From Wind Repertory Project
Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland

General Info

Year: 1964
Duration: 11:40
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Cost: Score and Parts - $140.00   |   Score Only - $22.50


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Euphonium I-II
Tuba I-II
String Bass (optional)
Piano and Celesta
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bongos
  • Congas
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tenor Drum
  • Triangle
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


See errata list in Casey, in Resources, below.

  • Condensed score, p. 23, reh. 40: add Common time meter signature to all staves.
  • Condensed score, p. 23, 1 m. after reh. 50, beat 1: add Common time meter signature to all staves.

Program Notes

In May, 1963, I received a letter from Keith Wilson, President of the College Band Directors National Association, asking me to accept a commission from that organization to compose a work for band. He wrote: 'The purpose of this commission is to enrich the band repertory with music that is representative of the composer's best work, and not one written with all sorts of technical or practical limitations.' That was the origin of Emblems. I began work on the piece in the summer of 1964 and completed it in November of that year. It was first played at the CBDNA National Convention in Tempe, Arizona, on December 18, 1964, by the Trojan Band of the University of Southern California, conducted by William A. Schaefer.

Keeping Mr. Wilson's injunction in mind, I wanted to write a work that was challenging to young players without overstraining their technical abilities. The work is tripartite in form: slow-fast-slow, with the return of the first part varied. Embedded in the quiet, slow music the listener may hear a brief quotation of a well-known hymn tune Amazing Grace, published by William Walker in The Southern Harmony in 1835. Curiously enough, the accompanying harmonies had been conceived first, without reference to any tune. It was only a chance of perusal of a recent anthology of old 'Music in America' that made me realize a connection existed between my harmonies and the old hymn tune.

An emblem stands for something - it is a symbol. I called the work Emblems because it seemed to me to suggest musical states of being: noble or aspirational feelings, playful or spirited feelings. The exact nature of these emblematic sounds must be determined for himself by each listener.

- Program Note by Aaron Copland

This is Copland's only work written expressly for wind ensemble.

- Program Note by Russel Mikkelson


State Ratings

  • Florida: VI --- (The Florida Bandmasters Association denotes this work as significant literature)
  • New York: VI
  • North Carolina: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Maryland (College Park) Wind Orchestra (Christine Higley, conductor) - 11 November 2023
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 28 April 2023
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (George Vosburgh, conductor) - 13 November 2022
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Darren Lin, conductor) - 23 October 2022 (New London, Conn.)
  • University of North Florida (Jacksonville) Wind Symphony (Erin Bodnar, conductor) - 12 October 2022
  • Concordia Band (Moorhead, Minn.) (Lindsay Ross Boyd, conductor) - 25 April 2021
  • University of Maryland (College Park) Wind Symphony (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor) – 29 February 2020
  • Northern Symphonic Winds (Potsdam, N.Y.) (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 15 February 2020
  • Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (Matthew McInturf, conductor) - 13 February 2020 (2020 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City) Wind Ensemble (Timothy Sexton, conductor) – 5 February 2020
  • Brooklyn (N.Y.) Wind Symphony (Jeff W. Ball, conductor) – 14 December 2019
  • Kennesaw (Ga.) State University Wind Symphony (Debra Traficante, conductor) – 18 November 2019
  • University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Symphonic Band (Anthony Falcone, conductor) – 10 October 2019
  • West Chester University (Penn.) Wind Symphony (M. Gregory Martin, conductor) – 24 April 2019
  • University of Southern California (Los Angeles) Thornton Wind Ensemble (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor) – 23 February 2019 (CBDNA 2019 National Conference, Tempe, Ariz.)
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence) Wind Ensemble (Paul Popiel, conductor) – 21 February 2019
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor) - 17 February 2019
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (Kevin M. Geraldi, conductor) – 15 February 2019
  • Young Artists Wind Ensemble (Tanglewood, Lennox, Mass.) (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor) - 29 July 2018
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Symphonic Band (John M. Watkins, Jr., conductor) - 19 April 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer