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Variations on a Korean Folk Song

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John Barnes Chance

John Barnes Chance

General Info

Year: 1967
Duration: c. 7:10
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Cost: Score and Parts - $80.00   |   Score Only - $10.50


1. Con moto
2. Vivace
3. Larghetto
4. Allegro con brio
5. Sostenuto
6. Con Islancio


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III (I and III div.)
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium (div.)
Percussion (5-6 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong (Tam-Tam)
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Temple Blocks (5)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


  • Oboes. meas. 26: A natural should read A-flat.
  • 1st Horn in F. meas. 135: delete the last measure on the second system [Note: listed incorrectly as 4th Horn in the Fennell article]
  • 2nd Horn in F. meas. 139, beat 3: E natural should read E-flat.
  • 4th Horn in F. meas. 103: delete reh. no. "104" ; move it to the next measure.
  • String Bass. meas. 53: change reh. no. "52" to "53."
  • Horn II and IV, trombones, euphonium, and tuba, meas. 234: Flats missing in the score. Parts are correct.
  • Trumpet III, meas. 248: E natural should be E-flat.The score is correct.
  • In the score, it appears that the mallet player switches from vibraphone to xylophone from p. 32 to 33. This is in error. The player remains on vibraphone.

Program Notes

Variations on a Korean Folk Song is based upon a folk tune that the composer learned while serving the U.S. Army in Seoul, Korea. The tune is known as Arrirang, a song of love and heartbreak that can be found in many variations, with an origin that may date back 1000 years. In autumn 1966, for the Journal of Band Research, Chance said: “I became acquainted with the folk song while serving in Seoul, Korea, as a member of the Eighth U.S. Army Band in 1958-59. The tune is not as simple as it sounds, and my fascination with it during the intervening years led to its eventual use as the theme for this set of variations.”

- Program Note adapted from University of Texas Wind Symphony concert program, 30 November 2016


Commercial Discography


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class A
  • Arkansas: IV
  • Florida: V --- (The Florida Bandmasters Association denotes this as "significant literature.")
  • North Carolina: V
  • South Carolina: V
  • Virginia: V
  • Texas: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Western Illinois University (Macomb) Concert Band (Matt Thomas, conductor) - 9 April 2021
  • University of Texas at Arlington Symphonic Winds (Christopher Evans, conductor) - 14 March 2021
  • University of Central Missouri (Warrensburg) Symphonic Band (Julia Balmanis, conductor) - 27 February 2021
  • University of North Dakota (Grand Forks) Wind Ensemble (James Popejoy, conductor) - 13 October 2020
  • McClellan College (Waco, Tx.) Symphonic Band (Jon Conrad, conductor) - 13 October 2020
  • Sacramento (Calif.) State University Concert Band (Clay Redfield, conductor) – 11 March 2020
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Tuesday/Thursday Concert Band (Archie G. Birkner, IV, conductor) – 25 February 2020
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) University Band (Lance Sample, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • Kent Roosevelt High School Wind Ensemble (John Roebke, conductor) – 23 February 2020
  • Keene (N.H.) State College Concert Band (John T. Hart Jr., conductor) - 20 February 2020
  • Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, O.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Andy Doherty, conductor) – 13 February 2020
  • Middle Tennessee State University (Murfreesboro) Symphonic Band (Craig Cornish, conductor) – 21 November 2019
  • Ohio University (Athens) Symphonic Band (Richard Suk, conductor) – 3 November 2019
  • Philadelphia (Penn.) Wind Symphony (Paul Bryan, conductor) – 26 October 2019
  • Youngstown (Ohio) State University Wind Ensemble (Stephen L. Gage, conductor) – 21 October 2019
  • Texas A&M University (Lubbock) Symphonic Band (Russell Tipton, conductor) – 13 October 2019
  • Collinsville High School (Il.) Wind Ensemble (Robert Wright, conductor) - 10 October 2019
  • Delaware Winds (Dover) (Jordan E. Kinsey, conductor) - 29 October 2019
  • High School Concert Band [Interlochen, Mich.] (Frederick Fennell, conductor) - 20 August 1982

Works for Winds by This Composer