Way Down Upon the Swanee Ribber

From Wind Repertory Project
Stephen Foster

Stephen Foster (arr. V.F. Safranek)

This article is a stub. If you can help add information to it,
please join the WRP and visit the FAQ (left sidebar) for information.

Subtitle: Old Folks at Home and in Foreign Lands : An International Transcription of the American Folk Song in the Musical Idiom of Eight Nations.

General Info

Year: 1851 / 1914
Duration: c. 13:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Cost: Score and Parts - Out of Print

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


Full Score
D-flat Piccolo
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet Solo-I-II
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet Solo-I-II
Horn or Alto in E-flat I-II-III
Tenor Horn
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone

(percussion detail desired)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Old Folks at Home (also known as Swanee River, Swanee Ribber, or Suwannee River) is a minstrel song written by Stephen Foster in 1851. Since 1935 it has been the official state song of Florida, although in 2008 the original lyrics were expurgated.

Written for performance by the New York blackface troupe Christy's Minstrels, the song was credited to the troupe's leader, E. P. Christy, on early sheet music printings. Christy had paid Foster to be credited, which Foster himself had suggested but later came to regret.

Foster had composed most of the lyrics but was struggling to name the river of the opening line, and asked his brother to suggest one. The first suggestion was Yazoo (in Mississippi), which despite fitting the melody perfectly, was rejected by Foster. The second suggestion was Pee Dee (in South Carolina), to which Foster said, Oh pshaw! I won't have that. His brother then consulted an atlas and called out Suwannee! Foster said, That's it, exactly! Adding it to the lyrics, he purposely misspelled it as Swanee to fit the melody. Foster himself never saw the Suwannee—or even visited Florida—but the popularity of the song stimulated tourism to Florida, to see the river.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


(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

  • Bellefonte (Penn.) Community Band (Joshua E. Long, conductor) – 13 March 2016

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Foster, S.; Safranek, V.; Roberts, C. (1914). Way Down upon the Swanee Ribber : Old Folks at Home and in Foreign Lands : An International Transcription of the American Folk Song in the Musical Idiom of Eight Nations [score]. Carl Fischer: New York.
  • Old Folks at Home, Wikipedia Accessed 28 March 2016