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Piece of Mind

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Dana Wilson

Dana Wilson

General Info

Year: 1987
Duration: c. 22:30
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig Music Inc.
Cost: Score and Parts - $195.00   |  Score Only - $35.00


1. Thinking - 3:35
2. Remembering - 4:02
3. Feeling - 6:56
4. Being - 6:40


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

  • Antique Cymbal
  • Bass Drum
  • Bell Tree
  • Bongos
  • Cabasa
  • Celeste
  • Crotales
  • Cymbals (small, medium, and large crash, suspended)
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong (small and large) (Tam-tam)
  • Hi-Hat
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Timbales
  • Tom-Toms
  • Triangle (small)
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


(As provided by


m. 113: dots missing on all half notes; the percussion I part stops at the end of bar 113, but the score shows that it should continue also in bar 114 like Percussion II part. Score is correct.

Movement I

a. sax: 52, 54 (1st), 55: C natural
t. sax 52, 54, 55: F natural
clar 2: 54 C#
clar 3: 54 G#
clar: 24: slurs not in parts clar 1,2 (score only): 73 no F
fl (part): 55 rhythm
pno 58 bass clef in lower staff (part is okay)
tuba: 69 tie into next measure

Movement II

Fl 1: 55 B not G on beat 4 54 says “a3”; several flutes can double, but technically there’s only a fl. 1 part for second mvmt.
Clar.2,3: 94 tie
Clar and bssn: 21 “p”
Pno: m. 13 G#; 42 (score only) add 5’s for quintuplets
Fl and marimba: 59 very last note: Db
Bass: 71 dotted eighth/sixteenth on beat one
m. 64: rhythm of one of ww part might be wrong.

Movement IV
Clar 1: 123 stacc. On A
124 tenuto as in 122
127 stacc. On C#
Bssn I and B. Clar. (part only) : 81 beat 3: sixteenth instead of eighth
Tbn: 113 tied D#

Program Notes

Piece of Mind is a musical pun on an old expression. It is composer Dana Wilson's representation of the workings of the human mind. The first movement, Thinking, begins with a very simple four-note idea thatgrows seemingly of its own inertia -- as thinking about something often does -- while sometimes being joined or overwhelmed by other, related ideas.

Remembering, the second movement, is structured in a manner similar to the way memory serves most of us -- not as complete, logical thought, but as abrupt flashes of images or dialogue. In this case, the flashes provide a view of the original four-note idea through various musical styles vividly entrenched in the composer's own memory and, hopefully, that of much of the audience.

The third movement, Feeling, explores various states throughout the emotional spectrum, and the final movement, Being, addresses a mental state that is rarely considered in our culture. Non-Western -- particularly East Indian -- musical styles are called upon to shape the four-note idea so as to conjure up and celebrate this marvelous attribute (this piece, this peace...) of mind.

Piece of Mind was premiered in New York City by the Ithaca College Wind Ensemble under the direction of Rodney Winther.

- Program Note from Printed Score

Lois Ferrari (DMA, Eastman School of Music) shared valuable insight into Wilson’s process in her 1995 dissertation. The following are excerpts of the composer’s commentary:

I gradually learned that there is only one world of music despite the different languages, and communication comes from the writer finding something meaningful in one or several of those languages and leading the listener down a given path with resolve and commitment ... I use this broader stylistic palette the way another composer might use a timbral or harmonic palette ... It's no longer unusual to walk down a street of a large city and to hear within one block a few different languages spoken and to see different dressing styles; it lends a broader sweep to humanity somehow and in the right context can add depth to the experience.

With regard to Piece of Mind specifically, Thinking, the first movement, is roughly based on African principles of layering and appears to be very logical in its evolution and convolutions -– to represent the logical "thinking" process of its title. ...Since jazz and rock have perhaps their strongest roots in African music ... it is difficult to differentiate ... between African and Western layering techniques...

African music often involves simultaneous metric patterns that are intended to be heard not in relation to one another but rather as concurrent. The Thinking movement is notated in a consistent meter from one instrument to another for purposes of common notation [and] performance practice, but hearing it is a different matter. It is my hope that one hears the same materials in different instruments but each moving along at its own pace and in its own manner.

Moving to the second movement, Remembering presents the idea [C-A-B-E] in ways that the mind often remembers –- sometimes as sudden bursts and sometimes as vague reminiscences. I chose jazz styles as the vehicle for two reasons: first, this is the music that is most embedded in my own "remembering," and second, because I could give a rapid sense of chronology –- memory depth, if you will –- through musical reference ... Since the overall context of the work is not jazz, these allusions are perhaps even more startling and, hopefully, convincing.

Piece of Mind – a musical pun on an old expression – is Wilson’s representation of the workings of the human mind.

- Program Note from the University of Nebraska Wind Ensemble concert program, 28 February 2016

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

Louisiana: V
Maryland: VI
North Carolina: VI
Texas: V
Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Delaware (Newark) Wind Ensemble (Lauren Reynolds, conductor) - 7 May 2021
  • Cleveland Winds (Cleveland, Ohio) (Birch Browning, conductor) – 15 March 2020
  • University of Missouri, Kansas City, Wind Ensemble (Joseph Parisi, conductor) – 25 April 2018
  • Baylor University (Waco, Tx.) Wind Ensemble) (J. Eric Wilson, conductor) – 21 April 2018
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.) Peabody Wind Ensemble (Harland D. Parker, conductor) – 11 April 2018
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Stephen G. Peterson, conductor) – 25 February 2018
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Wind Ensemble (Carolyn Barber, conductor) – 25 February 2016 (CBDNA 2016 North Central Division Conference, Ames, Iowa)
  • McGill University (Montreal, Que.) Wind Orchestra (Jean-Sébastien Vallée, conductor) – 6 October 2017
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Michelle Rakers, conductor) – 10 April 2016
  • University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Wind Ensemble (Carolyn Barber, conductor) – 28 February 2016
  • University of British Columbia (Vancouver) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Robert Taylor, conductor) – 20 November 2015
  • Shenandoah Conservatory (Winchester, Va.) Wind Ensemble (Timothy Robblee, conductor) – 11 April 2015
  • Knightwind Ensemble (Milwaukee, Wisc.) (Erik Janners, conductor) - 1 April 2012

Works for Winds by This Composer

A complete list of Dana Wilson's compositions may be found here: