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Blue Shades

From Wind Repertory Project
Score Cover

Frank Ticheli

General Info

Year: 1997
Duration: c. 10:35
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Manhattan Beach Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $265.00   |   Score Only - $30.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Eb Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Bb Bass Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Bassoon I-II
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpets (in Bb) I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos
  • Castanets
  • Cowbell
  • Cymbals
    • Crash
    • Ride
    • Splash
    • Suspended
  • Marimba
  • Slapstick
  • Snare Drum (brushes)
  • Tambourine
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tom-Toms (4)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Vibraslap
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


Program Notes

Four years, and several compositions later, I finally took the opportunity to realize that need by composing Blue Shades. As its title suggests, the work alludes to the blues, and a jazz feeling is prevalent -- however, it is not literally a blues piece. There is not a single 12-bar blues progression to be found, and except for a few isolated sections, the eighth-note is not swung.

The work, however, is heavily influenced by the blues: "Blue notes" (flatted 3rds, 5ths, and 7ths) are used constantly; blues harmonies, rhythms, and melodic idioms pervade the work; and many "shades of blue" are depicted, from bright blue, to dark, to dirty, to hot blue.

At times, Blue Shades burlesques some of the clichés from the Big Band era, not as a mockery of those conventions, but as a tribute. A slow and quiet middle section recalls the atmosphere of a dark, smoky blues haunt. An extended clarinet solo played near the end recalls Benny Goodman's hot playing style, and ushers in a series of "wailing" brass chords recalling the train whistle effects commonly used during that era.

Blue Shades was commissioned by a consortium of thirty university, community, and high school concert bands under the auspices of the Worldwide Concurrent Premieres and Commissioning Fund. All of the commissioning parties are acknowledged at the end of these program notes.

- Program Note by Frank Ticheli

Commercial Discography

Audio Links

State Ratings

  • Florida: VI
  • New York: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles) Thornton Wind Ensemble (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor) - 11 October 2019
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, All College Band (Carrie Pawelski, conductor) – 2 October 2019
  • Kent (Ohio) State University Wind Ensemble (Jesse Leyva, conductor) – 27 September 2019
  • Metropolitan Wind Symphony (Boston, Mass.) (Lewis J. Buckley, conductor)– 8 June 2019
  • Diablo Wind Symphony (Pleasant Hill, Calif.) (John Maltester, conductor) – 8 June 2018 (Golden Gate Park, San Francisco)
  • Greater Hartford (Conn.) Youth Wind Ensemble (Glen Adsit, conductor) – 12 May 2019
  • Genesee Valley Wind Ensemble (Batavia, N.Y.) (Philip J. Briatico, conductor) – 27 April 2019
  • Little Rock (Arkansas) Winds (Israel Getzov, conductor) – 25 April 2019
  • Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, O.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Richard Edwards, conductor) – 23 April 2019
  • Duke University (Durham, N.C.) Wind Symphony (Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant, conductor) – 11 April 2019
  • Cleveland Winds (Cleveland, Ohio) (Birch Browning, conductor) – 7 April 2019
  • Sacramento (Calif.) Symphonic Winds (Tim Smith, conductor) – 10 March 2019
  • University of Rhode Island (Kingston) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Gene Pollart, conductor) – 4 March 2019
  • Metropolitan Wind Symphony (Lexington, Mass). (Louis J. Buckley, conductor) – 3 March 2019
  • Wisconsin Lutheran College (Milwaukee) Concert Band (Terry S. Treuden, conductor) – 1 March 2019
  • Huron (Mich.) High School Symphony Band (Robert Ash, conductor) – 28 February 2019
  • Hope College (Holland, Mich.) Wind Ensemble (Gabe Southard, conductor; Marissa Lockwood, clarinet) – 22 February 2019
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Symphonic Band (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 15 November 2018
  • University of Colorado Boulder Symphonic Band (Matthew Roeder, conductor) – 14 November 2018
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 4 November 2018
  • California State University, Stanislaus, Wind Ensemble (Stuart Sims, conductor) – 16 October 2018

Works for Winds by this Composer