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Sol y Sombra

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George E Gates (rev. Van Ragsdale)

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General Info

Year: 1958 / 1974
Duration: c. 4:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Southern Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $99.95   |   Score Only (print) - $15.00

For further availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Full Score
Flute I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Cornets I-II-III
E-flat Horn or Alto I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The title of this paso doble refers to the custom of selling bullfight tickets for the sunny (sol) or shady (sombra) side of the arena. Gates composed this work for the Richardson High School Band in 1958 during the time he served as director of that well-known organization. This edition was revised nationally recognized band director and writer Van Ragsdale in 2001.

- Program Note from Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music

Meaning the “sun and the shadow” in Spanish, Sol y Sombra refers to the seats available for purchase at bullfighting* events, those in sun or those in shadow. Seats labelled “sol y sombra” are seats that get their share of the sun and the shadow alike throughout the event.

The “sun” has an upbeat, classic march phrasing with accents and emphasized articulation, depicting the brash and strong bull. In contrast, the “shadow” has legato lines that are softer with hints of Spanish dance, depicting the graceful bullfighter. Throughout the piece, the two parts fight over the spotlight as the transition between the two phrasings seem harsh and evident like the clashings of the bull and the bullfighter, but as the piece continues, the two parts learn to share the spotlight. The “sun” would be soft while the “shadow” claims prominence and vice versa. The bullfighting has become more of a dance than a fight. The contrasting “shadow” and the “sun” soon mixes parts as one layers over another and melds into one march, Sol y Sombra.

- Program Note by Angel Li for the University of Georgia Hodgson University Band concert program, 15 February 2017

Depicting the atmosphere of a bullfighting arena, the music begins with an introduction that grabs the listener’s attention, as if preparing the audience for an exciting spectacle. The first theme depicts the protagonist, a bullfighter, as he/she anticipates the challenge ahead. However, the bullfighter glimpses his/her love (depicted by the second theme), as he/she enters the arena. It is up to you to determine which will be victorious, the bull or true love...

- Program Note from University of Georgia Hodgson Wind Symphony concert program, 28 March 2018

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of California (Berkeley) Wind Ensemble II (Matthew Sadowski, conductor) – 28 April 2019
  • University of Texas (Austin) Texas Concert Band (Scott Hanna, conductor) – 3 March 2019
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Symphonic Band (Dan Dietrich, conductor) – 5 October 2018
  • University of North Texas (Denton) University Band (Jacqueline Townsend, conductor) – 23 April 2018
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Wind Symphony (Jaclyn Hartenberger, conductor) – 28 March 2018
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson University Band (Matthew Sadowski, conductor) – 15 February 2017
  • Allan Hancock College (Santa Maria, Calif.) Concert Band (Greg Stoll, conductor) – 1 October 2016
  • UGA Honor Wind Symphony – January 2016
  • University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) University Band (Brian Coffill, conductor) – 10 October 2013

Works for Winds by this Composer