Wayfaring Stranger, The

From Wind Repertory Project
Robert W. Smith

Arranged by Robert W. Smith

Subtitle: From The American Folk Odyssey

General Info

Year: 2021
Duration: c. 4:30
Difficulty: V (solo); IV (ensemble) (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Folk song
Publisher: RWS Music, through C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $120.00   |   Score Only (print) - $15.00


Full Score
Solo Euphonium
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contralto Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbal
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Wind Chime


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Based on a folk song from the early 1800s, The Wayfaring Stranger is an original setting of the classic and iconic melody for euphonium and band. Inspired by the American folk tradition yet scored for the modern ensemble, The Wayfaring Stranger is the first movement in The American Folk Odyssey by Robert W. Smith, a multi-movement work featuring various solo instruments with concert band accompaniment.

Written for euphonium artist Phil Franke and the Fairfax Wind Symphony, the piece received its premiere performance at the 2021 Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Ill.

- Program Note from publisher

The Wayfaring Stranger (also known as Poor Wayfaring Stranger or I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger), Roud 3339, is a well-known American folk song likely originating in the early 19th century about a plaintive soul on the journey through life. As with most folk songs, many variations of the lyrics exist and many versions of this song have been published over time by popular singers, often being linked to times of hardship and notable experiences in the singers' lives.

According to the book The Makers of the Sacred Harp, by David Warren Steel and Richard H. Hulan, the lyrics were published in 1858 in Joseph Bever's Christian Songster, which was a collection of popular hymns and spiritual songs of the time. Steel and Hulan suggest the song was derived from an 1816 German-language hymn, Ich bin ein Gast auf Erden by Isaac Niswander.

During and for several years after the American Civil War, the lyrics were known as the Libby Prison Hymn. This was because the words had been inscribed by a dying Union soldier incarcerated in Libby Prison, a warehouse converted to a notorious Confederate prison in Richmond, Virginia, known for its adverse conditions and high death rate.

Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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