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Gumsuckers March

From Wind Repertory Project
(Redirected from Gumsucker's March)
Percy Aldridge Grainger

Percy Aldridge Grainger (ed. R Mark Rogers)

Subtitle: From In a Nutshell

There appears to be no universal agreement on whether the word should be Gum-Suckers or Gumsuckers.

General Info

Year: 1914 / 1996
Duration: c. 3:50
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Southern Music Company
Cost: Score and Parts - $85.00   |   Score - $20.00


Full Score
Flute I-II-III (III substitute for Eb Soprano Clarinet)
Oboe I-II English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Eb Soprano Clarinet
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Contra-Alto Clarinet (substitute for Contrabassoon)
Bb Contrabass Clarinet (substitute for Contrabassoon)
Soprano Saxophone
Alto Saxophone I-II (I substitute for Soprano Saxophone)
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Cornet (in Bb) I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V-VI-VII, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbals (crash and suspended)
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Nabimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Staff Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

A "Gum-Sucker" is an Australian nickname for Australians born in Victoria, the home state of the composer. The eucalyptus trees that abound in Victoria are called "gums", and the young shoots at the bottom of the trunk are called "suckers"; so "gum-sucker" came to mean a young native son of Victoria, just as Ohioans are nicknamed "Buck-eyes". In the march, Grainger used his own Australian Up-Country Tune melody, written by him to typify Australia, which melody he also employed in his Colonial Song for two voices and orchestra, or military band.

- Program Note by Percy Aldridge Grainger

The Gumsuckers March was sketched for wind band in the late 1930s but not finished until the summer of 1942. The first theme was composed by Grainger at Hill Hall, Epping, England, around 1911, and the second theme dates from 1905. The complete march was worked out in the summer of 1914 at Evergood Cottage, Goudhurst, Kent, England, and scored for orchestra late that year in New York. Grainger used what he called "tone-clashfulness" (writing of independent harmonies for various families of instruments, creating moments of dissonance). The lyric theme from this march can also be found in his Colonial Song and Australian Up-Country Tune. The second theme contains motives from The Widow's Party March.

- Program Note by California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Ensemble concert program, 6 December 2015

For the time of its composition, the piece is notable in its integral use of piano and a wide variety of mallet percussion instruments.

- Program Note from University of North Texas Concert Band concert program, 5 October 2016

“Gum-Suckers” is a somewhat humorous nickname for Australians from the state of Victoria. During the very warm summers, these people would refresh themselves by sucking on the blades from the Eucalyptus trees native to that region. Pianist and writer Joseph Robert Smith wrote the following concerning Grainger and such titles: "The general public is not aware of the sophisticated musicianship of his music, while the celebrated tastemakers are not generally attracted to pieces with such titles as The Gum-Suckers."

This march is the fourth movement from Grainger’s In a Nutshell Suite, a work originally for orchestra that was arranged for band in 1942.

- Program Note from State University of New York, Fredonia, Concert Band concert program, 27 September 2018

‘Gum-Suckers’ is a nickname for Australians from the state of Victoria, sucking refreshing blades from the typical Eucalyptus trees of the region during the warm summers. The pianist and writer Joseph Robert Smith had the following to say about Grainger and such titles: "The general public is not aware of the sophisticated musicianship of his music, while the celebrated tastemakers are not generally attracted to pieces with such titles as “The Gum-Suckers”."

This march is the fourth movement from In a Nutshell Suite, orchestrated for band in 1942 and dedicated to ‘Henry and Abbie Finck, with love’. In our performance, we used the complex and colorful percussion parts from the orchestral version, including, for example, staff bells and some of Grainger’s special Deagan instruments like the steel marimba-phone. We even built our own version of the nabimba. Grainger sometimes played the piano part himself with bands in this march. Even though the piano is not really treated as a virtuoso solo instrument here, it still is a somewhat outstanding item in the scoring.

- Program Note by Bjarte Engeset for the University of Texas Symphony Band concert program, 7 December 2018

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Tasmania (Australia) Wind Ensemble (Sean Priest, conductor) – 10 May 2019
  • University of North Dakota (Bismarck) Wind Ensemble (James Popejoy, conductor) – 25 April 2019
  • University of Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown, PEI) Wind Symphony (Karem J. Simon, Conductor) - 31 March 2019
  • San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Wind Orchestra (Jennifer Martin, conductor) – March 23, 2019
  • Bixby High School (Okla.) Wind Ensemble (Jeremy W. Parker, conductor) - 24 February 2019
  • Tarleton State University (Stephenville, Tx.) Wind Ensemble (David Robinson, conductor; Leslie Spotz, piano) – 5 March 2019
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Mark Scatterday, conductor) – 20 February 2019
  • University of Oregon (Eugene) Wind Ensemble (David M. Jacobs, conductor) – 6 February 2019
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Stephen G. Peterson, conductor) – 24 January 2019
  • University of Texas (Austin) Symphony Band (Pamornpan Komolpamorn, conductor) –- 7 December 2018
  • University of Missouri, Kansas City, Wind Symphony (Steven D. Davis, conductor) – 6 December 2018
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Concert Band (Jason H. Nam, conductor) – 13 November 2018
  • Arkansas State University (Jonesboro) Symphonic Winds (Sarah Labovitz, conductor) – 8 November 2018
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Indiana, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (Timothy Paul, conductor) – 7 October 2018
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Concert Band (Ray Stewart, conductor) – 27 September 2018
  • McPherson (Kan.) College Concert Band (Kyle Hopkins, conductor) – 8 May 2018
  • Sherwood (Ore.) High School Wind Ensemble (Brant Stai, conductor) – 9 March 2018
  • Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo) Symphonic Band (Scott Boerma, conductor) – 23 February 2018 (CBDNA 2018 North Central Conference, Kalamazoo, Mich.)
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Orchestra (Terrence Milligan, conductor) – 15 February 2018
  • West Virginia University (Morgantown) Wind Symphony (Scott C. Tobias, conductor) – 9 February 2018

Works for Winds by this Composer