Basic Information

Arranged by Frank Ticheli
Published by Manhattan Beach Music
Grade 3
9 minutes in length

Teaching Concepts

Time Signature: I. Cut time, II. Cut time, III. 6/8, IV. Cut time, 4/4, Cut time
Key Signature: I. Eb, II. F, III. Bb, IV. F
Tempo: I. Half note = 76. II. Half note = 108, III. Dotted quarter note = 56, IV. Half note = 76-80
Other Information:
I. In Yonder Valley: In Yonder Valley begins with a flute and clarinet duet (optional soli in each section) which becomes a quartet before adding all of the players in each section. This will given an excellent chance to develop soloists within in the band. Throughout the movement the melody is shaped by accents, staccatos, slurs and legato markings which will give the director a chance to work on precision of style. Finally, there will need to be a great deal of focus on intonation giving the director a chance to emphasize that tuning does not end when the music begins.

II. Dance:The second movement is a great vehicle to teach students to play lightly when attempting to play fast, staccato, accented notes. The work will bog down without this being emphasized by the conductor. There is a great chance to work with students on crescendo and subito piano at measure 41 when there are a series of two measure piano to forte crescendos.

III. Here Take This Lovely Flower: This beautiful, legato melody is a great piece to work on intonation and subdividing in 6/8 time. It will also be useful to teach breath support and the concept of canon within a larger piece of music. This movement is sold alone under the title A Shaker Gift Song.

IV. Simple Gifts: This movement is a beautiful setting of the famous folk song, Simple Gifts. It will give a talented trumpet player a chance to shine in an extensive solo at the beginning. If you do not have a player who can play it along, Ticheli does suggest making the part a soli instead. The work will give you band an opportunity to work in cut time which has several different feelings to it. Sometimes the cut time has a half or double time feeling, which can lead to an interesting discussion of why composers use different meters.

Frank Ticheli notes in the score: These movements, especially movement IV, may be played separately, or in a different order. For example as a three-movement suite, play movements I, III, IV; or II, I, IV; or II, III, IV; etc. - or as a two movement suite, play movements III, IV; or I, IV; etc.

Program Notes

My work is built from four Shaker melodies - a sensuous nature song, a lively dance tune, a tender lullaby, and most famously, "Simple Gifts," the hymn that celebrates the Shaker's love of simplicity and humility. In setting these songs, I sought subtle ways to preserve their simple, straightforward beauty. Melodic freshness and interest were achieved primarily through variations of harmony, of texture, and especially, of orchestration.

The first movement is a setting of "In Yonder Valley", generally regarded to be the oldest surviving Shaker song with text. This simple hymn in praise of nature is attributed to Father James Whittaker (1751 - 87), a member of the small group of Shakers who emigrated to America in 1774. My setting enhances the image of spring by turning the first three notes of the tune into a birdcall motive.

The second movement, "Dance," makes use of a tune from an 1830's Shaker manuscript. Dancing was an important part of Shaker worship, and tunes such as this were often sung by a small group of singers while the rest of the congregation danced. One interesting feature in my setting occurs near the end of the movement, when the brasses state the tune at one-quarter speed in counterpoint against the woodwinds who state it at normal speed.

The third movement is based on a Shaker lullaby, "Here Take This Lovely Flower," found in Dorothy Berliner Commin's extraordinary collection, Lullabies of the World. and in Daniel W. Patterson's monumental collection, The Shaker Spiritual. This song is an example of the phenomenon of the gift song, music received from spirits by Shaker mediums while in trance (see pp. 316 ff. in Patterson, op cit., for a detailed account, and also Harold E. Cook's Shaker Music: A Manifestation of American Folk Culture, pp. 52 ff.). Although the Shakers practiced celibacy, there were many children in their communities, including the children of recent converts as well as orphans whom they took in. Like many Shaker songs, this lullaby embodies the Shakers' ideal of childlike simplicity.

The finale is a setting of the Shakers' most famous song, "Simple Gifts," sometimes attributed to Elder Joseph Bracket (1797 - 1882) of the Alfred, Maine community, and also said (in Lebanon, New York, manuscript) as having been received from a Negro spirit at Canterbury, New Hampshire, making "Simple Gifts" possibly a visionary gift song. It has been used in hundreds of settings, most notably by Aaron Copland in the brilliant set of variations which conclude his Appalachian Spring. Without ever quoting him, my setting begins at Copland's doorstep, and quickly departs. Throughout its little journey, the tune is never abandoned, rarely altered, always exalted.

Small School Considerations

I. In Yonder Valley: The piece opens with a flute and clarinet duet which will require confident players. There is also an option to make this a soli. There is also an alto saxophone solo at measure 56, which is cued in the first clarinet part. For this movement, as long as your band has either a horn or tenor sax, and a bass clarinet, bassoon, baritone saxophone or tuba you will have all of the chord tones present. There will be colors missing and you may want to look at adding instruments to get as close to the composer's original intent as possible, but it can be played without that.

II. Dance: This movement is very well cued for the smaller band. The alto sax soli in the opening measures is cued in both the trumpet and second alto sax parts. You will need either a baritone sax, bass clarinet or bassoon at measure 17, but if absolutely necessary, this could be written for the tuba. Finally, at 33 the band will need to have either a third clarinet, bassoon, tenor sax or horn to cover this part. You might want to consider adding the baritone or trombone for color, but only if they can play soft enough to blend.

III. Here Take This Lovely Flower: For this movement a baritone player is vital. If you do not have one, you might be able to get away with having a trombone player play this part instead. All of the solos in his movement are cued. In measure 29 - 31, beginning on a concert Bb the horn is playing a part that is not written for any other players in the same range. The alto sax is resting, so write consider writing the horn notes into their part.

IV. Simple Gifts: For a small band, covering everything in this movement will be a challenge. Below is a list of measures to look at, and possible solutions to the problems that they might provide.
13 - The clarinet and horn are in unison. Consider adding the tenor sax or baritone for the lower sound.
15 - The tenor sax is playing a whole note with the clarinet. If you don't have a tenor sax, you may want to add this to another low voice for the color.
21 - The horn is the only instrument in its range on a concert middle C. The baritone and trombone are both resting and could play this note.
39 - The baritone solo is not cued for any other instruments, but could be played by a trombone if necessary.
45 - The horns have a part that is not covered by anyone else in their range, but the whole band is playing. If you have enough players, consider adding this note to the trombones or alto saxophone part.
61 - 71 - The bass clarinet, bassoon, tenor sax, horn and baritone are all on the same line, which may be a challenge for some bands. You will need to make sure that this line is covered (perhaps by a trombone) and can be heard.


Full Score
Flute 1, 2
Bb Clarinet 1, 2, 3
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1, 2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Trumpet 1, 2, 3
Trombone 1, 2
Percussion 1, 2, 3

Percussion Requirements and Possible Substitutions

Small Tom-tom
Snare Drum
Suspended Cymbal
Crash Cymbal
Bass Drum

I. In Yonder Valley: The percussion part will require four players as written, but if carefully planned out it could be cut down to three.

II. Dance: The percussion part will again require four players. If you must remove a part, consider removing the timpani before the others.

III. Here Take This Lovely Flower: For this movement there is limited percussion which will require two players.

IV. Simple Gifts: While this movement will be most comfortable for four players, it can easily be covered by three.

Link to Available Recording

A recording can be found here.


General information about Simple Gifts:
General information about Frank Ticheli:
Score to Simple Gifts