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Dance of the Jesters

From Wind Repertory Project
Peter I. Tchaikovsky

Peter I Tchaikovsky (trans. Ray E Cramer)

General Info

Year: 1873 / 1997
Duration: c. 4:45
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Curnow Music Press
Cost: Score and Parts - $129.00   |   Score Only - $25.00


Full Score
Piccolo I-II
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
Eb Soprano Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Contra-Alto Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophone I-II
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Bb Trumpet I-II
Bb Cornet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-II
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


There is a missing accent on beat two in measure 349 of the tenor saxophone part.

Professor Cramer's program note from the score (copied below) erroneously attributes this music to a nonexistent ballet entitled The Snow Maidens. It is actually from incidental music to an 1873 play by Alexander Ostrovsky entitled The Snow Maiden.

Program Notes

Dance of the Jesters is a prime example of Tchaikovsky’s keen sense of musical nationalism. Originally composed as incidental music for the ballet The Snow Maidens, the dance forever captures the color and zest of Russian folk dance music. The ballet about the Snow Maiden, the daughter of Father Frost, tells of her forbidden love with a human, Misgir, who is already betrothed to Coupava. The Snow Maiden follows him southward with plans to interrupt his wedding, but tragically melts under the rays of the southern sun.

Upon meeting Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1868, Tchaikovsky renewed his keen sense of musical nationalism. Inspired by the master composer, Tchaikovsky's compositional style would forever capture the color and zest of Russian folk dance and music. The flurry, energetic drive and playful melodies associated with his ballet scores are all heard in this rare and invigorating music. This edition comes from an arrangement from the ballet The Snow Maidens that was originally transcribed for a Russian military band.

- Program Note from transcriber

Dance of the Jesters (Dance of the Buffoons) is one of the more commonly performed works from The Snow Maiden, often used as an encore in orchestral settings. In the band transcription, Cramer captures the flurry and energetic spirit of the original work with brass fanfares, playful ballet melodies, rapid woodwind and keyboard passages, along with invigorating percussion scoring which punctuates throughout.

- Program Note by Rich Pauch for the Wheaton Municipal Band concert program, 21 December 2017

Commercial Discography

Audio Links

Sample download; ensemble and conductor unknown

State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Louisiana: IV
  • Michigan: Senior High AA
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Yolo Community Band (Woodland, Calif.) (Bobby Rogers, conductor) - 1 June 2019
  • Andrews University (Berrien Springs, Mich.) Wind Symphony (Edgar Luna, conductor) – 13 April 2019
  • United States Coast Guard Band (New London, Conn.) (Adam Williamson, conductor) – 14 April 2019
  • University of Texas (Austin) Wind Symphony (Scott Hanna, conductor) – 5 April 2019
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Wind Symphony (Shanti Simon, conductor) – 25 February 2019
  • CBDNA Small Band Programs Intercollegiate Band (Tempe, Ariz.) (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 23 February 2019 (CBDNA 2019 National Conference, Tempe, Ariz.)
  • Pacific Lutheran University (Parkland, Wash.) Wind Ensemble (Edwin Powell, conductor) – 8 February 2019
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Symphonic Band (Jerry Luckhardt, conductor) – 11 October 2018
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Wind Ensemble (Scott Teeple, conductor) – 5 October 2018
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Collegiate Winds (David Hedgecoth, conductor) – 4 October 2018
  • Syracuse University (NY) Wind Ensemble (Bradley P. Ethington, conductor) - 19 April 2018
  • Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) Wind Symphony (Don L. Peterson, conductor) – 13 April 2018
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Concert Band (Courtney Snyder, conductor) – 16 March 2018
  • New Orleans (La.) Concert Band (Charles Taylor, conductor) – 11 March 2018
  • Truman University (Kirksville, Mo.) Wind Symphony I (Timothy Clasby, conductor) – 8 March 2018
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Wind Symphony (David Waybright, conductor) – 11 January 2018
  • Wheaton (Ill.) Municipal Band (Bruce Moss, conductor) - 21 December 2017 (2017 Midwest Clinic)
  • McMurry University (Abilene, Tex.) Wind Ensemble (David Robinson, conductor) – 7 November 2017

Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Tchaikovsky, P.; Cramer, R. (1997). Dance of the Jesters [score]. Curnow Music Press: Wilmore, KY.