From Wind Repertory Project
Morton Gould

Morton Gould

Subtitle: On We Shall Overcome

General Info

Year: 1976
Duration: c. 7:10
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts - $80


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon (optional)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra Alto Clarinet (optional)
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet (optional)
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass (optional)
Piano or Harp (optional)
Percussion, including:

  • Attached Cymbals
  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Gong
  • Marimba (or Chimes)
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

American Ballads is the result of a Bicentennial Commission by the Queens Symphony Orchestra through grants from the New York State Council of the Arts and the U.S. Historical Society. It seemed logical to continue the paraphrases and instrumental comment on our musical heritage that shaped my career though the years. My American Salute is the most widely known example of this aspect of my writing. I purposely selected American “chestnuts” because of obvious immediacy and familiarity, and therefore a challenge to hopefully enhance them in orchestral transformation. However, there are also extra musical and personal reasons for the choice of materials and approach.

I was born and grew up in Queens, and in my early schooling the sound and image of America The Beautiful moved me, and still does. The Star-Spangled Banner, so difficult to sing, instrumentally has to me a kind of classical strength – perhaps all drinking songs (which this originally was) do. Jubilo is an extroverted freedom song from the Civil War period by a prolific and widely sung composer of that time, Henry C. Work. Taps has a strange, simple finality expressed through a few basic notes. The Girl I Left Behind Me is a jaunty type of marching tune from colonial times obviously derived from "The Old Country." Among its uses was a satirical taunting of "Gentleman Johnny" Burgoyne on his defeat at Saratoga – hence the Saratoga Quickstep.

We shall Overcome has its roots in gospel, but it has become a national hymn of hope and inspiration. Folk and popular expressions transcend national, regional, ethnic, and social origin; they voice the sound of people, and in that sense are universal.

The scoring is for conventional orchestra and was completed February 7, 1976. The individual movements are performable alone, and their order as a suite is interchangeable at the conductor’s discretion.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

  • Louisiana: V
  • Virginia: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Florida State University (Tallahassee) University Concert Band (Drew Hardy-Moore, conductor) - 26 February 2023
  • University of Akron (Ohio) Wind Symphony (Alfred Watkins, conductor) – 14 February 2022
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Orchestra (Andrew Trachsel, conductor) - 8 February 2022
  • Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) Wind Symphony (James Batcheller, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Symphonic Band (Dennis W. Fisher, conductor) – 5 February 2019
  • Messiah College (Mechanicsburg, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (James Colonna, conductor) – 8 November 2018
  • University of Wisconsin-Parkside Community Band (Laura Rexroth, conductor) – 18 October 2018
  • Cleveland State University (Ohio) Wind Ensemble (Birch Browning, conductor) – 22 February 2018
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Ensemble (Nicholas Enrico Williams, conductor) – 16 February 2016
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Symphonic Band (Dennis W. Fisher, conductor) - 23 October 2014
  • Valparaiso University Chamber Concert Band - 2013
  • University of South Florida (Tampa) Wind Ensemble (Kenneth Ozzello, conductor) - 6 March 2013 (ABA 2013 Annual Convention (Tampa, Florida))

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Batcheller, James. "Hymnal (on "We Shall Overcome")." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 10, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 616-628. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2015.
  • Gould, M. (1979). Hymnal: (On "We Shall Overcome"): For Band [score]. G. Schirmer: New York.