mover and shaker

Chorale and Shaker Dance

Chorale and Shaker Dance is a piece of music for wind band composed by John Zdechlik. Today, it is one of the most famous and widely recognized pieces of band literature.

The piece was commissioned by the Jefferson High School Band of Bloomington, Minnesota, in honor of their conductor, Earl Benson. It was written in 1971 and was premiered at the convention of The National Association for Music Education (MENC) in Atlanta, Georgia in March of the following year.

Composition details

Chorale and Shaker Dance is a lively composition based on the Shaker tune, Simple Gifts and containing elements of Celtic music. It begins with a woodwind chorale composed of piccolo, flute, oboe, E♭ clarinet, B♭ clarinet, E♭ alto clarinet, B♭ bass clarinet, bassoon, and alto saxophone with a canon theme exhibited several times between the saxophone and flute. Soon after, a call-and-response melody is featured between high and low woodwind. Then approximately halfway through the piece, the time signature is switched to 2/2 and changes several times between 2/2, 3/2, 3/4, 4/4, and 5/4 through a gloomy and dark passage. The alto sax and flute canon returns near the end, and is followed by a low instrument chorale and a repetition of the melody, ending with thundering timpani. The compositional ideas of the piece include augmentation and diminution, as well as polytonality, melodic fragmentation, and homophonic and polyphonic textures. Several portions of the song feature "call and response" between instrumental groups, and canon variations play an essential role in supporting (and even becoming, at some points) the simple shaker melody.

External links

Listen to the music


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