Basic Information

Composed by Michael Grady
Published by Neil A. Kjos Co.
Grade 1.5
Length: 3 minutes 15 seconds

Teaching Concepts

Time Signature: 4/4
Key Signature: Bb
Tempo(s): Quarter note = 136
Other Information: This piece works presents the young band with a wide variety of styles to work on. Perseus and the Sea Monster begins marcato, has several sections marked dolce and has other phrases marked pesante. Since the piece is programmatic in nature, the director can use the story presented in the music to help teach these differing styles.

For a younger band, this would be a good opportunity to work on correctly counting dotted quarter notes. Also, there are many different articulation markings used throughout the piece (accent, staccato and legato) and could be used to reinforce the difference between these markings.

Finally, there is a fugue section beginning at measure 68 and continuing for almost 20 measures. Upon first glance, the fugue may look overwhelming, but it achievable by a young band.

Program Notes

Perseus and the Sea Monster is based in Greek mythology. Most of the stories about Perseus, son of Zeus, portray him as a knight whose main job is to rid the world of strange creatures. The episode chosen for this work involves Perseus walking through the woods. The work attempts to reflect his stately but lonely nature with contrasting themes in the opening. He hears something in the distance and rushes ahead to discover the annual sacrifice of a maiden to the sea monster. The girl is tied to a rock in the low tide, as the sea monster approaches. The second section introduces the monster theme and uses some vocal sound effects and a rainstick to imitate the tide. A battle ensues, depicted by fugal treatment of a minor subject, and Perseus' theme is victorious in the end.

Small School Considerations

Michael Grady has done a nice job of making sure that the success of this piece is not overly dependent upon any one instrument (with the exception of two solos in the chime part). The horn part is always covered by another instrument, and where the texture of the piece is thin, is covered in a unique manner. Rather than the first horn being covered by the first alto saxophone, and the second part doubling one another, the first horn and the second alto part are the same as are the second horn and first alto. It's a unique way to ensure that no matter the instrumentation, the each part will be adequately covered.

All of the low brass and woodwinds are on the same part which will help bands that have few players on the bass line. Occasionally, depending on the instrumentation of the ensemble, this doubling could lead to balance problems, but more often than not will work in the favor of the small ensemble.


Flute 1, 2
Bb Clarinet 1, 2, 3
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1, 2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet/Cornet 1, 2
Horn 1, 2
Electric Bass
Percussion 1, 2, 3, 4

Percussion Requirements and Possible Substitutions

Crash Cymbals
Suspended Cymbal
Snare Drum
Bass Drum

Ideally, this piece will take six players to cover all of the percussion parts, but can probably be done with five if you modify the percussion 3 part slightly. There is not a great substitution for the gong if you do not have one, but perhaps you could experiment with different suspended cymbals to see if you could find one that would approximate the correct sound.

The chime part is critical in this piece, with the chimes having two solos, one at measure 58 and another at measure 66. If you do not have a set of chimes, try playing the part on either bells or the vibraphone in a low register with soft mallets.

Link to Available Recording and Score

The score and a recording are available a the Neil A. Kjos website.


Perseus and the Sea Monster on
Perseus and the Sea Monster Neil A. Kjos Music
The score for Perseus and the Sea Monster