Lassus Trombone (arr Schissel)

From Wind Repertory Project
Henry Fillmore

Henry Fillmore (arr. Loras John Schissel)

Subtitle: A Trombone Smear

General Info

Year: 1915 / 2000
Duration: c. 3:00
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts - $60.00   |   Score Only - $6.00


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II (II doubling E-flat Alto Clarinet)
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Cornets/Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Field Drum
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The minstrel show, which emerged as a form of entertainment in the United States in the 1840s, consisted for a time of humorous musical programs based on Northern concepts of Negro entertainment. Fillmore’s trombone smears, beginning with Miss Trombone in 1908, often included subtitles which were in the minstrel-vaudeville idiom of the time. Paul Bierley writes that they were also influenced by his Grandmother McKrell’s former slave, Sarah, a jolly soul who sang catchy old spirituals while she worked and was always treated with respect and kindness in the Fillmore household.

In addition to Lassus Trombone -- "De Cullud Valet to" Miss Trombone (1915) -- examples include: Pahson Trombone -- Lassus Trombone's “Old Man” (1916); ally Trombone -- Pahson Trombone’s Eldest Gal (1917); Shoutin’ Liza Trombone' -- Mose Trombone’s Ah-finity (1920); Dusty Trombone -- He's de Next Door Neighbor to Bones Trombone (1923); and Boss Trombone -- He’s de Head Man (1929). Other smears were written for Slim, Mose, Teddy, Bull, Bones, Ham, of course, Hot Trombone, which undoubtedly called for additional lubricant for the slide.

Lassus Trombone was John Philip Sousa’s favorite smear. He programmed the tune on every concert of one of his final tours. It was also Fillmore’s favorite. Delegates who attended the 1949 Southern Division meeting of the Music Educators' National Conference in Tampa, Florida, may have forgotten most of the other details, but they will never forget "Uncle Henry,” dressed in his customary white suit and wielding a huge baton, conducting a line of trombonists stretched across a football field playing his Lassus Trombone. The sheet music arrangement has sold over two million copes.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

The Loras Schissel arrangement of Henry Fillmore’s Lassus Trombone has been around in unpublished form for quite a few years. It has been the arrangement of choice of many of the top service and professional bands.

- Program Note from publisher

Lassus Trombone, according the author Paul Bierley, “is a classic. The structure is solid. The melody, harmony and rhythm are combined in a glorious, near perfect manner. It is highly listenable, clever and snappy. Because it literally exudes happiness, it is little wonder that Henry lived to see sales of the sheet music surpass the two-million mark. Lassus Trombone quickly took a place among the world’s toe-tappers, and it still falls in that category.”

When he was asked about the origin of the title, Fillmore responded, “Why, molasses, of course ... I thought of molasses on bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

- Program Note from the Fillmore Wind Band concert program, 22 December 2017


State Ratings

  • Kansas: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Courage (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Clark) (1919/2003/2012)
  • His Honor March (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Clark) (1933/2014)

All Wind Works


  • Fillmore, H.; Schissel, L. (2000). Lassus Trombone [score]. C.L. Barnhouse: Oskaloosa, Iowa.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 204-205.