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Finnegan's Wake

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Archibald James Potter

Archibald Potter (ed. Sarah M. Burn)

Subtitle: Irish Street Ballad

General Info

Year: 1956 / 1970 / 1994 / 2006
Duration: c. 3:40
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Ballad
Publisher: Seolta Music Limited
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $80.00   |   Score Only (print) - $12.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass drum
  • Cymbals
  • Gong
  • Gourds (or Chinese blocks)
  • Snare drum


  • Baritone Saxophone: Letter H should be at bar 152, not bar 147
  • Trumpets I & III: should be Open at bar 73
  • Clarinet I, bars 94-107: should have Oboe cues
  • Tuba, bar 48: should have a low D on beat 2
  • Score, bars 152-167: should show that Tuba has String Bass cues
  • Tuba, bars 73-77: should be on downbeats (with string bass) rather than upbeats
  • Trumpet III: letter D should be at bar 65, not bar 61
  • Trumpet III: letter K should be at bar 185, not bar 181

Program Notes

This lively arrangement tells the story of Finnegan, who, fond of a drop of whisky, falls off a ladder at work. While laid out in his home before the funeral, a brawl breaks out during which a naggin of whisky is broken, spilling on the body. As Potter described himself... ‘Having been thus anointed with the precious spirit, the corpse arose, Lazarus-like, and addressed the assembled company in forceful language!’

- Program Note from Texas A&M Symphonic Band concert program, 18 November 2018

Finnegan's Wake is one of Potter's best-known works for concert band. Potter tells the story of the famous Dublin street ballad Finnegan's Wake through music, painting a colourful picture of the lovable rogue, Tim Finnegan.

- Program Note from publisher


State Ratings

  • North Carolina: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Irish Symphonic Wind Orchestra (Limerick) (Timothy Reynish, conductor) - 3 November 2019
  • Texas A&M University (College Station) Symphonic Band (Travis Almany, conductor) – 18 November 2018
  • Mettenheimer Bläser (Martin Lamprecht, conductor) – 29 June 2014

Works for Winds by This Composer