Wrong Note Rag

From Wind Repertory Project
Composer Name

Leonard Bernstein (arr. Ted Ricketts)

Subtitle: From Wonderful Town

General Info

Year: 1953 / 2005
Duration: c. 2:50
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $70.00   |   Score Only (print) - $15.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass 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
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Crash Cymbals
  • Drum Set
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This entertaining and witty production number is from the Broadway show Wonderful Town. As the title implies, this "rag" encounters some curious melodic entanglements as well as unexpected rhythmic entanglements.

- Program Note from publisher

Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town opened at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City on February 23, 1953, swiftly winning a Tony award for Best Musical. The whimsical and quirky The Wrong Note Rag superbly captures the lighter side of this award-winning musical gem.

- Program Note from Concord Band concert program, 23 October 2010

This instrumental version of Wrong Note Rag, arranged for wind band by Ted Ricketts, is from the 1953 Broadway musical Wonderful Town with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Leonard Bernstein. The musical, set in 1935, tells the story of two sisters from Ohio, Ruth and Eileen Sherwood, who come to New York City aspiring to become a writer and an actress, respectively. Wrong Note Rag is a production number sung by Ruth and Eileen and is the climax of the musical.

To achieve the whimsical and quirky mood that is Wrong Note Rag, Bernstein uses the syncopated or “ragged” rhythms of ragtime music, a genre of American music popular in the early 1900s. Bernstein not only captures the essence of that style but embellishes it with even more complex rhythmic entanglements. To further create the desired mood, Bernstein incorporates dissonance in the form of a “wrong” note which creates great comic effect when Eileen and Ruth sing the song at a jazz nightclub in the musical’s rollicking finale.

- Program Note from Perinton Concert Band concert program, 31 January 2024


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • San Luis Obispo (Calif.) Wind Orchestra (David Rackley, conductor) – 25 September 2022
  • Santa Ynez Valley (Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Sharon Jeskey, conductor) - 27 March 2022
  • Sacramento (Calif.) State University Concert Band (Matthew Morse, conductor) – 17 October 2018
  • Little Rock (Ark.) Wind Symphony (Israel Getzov, conductor) – 11 October 2018
  • Marion (Mass.) Concert Band (Tobias Monte, conductor) - 24 August 2018
  • Piedmont Wind Symphony (Winston-Salem, N.C.) (Matthew Troy, conductor) - 1 June 2018
  • Quad City Wind Ensemble (Davenport, Iowa) (Brian Hughes, conductor) - 12 May 2018
  • Northwest Missouri State University Wind Symphony (John Bell, conductor) – 12 April 2018
  • Baldwin Pops Band (Fairhope, Ala.) (Jason Rinehart, conductor) – 1 October 2017
  • Concord (Mass.) Band (James O'Dell, conductor) – 23 October 2010
  • The Oregon Symphonic Band (Hillsboro) (Michael Burch-Pesses, conductor) – 22 December 2006 (2006 Midwest Clinic)

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

  • Cool (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Murtha) (1957/2018)
  • West Side Story (Flex instrumentation) (arr. Sweeney) (1957/2015)

All Wind Works


  • Bernstein, L.; Comden, B.; Green, A.; Ricketts, T. (2005). The Wrong Note Rag: From Wonderful Town [score]. Hal Leonard: Milwaukee, Wisc.