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Morton Gould

Ballad for Band


Publisher/Availability:
Original: G & C Music Corporation
J.W. Pepper (current)
Date of Composition:
1946-47
Duration:
~8:30
Commission:
Commissioned/premiered by the Goldman
Band
Difficulty/Grade:
Grade 4
Composers Dates: (1913-1996)
Composers Nationality: American
Father from Bulgaria changed last name from Goldfeld to Gould upon
immigrating to America. Mother was a Polish immigrant; lived in
America since age 2.

Instrumentation:
Piccolo (Db part*)
8 Bb Cornets (4 1st, 2 2nd, 2 3rd)
st
nd
2 Flutes (1 1 , 1 2 )
2 Bb Trumpets (1 1st, 1 2nd)
2 Oboes (1 1st, 1 2nd)
2 Bb Flugelhorns (1 1st, 1 2nd)
English Horn
4 F Horns (Eb*)
st
nd
2 Bassoons (1 1 , 1 2 )
3 Trombones
Contrabassoon
2 Baritones (Treble*)
Eb clarinet
5 Tuba (Basses)
12 Bb clarinets (4 1st, 4 2nd, 4 3rd) String Bass*
Eb Alto clarinet
Bells/chimes
Bb Bass Clarinet
Timpani
st
2 Eb alto saxophones (1 1 , 1 2nd) Snare Drum
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Cymbals
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Bass Drum
Bb Bass Saxophone*
Woodblock
Tambourine

*Added by the editor


**Solo and in clarinet/cornet appendages is editor terminology,
not composer.
Composers Information:
Morton Gould composed and published his first work, Just Six, at
the age of six. While Gould was growing up during the worst years of
the Great Depression, he helped his family by taking jobs as a

vaudeville pianist, backing the famous ballroom dance team of Renee


and Tony DeMarco, and was part of a piano duo with Bert Shefter. He
attended the Institute of Musical Art in New York, where his primary
teachers were Abby Whiteside and Vincent Jones. This experience was
largely frustrating due to the fact that he couldnt read music and his
improvisational and compositional tendencies were curtailed by his
professors.
In 1931, Fritz Reiner observed his work, and proceeded to invite
Gould to continue studying at the Curtis Institute of Music. As a teen,
Gould was the in-house pianist for the 1932 opening of Radio City
Music Hall. Gould joined ASCAP in 1935 and became very active as a
member and as part of Foundation programs. Soon after, Gould
became President for ASCAP. He received the Kennedy Center Honor in
1994, a Gold Baton Award in 1983, and Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1995.
Some of his other works for band include West Point Symphony,
Derivations for Clarinet and Band, Saint Lawrence Suite, Prisms,
American Salute, Holiday Music, Mini-Suite for Band, Santa Fe Saga and
Jericho Rhapsody. He was an award winning recording artist with
twelve Grammy nominations and one Grammy award in 1966.

Background of piece:
As an active composer in the 1930s, Gould had not written any
works for band. In fact, few American composers had taken the
medium seriously enough to devote any attention to producing original
works for band; however, after having heard the University of Michigan
Band under William Revelli premiere his Cowboy Rhapsody, Gould
"realized what a great music-making machine we had."
Ballad for Band, composed in 1946, was commissioned by the
Goldman Band and was premiered by the ensemble on June 21 of the
same year. Based on the style and elements of the spiritual, Ballad
does not contain any direct quotes from existing melodies. It is,
instead, an original expression of the effect spirituals had upon him as
a composer:
As Gould comments further on this wind band work:
I have always been sensitive to and stimulated by the
sounds that I would call our American vernacularjazz,
ragtime, gospel, spirituals, hillbilly. The spirituals have always
been the essence, in many ways, of our musical art, our musical
spirit. The spiritual is an emotional, rhythmic expression. The
spiritual has a universal feeling; it comes from the soul, from the
gut. People all over the world react to them I am not aware of
the first time I heard them. It was undoubtedly a sound I heard
as a child; maybe at a revival.
Ballad is cast in a broad ABA form, with each slow A section
unfolding at a leisurely, unhurried pace. The central B section is

lively and rhythmic, but seems only like a brief episode


interrupting the reverie of the outer sections.
Ballad for Band is basically an introverted piece that starts
slowly, is linear, and has a quiet lyricism; it is not big band in the
sense that there is little razzle-dazzle. A discerning listener who
is programmed to appreciate the nuances and subtlety of a
contemporary piece would respond favorably to this, but others
merely find it from relatively pleasant to slightly boring. Only
certain listeners respond to what this piece represents musically.

