) - 1 May 2021
  • Vandegrift High School (Austin, Tex.) Symphonic Band – 14 April 2021
  • Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) Wind Symphony (Donald Peterson, conductor) - 9 April 2021
  • Jackson (Miss.) State University Wind Ensemble (Lowell Hollinger, conductor) – 4 March 2020
  • Encore Concert Band (Mokena, Ill.) (Bill Schuetter, conductor) – 1 March 2020
  • CBDNA North-Central (Chicago, Ill.) Intercollegiate Band (J. Eric Wilson, conductor) – 22 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 North Central Division Conference, Chicago, Ill.)
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Honors Wind Symphony (Russel C. Mikkelson, conductor) - 19 January 2020
  • Ohio University (Athens) Symphonic Band (Richard Suk, conductor) – 5 December 2019
  • Old Dominion University (Norfolk, Va.) Wind Ensemble (Brian Diller, conductor) – 20 November 2019
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Crane Concert Band (William L. Lake, Jr., conductor) – 20 November 2019
  • Delaware Winds (Dover) (Jordan E. Kinsey, conductor) - 29 October 2019
  • University of Oregon (Eugene) Wind Symphony (Jason Silveira, conductor) – 25 October 2019
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Symphonic Band (Jerry Luckhardt, conductor) – 17 October 2019
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Wind Symphony (Jaclyn Hartenberger, conductor) – 18 September 2019
  • Golden Gate Park Band (San Francisco, Calif.) (Robert Calonico, conductor) – 12 May 2019
  • Clovis (Calif.) East High School Wind Ensemble (Marco Mellone, conductor) – 12 April 2019 (2019 San Joaquin Valley (Calif.) Concert Band Invitational)
  • Clovis (Calif.) East High School Wind Ensemble (Marco Mellone, conductor) – 15 March 2019 (2019 Sutherland Wind Festival (Fresno, Calif.)
  • Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa) Wind Ensemble (Craig A. Hancock, conductor) – 3 February 2019
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Concert Band (Ryan S. Smith, conductor) – 3 December 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Come, Sweet Death (Flex instrumentation) (as transcriber; arr. Benson) (1736/1976/2019)
  • Two Bagatelles (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Clark) (1983/1997/2010)

All Wind Works