Basic Information

Composed by Itaru Sakai
Published by De Haske Publications
Grade 3
Length: 1 minute

Teaching Concepts

Time Signature: 3/4 (The prestissimo tempo might require that this piece is conducted in one.)
Key Signature: Bb
Other Information: This is a great fanfare, and a chance to teach students how to follow a conductor in one when the time signature is 3/4. There is also a bit of dissonance in the piece and many accidentals. Finally, the styles employed range from staccato to slurred, and often alternate quickly from one style to the other.

Program Notes

This piece composed in 1998 was commissioned by the Nara Prefecture Band Association, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. A band consisting of selected junior high school students and conducted by Kiyotaka Kamamoto delivered its premiere on February 7th, 1999. Wakakusa Hill is located just east downtown Nara. The hill is named for its young grass ('wakakusa' means 'young grass'). At the foot of the hill are many famous temples and shrines, including the Todai Temple and Kasuga Shrine. The hill is the scene of the annual 'Yamayaki' event, held on the 15th night of January. On this occasion, the entire hill is set ablaze, the flames eventually filling the night sky above Nara.

Small School Considerations

Many of the features of this piece will work well for a small high school band: the horn part often doubled in the alto sax, the low woodwinds doubling one another and many unison trumpet lines through out. Listed below are a few spots in the music that you might want to look over before performing this piece with your band.

The first clarinet part is very high for a typical clarinet player (often higher than C above the staff). This part is doubled throughout in the flutes, so you may want to consider dropping this part down an octave.

The bass line is often doubled in many low brass and woodwind instruments. There is a section (from measure 17 - 23) where only the tuba and trombone 3 parts are playing a bass line and you may need to write this part out for a low woodwind instrument.

At measure 33 the first trumpet part goes up to a A, then G# above the staff. If this presents a problem for your trumpets, there are lower notes printed underneath that you may choose to have your trumpets play.

From measure 50 - 57, the 1st and 3rd horns are the only players with a concert E (written B natural). Consider having a trombone or baritone cover these pitches.


Flute 1, 2
Eb Clarinet
Bb Clarient 1, 2, 3
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1, 2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet 1, 2, 3
Horn 1, 2, 3, 4
Trombone 1, 2, 3
Double Bass
Percussion 1, 2, 3, 4

Percussion Requirements and Possible Substitutions

Church Bell
Snare Drum
Bass Drum

The church bell plays three times during Fanfare of Wakakusa Hill. An appropriate substitute would be a chime that can be head above the band.

Link to Available Recording and Score

Recording available here.
Both the score and a recording are available on De Haske's website, but you must register at the site to view the sample.

Score for Fanfare of Wakakusa Hill