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Variation Overture

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This work has been identified for inclusion in the Small Band Repertoire Initiative. You may find discussion of the work's challenges and merits under the Discussion tab above. You may also contribute your own thoughts and recommendations by joining the WRP.

Clifton Williams

Clifton Williams

General Info

Year: 1962
Duration: c. 6:40
Difficulty: II (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig Masters
Cost: Score and Parts - $55.00   |   Score Only - $12.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra-alto Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

From its premiere years ago, Variation Overture has been a classic and hugely successful publication. Presented as a concert overture, the theme and variations are immensely enjoyable to perform and to hear, time and time again. The level of difficulty is deceiving as the work sounds more difficult than, technically, it is.

- Program Note from publisher

It is a relatively recent phenomenon for a composer of major stature to write music for instrumental ensembles utilizing mature techniques of composition within a simple framework and well within the performance capabilities of young student musicians. Williams has done an admirable job of achieving such a goal in this composition. The basic thematic material consists of the first three notes of the major scale. The three tones are skillfully woven into the composition so that one never forgets them but never tires of hearing them. It is a delightful piece for young players and for young-at-heart audiences.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class CC
  • Arkansas: II
  • Georgia: IV
  • Iowa: II
  • Louisiana: II
  • Maryland: III
  • Massachusetts: IV
  • Michigan: Senior High C
  • Minnesota: III
  • Mississippi: III-A
  • New York: Concert Band IV
  • North Carolina: IV
  • Oklahoma: II-A
  • South Carolina: IV
  • Tennessee: III
  • Texas: II. Complete
  • Virginia: III


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. 2002. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 4. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 243-252.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 648
  • Williams, C. (1962). Variation Overture [score]. Ludwig Music: Cleveland, Ohio.