Blackshaw, Jodie-Terpsichorean Dances; Grade 3

Mary Bryan

Elements about Blackshaw’s Terpsichorean Dances:

  • 7:53 Mins
  • Solo sections for Trumpet, Flute, Oboe, B-Flat Soprano Clarinet, and E-Flat Alto Saxophone.
  • Features sections of brass, woodwinds, and percussion
  • Contrapunctal Texture
  • Uses words such as “defiantly”, “clingingly”, and “reedy” to describe areas of the music
  • Majority of piece is in 6/4, but ends in 3/4
  • Pitch Center is F Major
  • Textural building and layering


  • Piccolo
  • Flute (1&2)
  • Oboe
  • B-Flat Soprano Clarinet (1,2,3)
  • B-Flat Bass Clarinet
  • Bassoon
  • E-Flat Alto Saxophone (1&2)
  • B-Flat Tenor Saxophone
  • E-Flat Baritone Saxophone
  • B-Flat Trumpet (1,2,3)
  • Horn in F (1&2)
  • Trombone (1&2)
  • Bass Trombone
  • Euphonium B.C./T.C.
  • Tuba
  • String Bass
  • Mallets 1 (Glockenspiel, Woodblock)
  • Mallets 2 (Xylophone, Turkish Finger Cymbals, Lagerphone)
  • Percussion 1 (Snare Drum, Tambourine [w/o skin])
  • Percussion 2 (Frame Drum [very large tambourine w/o jangles], Crash Cymbal, Tambourine)
  • Percussion 3 (Timpani, Djembe [or floor Tom])

Program Notes:

Jodie Blackshaw was born and raised in Griffith, New South Wales. She graduated from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Music in Composition. She studied education at the New England University. She writes her music so that students playing the music have the opportunity to make their own decisions of how they want to play it. They are enabled to take ownership of the piece they are learning, so as to build their own self esteem through music. She has taught clarinet, saxophone, and keyboard, as well as directed a variety of ensembles. She now composes for symphonic wind bands of all levels.

Terpsichorean Dances was composed and dedicated to the St. Patrick’s College Band Program in New South Wales, Australia. The themes within the piece; Leaping Dance, the Lute Player, and the Archer King, all come from the collection of works recorded by Michael Praetorius in 1612. Praetorius recorded these works while visiting the royal courts of France, as he did whenever he visited any new country, to preserve the music so that it would last for centuries. This piece takes those themes recorded in Praetorius’ book, Terpsichore, and combined them in a way to make listeners enjoy themselves, and the performers have the ability to play as energetically and animatedly as they like. This piece wonderfully combines medieval renaissance music with the modern wind band. The piece opens with a large fanfare that is based on the themes of the piece. Each theme is then played in succession, and the piece ends with a growth in texture and volume to an exuberant closing.

Why Perform/Learn this Piece:

This piece gives a historical background to the young musicians learning it through introducing them to dance music that has lasted for hundreds of years. This piece contains dance music that requires a strong sense of pulse, as well as the ability to play different musical styles to the full effect asked of them. I believe it is a good study piece for young musicians to learn to play staccato versus legato notes, as well as wide ranges of dynamics, and blending within and without the group. There are many areas within the piece that include sectional solis, as well as solo areas for specific instruments. This teaches the learners to listen to the group, and to listen to the rhythm section to stay in time with the quick, dance-like pulse. This piece is definitely good as a crowd pleaser as well, as its dance-like structure makes the listener just join in and move with the music.


Live Recording: Columbia Concert Band:

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