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William Pitts

William Pitts

General Info

Year: 2010
Duration: c. 7:05
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: William Pitts Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $175.00   |   Score Only (print) - $50.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Tuba I-II
Percussion I-VIII, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Brake Drum
  • Chimes
  • Crotales
  • Drum Set
  • Gong
  • Marimba
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Temple Blocks
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wind Chimes
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

I have always loved the use of polyrhythm and implied polymeter for the sake of creating what seems to be instability and disjunction. I use these techniques as a thematic element in Conniption. The word "conniption" is defined as "a fit of hysterical emotion." I felt as though this concept of hysteria was an appropriate emotional context for the piece.

The main concepts that drive the piece are juxtaposition of opposites and often abrupt and unstable melodies and phrases. The opening of the piece begins with a unified trumpet “fanfare” that establishes the Lydian mode and metallic percussion, creating a residual layer of sound, in a sense echoing the trumpets. From here, the piece constantly adds layer upon layer to increase not only the excitement but also the tension and feeling of instability. The three-against-two and four-against-three rhythms are used throughout the percussion while the winds mostly stick with subdivisions of the duple feel. As the piece reaches its first climax at measure 41, the more unified polyrhythm brings the first change in tonal center.

The following section presents the most obvious juxtapositions: loud vs. soft, fast vs. slow, large intervallic leaps vs. clusters of notes, etc. The sustained flute and oboe notes contrast the fast motion of the percussion and clarinets, while the solo clarinet soars above all of them, seemingly out of time. The next section begins while the previous is still finishing, and the French horn melody and sustained brass chords contrast the numerous rhythmic elements in the woodwinds. Eventually, instability returns both melodically and rhythmically as the pieces shifts abruptly back and forth between atonal and swing jazz figures. From here, the woodwinds and percussion create an ostinato that persists over brass chordal development to an eventual climax. The ending is both triumphant and unified, ending similarly to how the piece began. The ends of phrases and transitions are abrupt by design, even to the final note.

Conniption is dedicated to my brothers, Ben and Matt. They're crazy. After all these years of them giving me "advice" as to what I should write (much of which I wish I had on camera), I felt it was time for me to honor at least some of their requests...

- Program Note by composer

For the ACC Band Directors Association.

- Program Note from score


  • Grant for Young and Emerging Wind Band Composers, 2010


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer