Alt Title

Selections from McGuffey's Reader by Burrill Phillips, transcribed for symphonic band

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Buggert, Robert W. (Robert William), 1918-||Haugland, A. Oscar (Archie Oscar), 1922-2013||Weed, Maurice, 1912-2005

Degree Name

M. Mus. (Master of Music)

Legacy Department

Department of Music


Band music; Arranged--Scores


This is a Special Project in Music Education by Stanley J. Ciciora in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree Master of Music. In its beginning stages, the writer was primarily interested in contemporary orchestral or piano compositions written by American composers. A survey of the following works was undertaken to select one as a possible arrangement or transcription for symphonic band: Charles T. Griffes "The Pleasure Dane of Kubla Khan," "Roman Sketches"; George W. Chadwick "Rip Van Winkle," "Symphonic Sketches"; Douglas Moore "The Pageant of P. T. Barnum," "Farm Journal," "Overture On An American Tune," "Moby Dick," "Village Music"; Howard Hanson "Symphonic Poem," "Symphonic Rhapsody," "Before The Dawn," "Fantasia on a Theme of Youth"; Charles M. Loeffer "Memories Of My Childhood," "A Pagan Poem"; Virgil Thompson "Louisiana Story"; Roy Harris "Folksong Symphony," "Children At Play"; Burrill Phillips "Selections From McGuffey's Reader"; Morton Gould "Spirituals"; John Alden Carpenter "Sea Drift," "Skyscrapers." After careful study, consideration, and listening to recordings of the works listed above, the "Selections From McGuffey's Reader", by Burrill Phillips was chosen as the one most suitable. The composition offers a wide variety of tonal expression within the capacities of the symphonic band and will make a worthy contribution to the field of band literature. Originally it is scored as a suite for orchestra in three movements and bears a copyright dated 1937, by the Eastman School of Music with international copyright secured, Carl Fischer, Incorporated, New York, is the sole agent for the world. Permission for this transcription was granted by Mister Clifford Carter of Carl Fischer, Incorporated. The full orchestral score was used as the work copy for the transcription. Its original key of "C" Major is transposed to "Bb" Major in all of the three movements. This choice utilizes a more practical key for the symphonic band and also lowers the pitch by one whole step. Consequently, more ease of execution is realized in the higher treble range, and it presents no problems in the bass range. The key of "Bb" major also places the work within the capabilities of more bands and yet does not detract from the total musical intention of the composer. A helpful tool for this endeavor was the recording of the work (Mercury Record SR90136) by the Eastman-Rochester Orchestra, conducted by Doctor Howard Hanson, and made on October 28, 1956, at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. The same tonal qualities, as displayed in the recording, are kept in proper perspective as they relate to the wind band. In some instances the doublings in the transcription seem rather heavy, but control can be secured through careful attention to the dynamics and also by eliminating certain instruments as they appear in the score. The second suggestion is left to the discretion of the conductor. The thinking underlying this heavy scoring is that it would be more important to have the notation in the score and then dropped to suit the taste of the conductor's interpretation than to leave the score wanting. In most instances the clarinet choir takes the brunt of the material scored for the strings, but in a few instances the flutes, the saxophones, and even brass instruments present the passages originally scored for the strings when it can be kept in its proper intention. All tempi and dynamic indications remain as they appear in the original work. The opening of the third movement presented the only problem in scoring the transcription. Mister Phillips chooses muted first and second divisi violins on four different pitches, the lowest of which is three line "C". His dynamic level of piano (p) is suitable for the stringed instruments, but it is impossible for any wind instrument in that particular range. After experimenting with different instrumental choirs and combinations, the approach was disregarded as unsatisfactory. The next step involved different treatments of percussive sounds with the same unsatisfactory results. What was needed was an instrument with the ability to sustain these higher pitches at the soft dynamic level. The instrument which meets these qualifications is the electric organ, and it is suggested that in performance the player use the softest eight foot string stop possible. The preferable stops would be Dulciana, Gamba, or even Gedeckt with its soft flute quality, and in any case the expression pedal should be closed. In situations where an electric organ is not available, muted second and third cornets are cued to cover the passage, but as played by the cornets, the notes are two octaves below the intended pitch. The following instruments for Symphonic Band is used in the transcription: C Piccolo, 1st Flute, 2nd Flute, 1st Oboe, 2nd Oboe, Eb Clarinet, 1st Bb Clarinet, 2nd Bb Clarinet, 3rd Bb Clarinet, Eb Alto Clarinet, Bb Bass Clarinet, BBb Contra-Bass Clarinet, 1st Bassoon, 2nd Bassoon, 1st Eb Alto Saxophone, 2nd Eb Alto Saxophone, Bb Tenor Saxophone, Eb Baritone Saxophone, 1st Bb Cornet, 2nd Bb Cornet, 3rd Bb Cornet, 1st F Horn, 2nd F Horn, 3rd F Horn, 4th F Horn, Baritone Horn, 1st Trombone, 2nd Trombone, 3rd Trombone, Tuba, String Bass, Percussion: Timpani, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Chimes, Suspended Cymbal, Orchestra Bells, Hand Cymbals, Triangle, Temple Blocks, Wood Block, Tambourine, Xylophone, Celesta, Electric Organ.


1 score (84 pages)




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