Ballet for Band

From Wind Repertory Project
Cindy McTee

Cindy McTee

General Info

Year: 2004
Duration: c. 18:30
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: MMB Music
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental   |   Full Score Only $54.95


1. Introduction: On with the Dance
2. Waltz: Light Fantastic
3. Finale: Where Time Plays the Fiddle


Full Score
Flute I -II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Eb Contra-Bass Clarinet (Opt.)
Soprano Saxophone
Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Harp (Opt. if 5 Percussionists)
Percussion I-II-III-IV

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos
  • Cabasa
  • Cowbell
  • Cuica
  • Cymbals (3 suspended)
  • Flexatone
  • Hi-Hat
  • Marimba
  • Mark Tree
  • Ratchet
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Tom-Toms (4)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone (Opt.)
  • Vibraslap


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Ballet for Band (adapted from McTee's Symphony No. 1: Ballet for Orchestra) was commissioned by the Revelli Foundation and its affiliate, Bands of America, for first performance by the Honor Band of America Symphonic Band, Eugene Migliaro Corporon, conductor.

I. Introduction: On with the Dance

II. Waltz: Light Fantastic

III. Finale: Where Time Plays the Fiddle

Music is said to have come from dance – from the rhythmic impulses of men and women. Perhaps this explains my recent awareness of the inherent relationships between thought, feelings, and action -- that the impulse to compose often begins as a rhythmical stirring and leads to a physical response -- tensing muscles, gesturing with hands and arms, or quite literally, dancing.

In Music and the Mind, Anthony Storr observes that "the designation 'movement' for a section of a symphony, concerto, or sonata attests the indissoluble link between music and motion in our minds ..." There is also much pleasure to be gained from observing the gestures of a conductor, or from seeing the coordinated bowing of the string sections within an orchestra.

Composer Roger Sessions writes eloquently on the subject as well in The Musical Experience of Composer, Performer, Listener: The basic ingredient of music is not so much sound as movement ... I would even go a step farther, and say that music is significant for us as human beings principally because it embodies movement of a specifically human type that goes to the roots of our being and takes shape in the inner gestures which embody our deepest and most intimate responses.

My Ballet for Orchestra emerged out of a similar kinesthetic/emotional awareness and a renewed interest in dance music.

I first explored this approach to composition in an orchestral work entitled Circuits (1990) which reviewer Charles Ward described as follows:

Circuits ... was a charging, churning celebration of the musical and cultural energy of modern-day America. From repetitive ideas reminiscent of Steve Reich to walking bass lines straight from jazz, Circuits refracted important American musical styles of this century. Similarly, the kaleidoscope of melodies, musical "licks" and fragmented form aptly illustrated the electric, almost convulsive nature of American society near the start of the 21st century.

Although I have never made a conscious attempt to "be" American, I would agree that my musical style generally does reflect my American roots more than my European-based training.

European writers, however, continue to shape my thinking, especially the Swiss psychologist Carl G. Jung, who felt that creative energy sprang from the tension between the oppositions of conscious and unconscious, of thought and feeling, of objectivity and subjectivity, and of mind and body. So too have the integration and reconciliation of opposing elements become important aspects of my work. The frequent use of circular patterns, or ostinatos, offers both the possibility of suspended time and the opportunity for continuous forward movement. Carefully controlled pitch systems and thematic manipulations provide a measure of objectivity and reason, while kinetic rhythmic structures inspire bodily motion. Discipline yields to improvisation, and perhaps most importantly, humor takes its place comfortably alongside the grave and earnest. To quote Lord Byron: "On with the dance! Let joy be unconfined ..."

I. Introduction: On with the Dance

On with the dance! let joy be unconfined;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.

- Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

Inspired by the opening theme of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, a 3-note motif outlining the interval of a minor third (C, Eb, C) is developed and expanded to also include the interval of a major third (C, Eb, Cb). Following an excursion into a musical world informed by jazz rhythms and sounds, the movement concludes with a recapitulation of the opening material.

II. Waltz: Light Fantastic

Come & trip it as ye go
On the light fantastic toe.

- John Milton, L'Allegro

Following the classical symphonic model, the third movement is a dance -- in this case a quick waltz inspired by a memorable hearing of Ravel's La Valse in 2000 by the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Larry Rachleff. A rising half-step motif in the basses lightens the effect of the falling half-step motif heard in the previous movement.

III. Finale: Where Time Plays the Fiddle

O, Love's but a dance,
Where Time plays the fiddle!
See the couples advance,--
O, Love's but a dance!
A whisper, a glance,
"Shall we twirl down the middle?"
O, Love's but a dance,
Where Time plays the fiddle!v

- Henry Austin Dobson, Cupid's Alley

Motifs consisting of minor and major thirds as well as jazz elements continue to permeate the textures of the final movement. References to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring can be heard at several other points along the way. Material from the beginning of the piece returns, and a final statement of the opening motif (C-Eb-C) provides closure.

- Program Note by Cindy McTee

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Northern Illinois University (Dekalb) Wind Symphony II (Benjamin Randecker, conductor) - 22 April 2021
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Concert Band (Jason Nam, conductor) – 20 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 North Central Division Conference, Chicago, Ill.)
  • University of Ottawa (Ont.) Wind Ensemble (Daniel Gress, conductor) – 7 February 2019
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Concert Band (Courtney Snyder, conductor) – 11 February 2019
  • McGill University (Montreal, Que.) Wind Orchestra (Mélissa Biroun, conductor) – 2 November 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer