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Blue Shades

From Wind Repertory Project
Score Cover

Frank Ticheli

General Info

Year: 1997
Duration: c. 10:30
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Manhattan Beach Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $265.00   |   Score Only - $30.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Trombone I-II-III
Timpani (also plays Tambourine and Triangle)
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos
  • Castanets
  • Cowbell
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Marimba
  • Ride Cymbal
  • Slapstick
  • Snare Drum (brushes and sticks)
  • Splash
  • Suspended Cymbals (2)
  • Temple Blocks (3)
  • Tom-Toms (4)
  • 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

  • L. V. Berkner High School (Richardson, Tx.) Symphonic Band I (Frank Ticheli, conductor; Julian Bliss, clarinet) - 18 December 2019 (2019 Midwest Clinic)
  • Ohio University (Athens) Wind Symphony (William Talley, conductor) – 5 December 2019
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Symphony Band (Dan Harbaugh, conductor) – 25 November 2019
  • University of Texas, Arlington, Wind Symphony (Douglas Stotter, conductor) – 22 November 2019
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) – 22 November 2019
  • Sacramento (Calif.) State Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Frank Ticheli, conductor) – 8 November 2019
  • Oklahoma City (Okla.) University Wind Ensemble (Matthew Mailman, conductor) – 7 November 2019
  • 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
  • Texas Christian University (Fort Worth) Wind Symphony (Eddie Airheart, conductor) – 16 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
  • San Dieguito Academy (Encinitas, Calif.) Wind Ensemble I (Jeremy Wuertz, conductor) – 23 March 2019

Works for Winds by this Composer