Basic Information

Composed by Elliot Del Borgo
Published by FJH Music Company
Grade 3
Length: 5 minutes 30 seconds

Teaching Concepts

Time Signature:4/4
Key Signature: Eb, F
Tempo: Quarter note = 120, 76, 138
Other Information: The upper woodwind parts are quite technical and will be a good challenge for flute, clarinet and alto saxophone players. Additionally this piece will give the students a chance to play in several different styles, from separated to more chorale like. The first sea chantey makes great use of the dotted eighth sixteenth note rhythm and provides an opportunity to emphasize correct playing of this rhythm. Finally, Drunken Sailor has quite a few accidents which adds to the challenge of the piece.

Program Notes

Commissioned by the 2003 District III (Maine) Junior High Honors Band, Sea Trilogy is based on A-Roving, Eternal Father, and The Drunken Sailor. The first of these, A-Roving, is a jaunty, march-like sea song set in a symphonic style, with spirited rhythms in the percussion and powerful gestures in the brass. Contrasting is the beloved naval hymn Eternal Father. The cantabile melody is heard in all instruments, as subtle timbres enhance its warm melodic lines. The Drunken Sailor is a robust presentation of the familiar sea chantey. Motivic development and strong contrapuntal textures are propelled by driving rhythmic figures in the percussion.

(Notes taken from the score.)

Small School Considerations

This piece is well suited for a small high school band looking for a technical challenge. There are some exposed lines which will make this tricky to perform, but well worth it in the end. The horn part is doubled through the entire piece as are the bass instruments.

Just after measure 9 there is a flute soli which will require a confident flute section. Several times during Sea Trilogy the trumpets have a soli, the biggest of which occurs at measure 82, the beginning of Drunken Sailor.


Flute 1, 2
Bb Clarinet 1, 2
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1, 2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet 1, 2
F Horn
Percussion 1
Percussion 2

Percussion Requirements and Possible Substitutions

Snare Drum
Bass Drum
3 Tom-toms
Suspended Cymbals

The percussion parts will be most easily covered by six players, however with careful editing you can cover it with fewer. Both the bells and timpani have important parts, and a number of rests. There are times throughout the piece when these players might be able to cover another part. The tom-tom and clave parts are both essential to the character of the piece and must be covered,but neither are overly complex. If you have extra players in the wind section consider teaching one of them to cover the part.

Link to Available Recording

A recording and sample of the score are available at FJH's website


Sea Trilogy at FJH Music
Score to Sea Trilogy