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Here's a little technical article about trombone slide positions. (pdf)



(Music playing is SLIDE SUITE NO. III - SPIRITUAL - TROMBONE SEXTET)


The Road to Heaven (trombone quartet)
A trombone quartet arrangement of David Hepburn's classic gospel song.
Vocal solo version with piano or guitar and optional SATB/band.

David Hepburn is a retired minister-of-music, choir director, band director, missionary, teacher, and school president, and a fine tenor and trumpeter. His many compositions are a testament to the works of Jesus he has seen in the lives of others and in his own life.

David Hepburn wrote this song in 1975 during his tenure as leader of the New Song Singers, based in Minneapolis. He personally performed it as a solo with piano, bass, guitar, drums, and four-part choral harmony on hundreds of occasions. Later, a different arrangement of this same song was performed for many years by the Covenant Four Quartet (of which David was a member), based in San Francisco.

This arrangement for trombone quartet remains true to the feel of the original "New Song Singers" version. While each of the four trombones have the melody at one point or another and it modulates through three keys, the feel of the song and the way David sang it is there.

We include here the entire lyric, as it is quite compelling and beautiful:

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There's a city, I've been told,
Where the streets are paved with gold,
Where sorrow and strife
Have no part in that new life,
And the gates were opened wide on the day that Jesus died,
And He paved the road to heaven with His love.

Oh, He paved the road to heaven with His love,
Condescending to come down from heaven above.
When He died on Calvary's tree
Redeeming men and setting free,
He paved the road to heaven with His love.

If to that city you would go
Then my Jesus you must know.
He alone is the way,
He alone the price did pay.
"Follow Me," He says in love, "I've a mansion up above,"
"And I paved the road to heaven with My love."

Oh, He paved the road to heaven with His love,
Condescending to come down from heaven above.
When He died on Calvary's tree
Redeeming men and setting free,
He paved the road to heaven with His love.

+++

MP3 Sound sample: Midi/synth.



THE ROAD TO HEAVEN by David Hepburn comes in a PDF file of 247K, Five page score with four one-page parts (concert key bass clef) plus license page, ten pages in all. Performance time, about about 3:00.
US$3.95
The Star Spangled Banner (trombone sextet)
The national anthem of the USA for six trombones, one alto three tenors two basses, or four tenors two basses. The first bass part can be played on a tenor with F attachment.
This piece was arranged specifically for use at a professional sporting event. It was therefore intended to be artistic yet respectful and singable for those in the crowd who like to do that. To suit the range of the trombone, however, we ended up in concert F, which many will find to not be a very singable key.

Written for four tenor and two bass trombones, the first tenor part is quite high (writing in concert F means the high note in the first part is a D, and the high note in the second part is an A). For this reason, we have included three first parts, alto in Eb, tenor in tenor clef, and tenor in bass clef with lots and lots of ledger lines.

The two bass parts are easily managed by a tenor with F attachment and a true bass trombone.

This arrangement could also be played by five euphoniums and a tuba.

The opening phrases are quiet and legato, and the piece finishes with a grand maestoso, a waterfall on the word "free," and a dramatic ending. Enjoy!

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER arranged by Tom Kirkland for six trombones, four tenors and two basses, plus alternate parts, comes in a pdf file of 207K, with a three-page score, eight one-page parts and a license page, twelve pages in all. Performance time should be about 1:20.
US$3.95
John Henry (trombone quartet)
A humoresque for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass trombone, or other combinations of four brass instruments with these voices.
This piece is based on an American folk song depicting a legend that is likely based on an actual event which occurred in the 19th century in the southern Appalachians. A railroad worker, born a slave but freed at the end of the American Civil War, and armed only with a steel face-drilling bit and a hammer (or two hammers), entered into a speed drilling contest with a steam-powered face drilling machine.

Legend has it that John Henry beat the steam drill but then died from the effort.

This piece depicts the following words from the song:

+ + +

When John Henry was a little baby
Sittin' on his daddy's knee,
He picked up a hammer and a little piece of steel and said,
"This hammer's gonna be the death of me, Lawd, Lawd."
"This hammer's gonna be the death of me."

Big John Henry went down to the tunnel,
Steam hammer by his side.
He said, "Before I would let this ol' steam hammer get me down"
"You know Id lay down this hammer and Id die, Lawd, Lawd."
"Id lay down this hammer and Id die."

Then follows several stanzas depicting the drilling contest, and finally,

John Henry turned to the straw boss.
He said, "Lawd knows how very hard I tried."
"I done my best but that hammer is fast."
"Please gimme a cool glass of water 'fore I die, Lawd, Lawd."
"A tall cool glass of water 'fore I die."