Formal Content:
Broad ABA form, with each slow section unfolding at a leisurely,
unhurried pace. The central B section is lively and rhythmic, but
seems only like a brief episode interrupting the reverie of the outer
sections.

Intro:

m.1-9

Introduces some of the thematic material of A sections


phrases are overlapped with resonance

||--2--|--2--|--5--|
m.1

m.3

m.5

A section:

m.10

m.10-40

Placid, calm, pastoral, spacious

|--2--|--2 --|--1 --|--2--|--3--|--3--|--4--|--5--|--3--|-3--|--2--|


m.10
m.33

m.12
m.36

m.14
m.39 m.41

w/pickup

Euph. Solo

Transition:

m.16

m.18
elided
|

Fl/ob. solo

Introduces rhythmic kernel of B section

m.41 m.42
m.45
Frame
B section
theme introd,
fermata x2

m.48

m.24

m.28

w/pickup

m.41-47

|--1--|--3--|--3--|

m.21

m.29: PEAK

B section:

m.48-149

Lively; bubbling; viril


Opens with very clear sentence

B1
(intro)
|

B2, jazzy

B3

w/ square
interjections

C&R

Clap
Section

|--8--|--4--|--7--|--5--|--3--|--5--|--6--|--6--|--4--|--4--|--5--|
m.48
m.56 m.60
m.100 m.105
B.I. x2,
2 meas. frag.
2 meas. C.I.

m.67

m.72

m.75

elided

m.80
phrases
stacked

m.86

m.92

m.96

accelerating
call & resp.

Aggressive
Style Takes
Over (110)

|--5--|--2--|--2--|--2--|--1 --|--5 --|--8--|--5--|--5--|-9--|


105 m.110 m.112 m.114 m.116
m.117
m.141 m.150
instr.
w/pickup

expansion
elided,
beat
displacement

Extension:

m.150-163

|--6--|--3--|--5--|
150

m.156 m.159 m.164


fl.
fl.
overlap
overlap

A section:

m.164-182

abbreviated recap of initial A section

|--5--|--6--|--2--|--2--|--4--||
164 m.169 m.175
w/
caesura
overlap

m.177

m.179

Euph. solo |

Harmonic Content:

END

m.123 m.131 m.136


PEAK
beginning of
of piece
outro

Deliberate avoidance of standard tonality in A sections


o Quartal harmony (sometimes respelled for voice-leading)
o many with added 2nds, 7ths.
B section more classically clear in tonality, though not
necessarily centered on one key area.

Mood:
Impressionistic feel to outer A sections, furthering Goulds assertion
that there are no direct musical quotes from spirituals, but rather a
feeling to be conveyed. Colorful!
In an interview with Dr. Thomas Stone, Gould offered insight on
how the spiritual influenced this music:
I have always been sensitive to and stimulated by the sounds
that I would call our American vernacularjazz, ragtime,
gospel, spirituals, hillbilly. The spirituals have always been the
essence, in many ways, of our musical art, our musical spirit. The
spiritual is an emotional, rhythmic expression. The spiritual has a
universal feeling; it comes from the soul, from the gut. People all
over the world react to them I am not aware of the first time I
heard them. It was undoubtedly a sound I heard as a child;
maybe at a revival.
Very interesting blend of American sounds: Copland, Persichetti,
Gershwin.

Dynamics:

Frequent swells used to further emphasize interesting chordal


movement.
Range of flute part provides challenge in terms of dynamic
control and transparency.

Unique Performance Considerations/Special Instructions


(Performers):
3 Point Checklist for Blending:
1. Tone
2. Pitch
3. Volume

Ensemble balance is critical to accurate chordal sounds

Slow sections most effective with slight rubato; open lines of


communication as early in the process as possible.
Intricacy not typical of band compositions; more reminiscent of
wind ensemble of chamber compositions.
Similar to Grainger, the expressive terms by Gould are in English.
Some phrases begin/end on the half measure.
Overlapping voicings amalgamate the sound in the same way
the overlapping melodies amalgamate the phrases.
Only says muted: possible to explore cup mutes
Immediately changing moods, i.e. m. 10, difficult for group to
trust.
o Contrast is a big theme of the piece.

Meters/Tempi/Rhythm:

A sections attempts to achieve an a-rhythmic feeling though


using a meter; rubato can be very effective in these sections to
highlight Goulds gestures of both melody and dynamic.
B sections are the complete opposite; brims with rhythmic
intensity, particularly with the double sixteenth/eighth-note
figures.

