Three Tallis Melodies

From Wind Repertory Project
Thomas Tallis

Thomas Tallis (arr. Steve Danyew)

Subtitle: For 4- or 5-part flexible instrumentation + optional percussion

General Info

Year: 2020
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Steve Danyew
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $79.00   |   Each piece individually - $29.00


1. If Ye Love Me - 4:35
2. Third Mode Melody - 3:40
3. Variations on the Tallis Canon

Instrumentation (Adaptable Band)

Each wind section contains four parts (I-II-III-IV)

Full Score
C Treble Clef

  • Piccolo
  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Mallet Percussion
  • Violin

C Bass Clef

  • Bassoon
  • Trombone
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • Cello
  • Bass

C Alto Clef

  • Viola

B-flat Treble Clef

  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet
  • B-flat Soprano Saxophone
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone
  • B-flat Trumpet

B-flat Bass Clef

  • B-flat Bass Clarinet

E-flat Treble Clef

  • E-flat Alto Saxophone
  • E-flat Baritone Saxophone

F Treble Clef

  • Horn in F
  • English Horn

Percussion (optional)

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Timpani


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Since I first discovered renaissance choral music in college, I've been entranced with the beauty of this music. It is timeless and just as moving today as it must have been centuries ago. In 2019, I sang in a chamber choir (I'm really a saxophonist, but they still let me sing!), and one of the pieces we sang was the hymn Third Mode Melody by Thomas Tallis. The music captivated me. It lingered in my mind for weeks. Shortly thereafter, I had decided to write a piece for my college wind ensemble director, Gary Green, based on a photograph he took of a church in Savannah, Georgia. The mysterious and beautiful photograph and the music from Third Mode Melody seemed to fit well, so the piece came together quickly as Entrata.

After studying Third Mode Melody and weaving that music into my piece Entrata, I took time to explore other Tallis works. I had heard and sung the Tallis canon before, and also came across his stunning work If Ye Love Me.

Fast forwarding a bit to spring 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, composers and conductors began to think about creating music that could be adaptable to a wide range of instrumentations and ensemble sizes for fall 2020 (and potentially beyond). At the writing of these notes (July 2020) we still don't know how many musicians will be able to make music together, and how each school will organize classes. As I thought about creating music that could be flexible, I quickly thought of these Tallis works. I believe they are works of remarkable depth and beauty, while at the same time relatively simple. I think there is a lot to learn and enjoy from playing and studying this music, and so I decided these tunes might be helpful in a flexible setting.

As I was arranging this music, I pictured student groups of various sizes and instrumentations -- 7 wind players, or 12 strings, or 23 players including strings, winds and percussion -- all finding some solace and beauty in the music of Thomas Tallis. I pictured them being filled by the richness of this music, being touched by the depth of this centuries-old art. This thought inspired me to create this music, and I hope that teachers and students find it meaningful and rewarding.

- Program Note by composer

Thomas Tallis (c. 1505 – 23 November 1585) was an English composer who occupies a primary place in anthologies of English choral music. He is considered one of England's greatest composers, and he is honoured for his original voice in English musicianship.

- Program Note from Wikipedia

Performance Notes

Each arrangement is provided in two keys so you can experiment with your students and discuss ways that different keys impact the sound of the music.

Each arrangement includes teaching ideas for each piece — ways to give students input and choices, discussion topics, tips for experimenting with each piece, and more.

The arrangements are simple to put together, but musically rich and accessible to a wide range of levels (grade 3/4). These arrangements will work for band and orchestra instrumentations, and a mixture of both.

Third Mode Melody contains optional percussion parts for timpani, chimes, and bass drum. Variations on the Tallis Canon contains optional percussion parts for timpani, chimes, suspended cymbal, and bass drum. If Ye Love me does not contain optional percussion parts, although mallet instruments can be used on the SATB parts.


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Calvin University (Grand Rapids, Mich.) Symphonic Band (Tiffany Engle, conductor) - 20 November 2022
  • Florida International University (Miami) Wind Ensemble (Brenton F. Alston, conductor) - 13 April 2022
  • Randolph-Macon College (Ashland, Va.) Ensemble (Brian Coffill, conductor) – 25 February 2022 (CBDNA 2022 Southern Conference, Columbia, S.C.)
  • University of South Alabama (Mobile) Symphony Band (Jessica Mandel, conductor) - 4 March 2021
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Symphonic Winds (F. Mack Wood, conductor) - 26 February 2021
  • Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, Minn.) Wind Orchestra (Heidi Johanna Miller, conductor) - 6 December 2020

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works