+ + +

This piece is intended to be performed as a musical drama, with the part of John Henry played by the bass trombonist. The parts are intended to be easily memorized.

The first two stanzas are played in a slow swing style. Then commences the contest. The steam drill, played by the upper three voices, begins slowly. John Henry laughs derisively and begins to drill (playing the melody).

As the tempo increases stanza by stanza, John Henry works increasingly hard to stay with the steam drill, finally collapsing to his knees from exhaustion.

Panting, he watches the steam drill accelerate out of control and finally break down. At this, he pumps his tired fist in the air, slowly plays the final line, and then dies.

The other three players then play the opening and closing lines of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."

This piece was written for a high school trombone quartet that happens to have all four instruments available. If this is not the case, it is easy enough to substitute a trumpet, cornet, or flugel horn for the Bb soprano, a tuba for the bass, or a euphonium for either tenor or bass. Substitute parts are provided to allow the Eb alto part to be played not only on alto trombone or alto horn, but on trumpet, cornet, flugel horn, or F horn as well.

The midi rendering from the composer program has three inexplicable slowdowns that no amount of effort has yet successfully corrected. We hope to have a recording and/or video of an actual performance available soon.

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



JOHN HENRY an American folk song arranged by Tom Kirkland for trombone quartet consisting of one Bb soprano, one Eb alto, one tenor and one bass, plus alternate parts, comes in a pdf file of 265K, with a five-page score, five two-page parts, one three-page part and a license page, nineteen pages in all. Performance time should be about 3:20.
US$3.95
Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us (trombone quartet)
One of William Bradbury's most beloved hymn tunes set for three tenor trombones and one bass trombone.
William Bradbury (1816-1868) was the composer of many well-known hymn tunes, including He Leadeth Me, Sweet Hour of Prayer, The Solid Rock, Just As I Am Without One Plea, and Jesus Loves Me.

His namesake tune, BRADBURY, is treated introspectively in this uncomplicated arrangement, seeking to underscore the meaning of having Jesus as a personal shepherd, and to have been, as the first stanza states, bought and owned by Him.

All three of the tenor trombones take a turn at playing the melody line, while the bass trombone provides support.

+ + +

Savior, like a shepherd lead us,
Much we need Thy tender care;
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us,
For our use Thy folds prepare:
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou has bought us, Thine we are,
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou has bought us, Thine we are.

Thou hast promised to receive us,
Poor and sinful though we be;
Thou hast mercy to relieve us,
Grace to cleanse and power to free.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, hear, O hear us when we pray,
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, hear, O hear us when we pray.

Early let us seek Thy favor,
Early let us do Thy will;
Blessed Lord and only Savior,
With Thy love our bosoms fill.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast loved us, love us still,
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast loved us, love us still.

Dorothy A. Thrupp

+ + +

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



SAVIOR, LIKE A SHEPHERD LEAD US from the hymn tune by William Bradbury arranged by Tom Kirkland for trombone quartet consisting of three tenors and one bass, comes in a pdf file of 195K, with a three-page score, four two-page parts and a license page, twelve pages in all. Performance time should be just over three minutes.
US$3.95
Beautiful Savior (trombone duet)
A unique setting of a favorite hymn for two trombones. Works equally well with two cellos, two bassoons, or two euphoniums.
This hymn, also known as Fairest Lord Jesus or Crusader's Hymn, has been around for perhaps as long as 800 years, but the first written version was from the 1600s in Germany. The source is unknown, but regardless who wrote it or when, it continues to be a favorite to this day.

In modern hymnals, this tune appears in 4/4 time, but this duet is written mostly in 6/4 and has a strong feel slow 3 beat.

Written for young players, this piece is just challenging enough to be interesting for all. It should work equally well with two cellos, two bassoons, or two euphoniums.

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



BEAUTIFUL SAVIOR, arranged by Tom Kirkland for two trombones without accompaniment, comes in a pdf file of 155K, with two pages of music and a license page, three pages in all. Performance time should be about 1:50.
US$3.95
To God be the Glory (trombone quartet)
W. H. Doane's hymn tune set for one soprano trombone (slide trumpet), two tenor trombones, and a bass trombone.
Same piece for brass quintet.

William H. Doane wrote many hymn tunes, quite a few for Fanny Crosby lyrics, and became quite well known despite not being a vocational musician. This hymn with lyrics by Crosby is quite well known in evangelical churches in the U.S. and Canada.

This setting is for a trombone quartet consisting of a soprano trombone (slide trumpet - treble clef, Bb transposed), two tenor trombones, and a bass trombone (all three bass clef, concert key). A trumpet or cornet could be substituted for the soprano trombone, but there is no good workaround for the bass trombone.