Meters used are 4/4 and 3/4. A sections predominantly 4/4 with 3/4
measures used for phrasing. B section in both 3/4 and 4/4.

Melodic Content:

Frequent fragmentation of melody, even if played in its entirety,


among different instruments.
Minimal thematic material with extensive development.

Articulation:

Accents, especially in B section, must be brought to make the


piece dance; might require less articulation on the non-accented
notes, closer to a staccato/light attack.
Tenutos are used liberally in accompanying chordal parts for
clarity of sound in order to using a louder dynamic.

Texture/Orchestration:
Impressionistic use of instrument colors: muted trumpets,
horns and baritones in their most beautiful singing register.

Spacious scoring of A sections contrasted in B sections with


tight voicings and brighter instrument sounds.
Notes/Questions: (Conductor)

Gentler releases at the beginning, less intrusive way than full


cutoff.
o Breathe the prep after the released note, but dont stop the
motion this will keep the melodic releases feeling linear.
Idea of the outer sections being the song of sorrow and awe that
spiritual music represented while they being oppressed (still
infused with bits of optimism); inner sections being the unbridled
exuberance of a celebration of life, complete with different
conversations, dances, even some people telling the others to
keep it down!
So many different ways to show dynamic change

Program Note: use Background of Piece information as


Program Note.
Bibliography:
http://www.marineband.marines.mil/Portals/175/Docs/Audio/Educ
ational_Series/morton_gould/morton_gould_booklet_lowres.pdf
A Study of Ten Original Band Compositions in America since 1946
An Index of Wind Band Literature Analyses from Periodicals and
University Research; (Dissertation)

Mood & Motion (To/From/At)


Feeling & Form
Rehearsal Notes:
9-14-16: First rehearsal after initial reading session
First A section only
My focus on communicating dynamics and tempo.
Ensemble focus on blend and balance.
o Unless your sustained note has a crescendo on it, it should
always resonate with less volume than it was arrived on
with.

o Isolate individual groups at beginning


To improve:
even better watching, and more security/confidence in
expanding the dynamic/temporal textures before returning to
them
Reverse-stacked the pyramids: very effective they could hear
where they were heading
I need to find a way to better indicate releases, primarily the one
on beat 3 in measure ~36(ish).
Pyramid approach to balance: intra- and inter-sectional.
Flute range is causing balance issues
EDITORIAL: m.37 de crescendo to niente for instruments with an eighth
note release
________________________________________________________________________
_________________________
9-21-16: Second Rehearsal
Before starting:
Oboe 1 & 2: flutes, Alto Clarinet: Bass Clarinet m.60
Section seating? Flutes, Clarinets, Horns, Trumpets especially.
Trombone, m. 41 optional mute: try.
Clarinet m.42: 1 desk clarification.
Review First A section:
Open lines of communication, blend with each other (less on
sustains)
Peak m. 29
Quick/clear movement between notes to avoid problems of
balance and time.
Begin B section: m. 41-110 is the goal

Subitos/quick dynamic changes. Some marked, some not.


Must have chords instead of just sounds, some chords only
sound for 8th note.
o m.55, 57, 59

Play the whole section (under tempo); then work in two chunks:
1) m.41-66
Timbral shifts: BALANCE & BLEND

o Tenutos mean clear attack, not more weight. Lightness


keeps tempo moving.
Main melody style: applies to everyone
o The eighth note after the sixteenths must be light; almost
like a third 16th. This will help keep the style light and the
tempo moving.

2) m.67-85, 86-110
Mood loosens with introduction of jazz influence at m.67; lasts
until 86, where a contrasting, aggressive style of the brass
begins to fight with the lyrical, jazz-influenced section.
o At 86, aggressive style takes over.
m.92 slowed down so pitches can be heard for
flugels, horns, and trombones.
o Square, tight interjections are a recurring theme.
For next time: m.92-165

Style maintenance light on eighth after two sixteenths: aim for


beat 3.
Immediacy of sound no twahs allowed
Dont be afraid of leaving the texture when the music asks for it.

9/26/2016 Musical suggestions get musical results


m. 86-141

Add tuba to the pickup to measure 29 in place of bass sax part.


(One technical thing to keep in mind for today: No twahs allowed)
This section is the celebration of life that shines through a lot of
spiritual music.

m.86-110
Dancing begins!
o Sing figures to make dancing happen (through accents)
o Two different styles/different voices: exaggerate style of
your line!
o *Beats 3 & 4 of m.109.
m.110-131
Clarity/immediacy of articulation and sound is imperative!
o People starting to talk over each other, finishing each
others sentences.