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



TO GOD BE THE GLORY by W. H. Doane, arranged by Tom Kirkland for trombone quartet consisting of one soprano trombone, two tenor trombones, and one bass trombone, comes in a pdf file of 232K, with a five-page score, four two-page parts, and a license page, fourteen pages in all. Performance time should be about 3:40.
US$3.95
May Jesus Christ be Praised! (trombone quintet)
Solid hymn arrangement for five trombones: one soprano (slide trumpet), three tenors, and a bass.
Also known by its first line, "When morning guilds the skies," this wonderful hymn tune by Joseph Barnby is known throughout the English-speaking world paired with lyrics translated from the original German by Edward Caswall.

Here it is presented for trombone quintet consisting of one soprano trombone (slide trumpet), three tenor trombones, and one bass trombone. If a soprano slide trombone is not available, the part can be played on a standard soprano valve trombone (trumpet). The soprano part is written transposed for a Bb instrument, while the other parts are written in concert key.

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



MAY JESUS CHRIST BE PRAISED by Joseph Barnby, arranged by Tom Kirkland for trombone quintet consisting of one soprano, three tenors and one bass trombone, comes in a pdf file of 236K, with a five-page score, five two-page parts, and a license page, sixteen pages in all. Performance time should be about three minutes.
US$3.95
Flying Bach - BWV 1068 No. 2 (trombone quintet)
Bach's famous "Air on the G String" (BWV 1068 No. 2) for five trombones: one soprano, three tenors, one bass.
J. S. Bach wrote a great many pieces during his lifetime, most of them for use in the church. Later in life, he did have a patron, Prince Leopold of Anhalt, for whom he wrote his third orchestral suite. The second movement of this suite is a beautiful, soaring work which has come to be known popularly as "Air on the G String."

Here it is presented for trombone quintet consisting of one soprano trombone (slide trumpet), three tenor trombones, and one bass trombone. If a soprano slide trombone is not available, the part can be played on a standard soprano valve trombone (trumpet). The soprano part is written transposed for a Bb instrument, while the other parts are written in concert key.

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



FLYING BACH by J. S. Bach, arranged by Tom Kirkland for trombone quintet consisting of one soprano, three tenors and one bass trombone, comes in a pdf file of 221K, with a five-page score, five one-page parts, and a license page, eleven pages in all. Performance time should be about four minutes.
US$3.95
Alone with Bach (trombone solo, unaccompanied)
The bourree from Bach's third cello suite for trombone alone.
Nearly every college or conservatory cello recital contains at least an excerpt from one of Bach's unaccompanied suites for cello. What we have done here is present the two bourrees from the third cello suite reworked a bit for trombone.

It helps to have an F attachment, but it is not necessary for this piece.

Nearly all second or third year students will enjoy studying this piece, and third or fourth year students should be capable of performing it.

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



ALONE WITH BACH by J. S. Bach, arranged for solo trombone unaccompanied by Tom Kirkland, comes in a pdf file of 166K, two pages of music and a license page. Performance time should be approximately 3:30.
US$3.95
Arioso (trombone quintet)
Bach's beautiful piece presented for five trombones (four tenors and a bass). Also would work with five bassoons or five cellos, or even better, four euphoniums and a tuba.
It's hard to imagine what could be left to write about J. S. Bach's ARIOSO, one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.

We present it here for five trombones (four tenors and a bass). The first trombone plays the melody line, and the bass has a somewhat interesting line to play. The remaining three parts consist entirely of quarter notes, and are therefore not very interesting to play. The point, however, is to frame the melody line, and the quarter notes serve well to keep the rhythm going while remaining in the background.

This piece could work for bassoons, or cellos, or what might be the best alternative ensemble, four euphoniums and a tuba.

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



ARIOSO by J. S. Bach, arranged by Tom Kirkland for trombone quintet, comes in a pdf file of 216K, with a five-page score, one two-page part, four one-page parts, and a license page, twelve pages in all. Performance time should be about three minutes.
US$3.95
Arioso (trombone solo with piano)
The famous J. S. Bach Arioso set for solo trombone with relatively simple piano accompaniment. Could also work with euphonium, bassoon, or cello.
It's hard to imagine what could be left to write about J. S. Bach's ARIOSO, one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.

We present it here for solo trombone, pitched just a little bit high for mid-range players, but ideal for someone who loves to play those high notes. The piano accompaniment is quite simple and intended to frame the solo line, not overshadow it.

For Kevin Brown, a promising young trombonist for whom I have great respect.

This piece could work for euphonium, bassoon, or cello as well.

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



ARIOSO by J. S. Bach, arranged by Tom Kirkland for solo trombone and piano, comes in a pdf file of 250K, with a two-page solo part, three-page piano part with solo line, and a license page, six pages in all. Performance time should be about three minutes.
US$3.95
In the Cross of Christ I Glory (trombone trio)
A great hmyn of the faith set for two tenor trombones and one bass trombone. Could also be performed by three bassoons or three cellos.
This piece was written for a trombone trio playing during a communion service. While it may have many other uses, this hymn is such a great fit in that situation that it is hard to imagine a better one.

Each of the three players takes the melody for a stanza in turn, and then after a key change, the first trombone plays the fourth stanza.

+ + +

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o'er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers 'round its head sublime.

When the woes of life o'ertake me,
Hopes deceive and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me;
Lo, it glows with peace and joy.

When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to the day.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.

--John Bowring

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MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST I GLORY by Ithamar Conkey, arranged Tom Kirkland for two tenor trombones and one bass trombone, comes in a pdf file of 201K, with a three-page score, three two-page parts, and a license page, ten pages in all. Performance time should be about three minutes.
US$3.95
Cleanse Me (trombone quartet)
Beautiful hymn tune based on a Maori song, scored for one soprano trombone, two tenor trombones, and one bass trombone.
Dr. J. Edwin Orr wrote the text "Search me, O God..." about Easter of 1936 in a small village in New Zealand. He was inspired to set his lyrics to the traditional Maori farewell song "Po atu rau..." This tune also became popular around the time of World War II as "Now is the Hour."

Most people hearing it today associated it with Orr's lyrics, a poem he entitled "Cleanse Me."

This arrangement is scored for four trombones: one soprano, two tenors and a bass. The bass trombone part is too high in spots for a tuba, too low for any other brass instrument. The soprano trombone (Bb slide trumpet) may be played on the much more common soprano valve trombone (Bb trumpet) if desired, and is presented transposed.

The first tenor trombone gets the melody for the first stanza, with the bass trombone, second tenor trombone, and soprano trombone entering in turn. The first trombone also carries the melody in the second stanza, finally handing it off to the soprano trombone for the third stanza. The arrangement was kept simple, to better frame the beautiful melody.

+ + +

Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin and set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill Thy Word, and make me pure within.
Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.

Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord-- in me abide.

J. Edwin Orr

+ + +

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



CLEANSE ME (Maori Melody) arranged by Tom Kirkland for trombone quartet consisting of one soprano trombone (slide trumpet), two tenor trombones, and one bass trombone, comes in a pdf file of 209K, with a five-page score, four one-page parts, and a license page, ten pages in all. Performance time should be just over three minutes.
US$3.95
Saints, etc. (trombone duet w/piano accompaniment)
A fun little novelty duet that uses partner songs for "When the Saints Go Marching In" as its hook. For two trombones, or two other bass clef instruments, with piano.
This is a simple little novelty piece written for two trombones (or two euphoniums, two cellos, two bassoons, etc.) with piano accompaniment. The occasion for writing this piece was a fundraiser dinner, with a euphonium, a trombone, and a piano available.

Each trombone takes a turn playing "When the Saints Go Marching In." The piano then gives a little key change, and the second trombone plays "She'll be Coming 'Round the Mountain," with harmony by the first trombone.

This is followed by a duel of partner songs:

Saints with Coming 'Round the Mountain

Saints with Amazing Grace

Saints with The Star-Spangled Banner

The piano then plays "Merrily We Roll Along" in a high register, which is followed by "Good Night Ladies" partnered with Saints. This goes on for a couple of choruses, and everything wraps up with a big finish.

This would be a fun number to end a trombone recital where the student plays with the teacher, or anyplace a couple of trombone players are hanging around with a pianist. All three parts are relatively easy (and easy to memorize), which makes this even more fun to play.

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



SAINTS, ETC. by Tom Kirkland for two trombones and piano, comes in a pdf file of 232K, with a ten-page piano score, two two-page parts, and a license page, fifteen pages in all. Performance time should be about three minutes.
US$3.95
Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross (trombone trio w/piano)
A trombone trio with piano based on William H. Doane's setting of the Fanny Crosby hymn. Also would work well with three bassoons, three euphoniums, or three cellos.
William H. Doane's tune NEAR THE CROSS was written specifically for the Fanny Crosby hymn lyrics. Appearing in most English-language hymnals across denominational lines, it is a hymn of devotion that is very popular during communion and Good Friday services.

This arrangement begins with a very sparse piano accompaniment and the three trombones playing the first stanza in unison. The second stanza has the same simple accompaniment but the first trombone plays harmony over the top of the two other parts.

The chorus first appears in three-part harmony over a simple accompaniment, which is followed by a transition to a new key by the piano.

The third stanza is in three-part harmony over a more hymn-like accompaniment. And abrupt key change brings in the fourth stanza, also in three part harmony, but with an accompaniment that is quite simple in the right hand but has a rolling eighth-note bass line.

The chorus then appears again in three part harmony with a simple accompaniment for the opening phrases which is quickly followed by an accompaniment featuring a rolling eighth-note bass line.

The final phrases are repeated with great simplicity and largely in unison for a quiet and contemplative ending.

+ + +

Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvarys mountain.

Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day,
With its shadows oer me.

Near the cross Ill watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

--- Fanny Crosby

+ + +

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



JESUS, KEEP ME NEAR THE CROSS, by W H. Doane, arranged by Tom Kirkland for three trombones and piano, comes in a pdf file of 253K, with a five-page piano score, six-page conductor's score, three two-page parts, and a license page, eighteen pages in all. Performance time should be about 3:45.
US$3.95
If Now Christ Jesus Lives in You (trombone trio)
A short piece based on a trio from Bach's motet BWV 227. For two tenors and a bass trombone (or two euphoniums and a tuba, three bassoons, or three cellos).
Same piece for unaccompanied SAB choir or violin, viola, and cello.

This piece is based on material from Bach's motet Jesu Meine Freude, BWV 227 Number VIII, So aber Christus in euch ist.

The text of this movement is Romans 8:10-- "If now Christ Jesus lives in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness."

In the motet, this piece appears in C major, voiced for alto, tenor, and bass. It ends with an E major chord to set up the chorale fantasy that follows. This means that it would be almost useless to present this as a straight transcription as the ending would be quite unsettling to the listener. The "fix" was to remove the final phrase and splice a modification of the opening phrases in its place returning the piece to its starting key. This version is written in F major to stay within the working ranges of the three instruments.

There is no workaround for the bass trombone, though this piece could possibly be performed with two euphoiums and a tuba. Other possibilities would be three bassoons or three cellos, ("bass" cello will use the open C string).

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



IF NOW CHRIST JESUS LIVES IN YOU, by J. S. Bach, arranged by Tom Kirkland for trombone trio consisting of two tenors and a bass, comes in a pdf file of 524K, a four-page score, three two-page parts, and a license page, eleven pages in all. Performance time should be about 2:15.
US$3.95
He Leadeth Me (trombone quartet)
Hymn tune setting for four trombones.
This hymn tune feels like a comfortable old jacket. Even when hearing it for the first time, it seems familiar.

This arrangement is for three tenors and one bass trombone.

In the first stanza, the bass trombone plays the lead with a set of unusual moving harmonies above it, then the first takes the lead for the refrain.

The second trombone takes the lead for the second stanza, still with flowing harmonies but now more conventional.

An immediate segue brings the first trombone into the lead again in a closely related minor key. This stanza is low, and the harmonies are very close.

The refrain is then played up-tempo and very conventionally with the first in the lead. Finally, the refrain is repeated, more majestically, with the second in the lead.

The overall concept is very strongly related to Joseph Gilmore's lyrics:

+++

He leadeth me, O blessed thought,
O words with heavenly comfort wrought,
What e're I do, where e're I be,
Still, 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me.
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand he leadeth me.

Lord, I would clasp Thy hand in mine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine,
Content, whatever lot I see,
Still 'tis Thy hand that leadeth me.

And when my task on earth is done,
When, by Thy grace, the victory won,
E'en death's cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me.
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand he leadeth me.

+++

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



HE LEADETH ME, by William Bradbury, arranged by Tom Kirkland for trombone quartet (three tenors and a bass), comes in a pdf file of 1692, with a four-page score, four two-page parts, and a license page, thirteen pages in all. Performance time is approximately 3:10.
US$3.95
Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit (trombone sextet)
A sparkling setting of an old Spiritual song for six trombones.
This arrangement starts off moving very quickly with a strident bass line. One can almost see Cab Calloway striding across the stage in his zoot suit.

After one stanza and one chorus, there is a transition to a higher key and a slow blues feel. One stanza is followed by two choruses where the full sonority of six trombones is explored with some jazz-inspired harmonies, followed by a brief coda.

Same item for sax sextet.

+++

Upon the mountain my Lord spoke,
Out of His mouth came fire and smoke.
All around me looks so fine,
I ask my Lord if all was mine.

Ev'ry time I feel the Spirit
Moving in my heart I will pray.
Ev'ry time I feel the Spirit
Moving in my heart I will pray.

The Jordan river is chilly and cold,
It chills the body, but not the soul.
There ain't but one train upon this track,
It rolls to heaven and don't come back.

Ev'ry time I feel the Spirit
Moving in my heart I will pray.
Ev'ry time I feel the Spirit
Moving in my heart I will pray.

+++

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



EV'RY TIME I FEEL THE SPIRIT, arranged by Tom Kirkland for trombone sextet consisting of five tenor trombones and one bass trombone, comes in a pdf file of 882K, with a ten-page score, six two-page parts, and a license page, twenty-three pages in all. Performance time should be just over three minutes.
US$3.95
Slide Suite No. I: Rag (trombone sextet)
The first movement of the Slide Suite for six trombones: an authentically-styled American slow rag.
The Slide Suite was written to give the trombone sextet or trombone choir a true concert suite that could demonstrate the unique capabilities of the tenor and bass trombones.

It was also written to satisfy the itch to write something that expressed some of the depth and breadth of American music. Rather than writing a suite with movements titled with Italian words for tempos like Allegro and Lento, or names of antiquated dances like Minuet and Gigue, the movements are all examples of American musical forms.

The five movements are (in order) Rag, Barbershop, Spiritual, DooWop, and Fight Song, so the Suite is bookended by instrumental forms while the three middle movements are vocal forms.

MP3 sound sample: Entire Movement (synthesizer/midi).



SLIDE SUITE NO. I: RAG, by Tom Kirkland, for trombone sextet of five tenors and one bass trombone, comes in a pdf file of 589K, with a six-page score, six two-page parts, and a license page, nineteen pages in all. Performance time should be about two minutes.
US$3.95
Slide Suite No. II: Barbershop (trombone quartet)
The second movement of the Slide Suite is a departure from the sextet format: a Barbershop quartet.
The Slide Suite was written to give the trombone sextet or trombone choir a true concert suite that could demonstrate the unique capabilities of the tenor and bass trombones.

It was also written to satisfy the itch to write something that expressed some of the depth and breadth of American music. Rather than writing a suite with movements titled with Italian words for tempos like Allegro and Lento, or names of antiquated dances like Minuet and Gigue, the movements are all examples of American musical forms.

The five movements are (in order) Rag, Barbershop, Spiritual, DooWop, and Fight Song, so the Suite is bookended by instrumental forms while the three middle movements are vocal forms.

This is the only quartet in a suite otherwise populated by sextets. The parts are marked trombone 2, trombone 3, trombone 4, and bass trombone, meaning the intent is the first and fifth players are tacet. If the suite is being performed by a larger trombone choir, the best effect for this piece would still be to perform it with just four players.

MP3 sound sample: Entire Movement (synthesizer/midi).



SLIDE SUITE NO. II: BARBERSHOP, by Tom Kirkland, for trombone quartet of three tenors and one bass trombone, comes in a pdf file of 475K, with a three-page score, four one-page parts, and a license page, eight pages in all. Performance time should be about 2:20.
US$3.95
Slide Suite No. III: Spiritual (trombone sextet)
The third movement of the Slide Suite for six trombones: an arrangement of the American spiritual song Deep River.
Same selection for SSATBB choir or sax sextet.

The Slide Suite was written to give the trombone sextet or trombone choir a true concert suite that could demonstrate the unique capabilities of the tenor and bass trombones.

It was also written to satisfy the itch to write something that expressed some of the depth and breadth of American music. Rather than writing a suite with movements titled with Italian words for tempos like Allegro and Lento, or names of antiquated dances like Minuet and Gigue, the movements are all examples of American musical forms.

The five movements are (in order) Rag, Barbershop, Spiritual, DooWop, and Fight Song, so the Suite is bookended by instrumental forms while the three middle movements are vocal forms.

This is the only movement with a borrowed tune, a very old spiritual called Deep River.

+++

Deep river, my home is over Jordan,
Oh, deep river, Lord,
I want to cross over into campground.

Deep river, my home is over Jordan,
Oh, deep river, Lord,
I want to cross over into campground.

Oh, when I get to heaven, I will take my seat,
And cast my crown at Jesus' feet.

Deep river, Lord,
I want to cross over into campground.

+++

MP3 sound sample: Entire Movement (synthesizer/midi).



SLIDE SUITE NO.III: SPIRITUAL, by Tom Kirkland, for trombone sextet of five tenors and one bass trombone, comes in a pdf file of 511K, with a three-page score, six one-page parts, and a license page, ten pages in all. Performance time should be just about two minutes.
US$3.95
Slide Suite No. IV: Doo Wop (trombone sextet)
The fourth movement of the Slide Suite for six trombones. A fifties-style doo wop!
The Slide Suite was written to give the trombone sextet or trombone choir a true concert suite that could demonstrate the unique capabilities of the tenor and bass trombones.

It was also written to satisfy the itch to write something that expressed some of the depth and breadth of American music. Rather than writing a suite with movements titled with Italian words for tempos like Allegro and Lento, or names of antiquated dances like Minuet and Gigue, the movements are all examples of American musical forms.

The five movements are (in order) Rag, Barbershop, Spiritual, DooWop, and Fight Song, so the Suite is bookended by instrumental forms while the three middle movements are vocal forms.

MP3 sound sample: Entire Movement (synthesizer/midi).



SLIDE SUITE NO. IV: DOO WOP, by Tom Kirkland, for trombone sextet of five tenors and one bass trombone, comes in a pdf file of 717K, with an nine-page score, six two-page parts, and a license page, twenty-two pages in all. Performance time should be just under three minutes.
US$3.95
Slide Suite No. V: Fight Song (trombone sextet)
The final movement of the Slide Suite for six trombones. A rousing fight song!
The Slide Suite was written to give the trombone sextet or trombone choir a true concert suite that could demonstrate the unique capabilities of the tenor and bass trombones.

It was also written to satisfy the itch to write something that expressed some of the depth and breadth of American music. Rather than writing a suite with movements titled with Italian words for tempos like Allegro and Lento, or names of antiquated dances like Minuet and Gigue, the movements are all examples of American musical forms.

The five movements are (in order) Rag, Barbershop, Spiritual, DooWop, and Fight Song, so the Suite is bookended by instrumental forms while the three middle movements are vocal forms.

MP3 sound sample: Entire Movement (synthesizer/midi).



SLIDE SUITE NO.V: FIGHT SONG, by Tom Kirkland, for trombone sextet of five tenors and one bass trombone, comes in a pdf file of 604K, with an eight-page score, six two-page parts, and a license page, twenty-one pages in all. Performance time should be just under two minutes.
US$3.95
Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming (trombone solo with string quartet or synth)
Classic German hymn tune set as a trombone solo accompanied by string quartet.
This simple little arrangement for trombone and strings makes a very nice prelude or special for a Christmas eve, Christmas day, or advent service. The piece sounds much better than the midi rendering would indicate, since it is near impossible to work expression into midi.

Rather than creating separate parts sheets for each player, the score was kept to four pages so all players can play from the score. This seemed important since this piece meanders freely from 3/2 to 2/2 time and back again. I have always found it easier to play such pieces when one can see all of the parts at the same time. The string quartet parts are rendered visually on a grand staff so this piece can easily be performed with a trombone (or baritone horn, cello, bassoon) and a string synthesizer (or pipe organ) if desired.

MP3 sound sample: Entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



LO, HOW A ROSE E'ER BLOOMING arranged by Tom Kirkland for Solo Trombone with String Quartet, comes in a pdf file of 239K, with a four-page score and a license page, five pages in all. Performance time should be approximately 3:30.
US$3.95
Minuet and Serenade (trombone sextet)
A somewhat difficult arrangement of a couple of short Mozart woodwind pieces that shows off the capability of the trombone sextet. Arranged by Tom Kirkland.
Same piece for saxophone sextet.

Why should the woodwind players have all the fun? Mozart wrote some fun chamber music for woodwind ensembles that is interesting and lively to listen to and fun to perform. It was high time something like this was arranged for trombone sextet.

Not that trombone sextets are that easy to come by, but most college bands will have at least six players good enough to handle this piece.

It is written to be used as a single piece with a segue directly from one section to the other. Of course, you can cut it up or perform it with a pause between as suits your ensemble.

Faint hearts beware, as all six parts are pretty even in difficulty, requiring extended eigth-note runs of all players and sixteenth-note patterns of all but the bass trombone player. The bass trombone will need to have a solid low C for the solo "clean-up" cadences in the minuet, so nobody gets off easy.

This could be a fun intermission piece for a band concert, or an encore piece for a multi-trombone recital.

One thing that bears asking is please, please, I beg you, do not substitute valve trombones or baritone/euphonium horns for real honest slide trombones in this piece. The best effect is the common sonority and singing effect of real slide trombones, played by people who understand and appreciate the particular subtle grace of being able to play completely in tune, both lip and tube, with real vibrato and genuine vocal effect.

Now, you could use this piece with five euphoniums and a tuba, or six bassoons, or five cellos and a bass, and it would be interesting and satisfying, but that is not the intent. If you must use trombone surrogates, then please substitue all of the parts with voices from the same family.

MP3 sound sample: Entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



MINUET AND SERENADE, an arrangement of two short Mozart woodwind pieces for six trombones (five tenors and a bass) by Tom Kirkland, comes in a pdf file of 1111K, with an eleven-page score, six three-page parts, and a license page, thirty pages in all. Performance time should be approximately 3:40 to 3:50.
US$3.95
Friends (instrumental solo w/accomp.)
David Hepburn's plaintive Mendelssohn-like piece for oboe and piano. Can also be done with other instruments (three transpositions of the solo part are included).
This piece sounds quite simple, but actually requires quite a bit of musicianship to do well. The interplay of the accompaniment and the solo part does not come through too well in the MIDI sound sample, but in actual performance the accompanist and the soloist can work together to provide a performance lush with emotion.

The piece is written in B major, which in itself can be a challenge. It has a broad range but can be easily managed on a oboe, violin, bassoon, or cello. It would be a much greater challenge on trombone (it is relatively high for a trombone piece) or trumpet or clarinet (in addition to being high, transposition for these instruments puts one in the key of C#).

The accompaniment sounds simple enough, but will also provide a challenge for a developing pianist, both because of the key and because of clef changes in the right hand.

The PDF file contains a score with piano and solo line, an oboe/flute/violin solo part, a clarinet/trumpet solo part, and a bass clef bassoon/cello/trombone solo part.

MP3 sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



FRIENDS by David Hepburn comes in a PDF file of 1360K, eight pages in all. Performance time approximately 2:30 to 2:45.
US$3.95
Praise To Thee and Adoration (cello duet)
This classically styled rendering of Louis Bourgeois' tune for the 42nd Psalm shows off the range and beauty of sound produced by two cellos. Could also be done by two bassoons.
Back in 1551, when Louis Bourgeois penned a set of hymn tunes that were to be published in the Genevan Psalter, he may have recognized the modern cello, but he would not have had the faintest inkling of using computers and the internet to transmit downloadable musical scores.

Despite technological change, at least two or three of Louis Bourgeois' hymn tunes have been passed down to church hymnals that will continue in use well into the 21st century. I guess if your music can stay in use for almost six hundred years, you've done pretty well as a composer.

The most popular of Bourgeois' tunes is OLD HUNDREDTH, which is used commonly as the tune for the Doxology (Praise God from Whom all blessings flow...). Perhaps his tune for the 42nd Psalm is less well known, but it is still used in many church traditions. The tune is known in various hymnals as GENEVAN 42 or BOURGEOIS, and has been used with a variety of texts. One set of words penned by T. Kingo in 1689 begins, "Praise to Thee and Adoration, Blessed Jesus, Son of God..." It is the source of the title of this piece. An alternate title (fine with me if you want to call it this) would be "Comfort, Comfort Ye My People."

A careful listener may notice that the piece alternates between major and minor keys with the same tonic, the hymn tune always appearing in major (or a related key) with the "framing phrases" appearing in minor. This was just a stylistic choice and nothing special should be read into it. I have been listening to a lot of J. S. Bach's music lately, so I will admit to a strong influence in the feel of this setting, and to possibly unintentionally borrowing a musical idea or two from him. On this account I believe I am in some pretty good company. The flow of the two parts is such that it is more natural to have the players cross voices rather than always keeping the lead with one of the two players. This results in both parts containing the same material, just in a different order, therefore, this piece, while not sounding that way, can be considered as a very long and well-concealed round. This is mentioned only to point out that the players will need to be well matched as to skill and tone quality. There is no lead/accompaniment structure to this duet.

Other bass clef instruments will be able to make good use of this piece, most notably two bassoons, two euphoniums, or two trombones. Mixing instruments might be interesting, but would give the piece a much different flavor because of the lead-switching mentioned above.

The occasion for writing this piece was a request by an enthusiastic customer of www.tributek.com. Her exact words were: "...since you asked about my "dream" piece, I'd like GENEVAN 42 (87 87 77 88) set for two cellos (good luck!)." What do you think of it, Sharon?

MP3 sound sample: Entire piece(synthesizer/midi).



PRAISE TO THEE AND ADORATION for two cellos, by Tom Kirkland, comes in a PDF file of 1008K that contains three pages of musical score and a license page, four pages in all. Performance time should be around 3:15.
US$3.95
We Three Kings (trombone trio)
Interesting treatment of a Christmas standard , for three trombones (or bassoons or cellos).
A trio for low-brass instruments. Can be used with trombones, bass-clef baritones, bassoons, or cellos. Range requires third trombone to hit a low D (bass trombone).

Arpeggiation and unusual harmonies give this piece a uniqueness that will make it fresh during a time of year when the old standards can seem a little tired.

MP3 Sound sample: entire piece (synthesizer/midi).



WE THREE KINGS arranged by Tom Kirkland for two tenor trombones and one bass trombone comes in a PDF file of 699K, containing a two-page score and three one-page parts, plus license page, six pages in all. Performance time should be about three minutes.
US$3.95