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Henry T.


Galop (1959) by Dmitri Shostakovich arr. by Donald Hunsberger (1971)

Unit 1: Composer

Dmitri Shostakovich:

Dmitri Shostakovich was born into the Soviet Union in 1906. He is most famously
known as a Russian Pianist and Composer and composed mostly in the “Romantic” style. He
composed many symphonies and operas the latter of which Galop comes from. Being under the
rule of the Soviet Union, Shostakovich’s works were under much scrutiny and some of them
were even banned from being played in the USSR during his life time. He would then write a
new piece that the Soviet’s deemed “more Russian” and Shotakovich was in the clear. His
pieces were largely tonal with slight chromaticism. He was influenced highly by Mahler,
Mussorgsky, and Stravinsky which is where most of his musical ideas come from.

Donald Hunsberger (b. 1932)

Donald Hunsberger was the long time conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble
beginning in 1965. He has arranged many orchestral scores for band including some movie
soundtracks, such as Star Wars and Festive Overture by Dmitri Shotakovich. In his life time
time he has recorded many things with the Eastman Wind Enesmble and conducted many
orchestras across the nation. Currently, Hunsberger rescores for silent movies and is the
Conductor Emeritus at Eastman.

Unit 2: Composition

Galop is from the operetta Moscow, Cheremushky. Admirers of Shostakovich’s dramatic

symphonies and concertos are likely to be unaware that the composer also wrote a very
substantial quantity of lighter music as well, never scorning the possibility of creating a hit song.
In his early days, he composed incidental music and songs for many plays and even created a
full-fledged operetta in the 1930s. He composed film music throughout his career as well, for
both tragic and comic tales. In 1958, Shostakovich returned to the operetta for a full-scale three-
act work, Moskva, Cheryomushki (the title refers to a region in the city of Moscow), which
opened on January 24, 1959, to substantial success.

Unit 3: Historical Perspective

Being under the rule of the Soviet Union, Shostakovich was always trying to please
the rulers as well as pushing the boundaries of musicality. This made his job very difficult with
a few failures on Shostakovich’s part. For example, Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony was
deemed “not in the Russian Style”. The piece was banned from being played in the USSR and
consequently the World because the Soviet Union did not let the manuscripts out of the country.
Because of this, Shostakovich was forced to write another Symphony “in the Russian style”
which produced his famed 5th Symphony.
The operetta is a style of music that was performed for the low people of a country.
Most of operettas were comedic and made light of the long time musical performance of the
opera. Galop is from Shostakovich’s operetta, Moscow, Cheremushky, which by all accounts
was a hit in the USSR in the early 60s.

Unit 4: Technical Considerations

Galop is a grade 4 pieces according Kansas records and is written for Full Ensemble
including String Bass, and Harp (both optional), and Eb Clarinet. There are no out of the
ordinary percussion instruments but they include: Timpani, Xylophone, Snare Drum,
Tambourine, Cymbals, and Bass Drum. Every instrument gets into the upper part of their
registers, which Hunsberger address and writes “8vb ad. Lib” for all parts that get too high.
There is one special ornamentation, a trill in the flutes and no extended techniques and the
melody is held in the entire ensemble at times or found in the upper voices. The piece is marked
at quarter note equals 152 and stays in 2/4 for the entirety of the piece. The piece rotates
between C minor, A minor, with chromaticism.
Unit 5: Stylistic Considerations

Galop feels and looks like a typical march. This means that the pulse has to maintain

consistency and all markings of notes must be followed perfectly. Hunsberger writes out all

articulations necessary to play the piece correctly. For example, Hunsberger writes most eighth

notes with a staccato over it, most quarter notes with accents and most sixteenth notes with slurs.

Galop is also very loud most of the time so it will be important to maintain lightness throughout

the piece because the tendency is to play with a more air than their instruments can handle.

Unit 6: Musical Elements


The melody to this piece is very disjunct and loud. The opening melody is centered

around the 3rd of the key, the note E. It bounces between E natural and E flat, making the

melody never sit into the key. The “B” melody has a faster rhythm and is once again focused

around the 3rd of the key the section is in. The “C” melody is based around major and dominant

arpeggios in the sixteenth note form. The “D” melody changes it up and goes to A harmonic

minor. It follows the scale going down starting on the fifth then follows the scale going up. The

“E” section has the melody in a new instrument set using the low voices. It is comparable to a

“dog fight” in a typical march form.


The harmonies in the piece are either in moving thirds and fifths with the melody or very

chromatic descending lines in contrast to the melody. There are also harmonies that answer the

melodies in the rests that fall within the key.


The rhythm of this piece is based in the eighth note and sixteenth note. The fastest

rhythmic setting is four sixteenth notes. The other rhythmic setting is “boom chicks” throughout

in the accompaniment.


The color of this piece is very bright. The only exception is the “dog fight” section where

the low voices have the melody. The color is bright because of the way it is orchestrated with

almost all of the voices in the upper part of their range. The exception is orchestrated with every

instrument in a comfortable range.

Unit 7: Form and Structure

Measure Number Section Musical Considerations Tonal Center

1-8 A -It is loud make sure it C minor with

stays light chromaticism
9-16 B -16th notes need to stay Fb minor with
precise chromaticism
17-24 A’ -A theme comes back C minor with
exactly play it the same chromaticism
25-32 C -Alignment of the F Major
sixteenth note triplets
and sixteenth notes
-off beats not dragging
33-41 A” -A theme comes back. C minor with
-Balance needs to stay chromaticism
the same.
-Second ending comes in
so watch the difference.
42-58 D -This is the first softer A harmonic Minor
section of the piece.
Make it drastic.
59-74 E -“Dog Fight” of the C minor
piece. The low voices
dominate the sound.
The most powerful
75-82 A -Final Statement! Must C minor with
be loud and boisterous! chromaticism
83-90 Coda -Like B section but is C minor with
more unison. chromaticism
-Make sure stinger has
tone to it.

Unit 8: Suggested Listening

Symphony No. 5 in D minor by Shostakovich

The Bolt for Orchestra by Shostakovich

Festive Overture by Shostakovich

Festive Overture arr. by Hunsberger

Colas Breugnon arr. by Hunsberger

Unit 9: Additional Resources

Rochford, B., Laprise, K., & Laprise, R. Concert: Ithaca College Campus Band.

Sheinberg, E. (2000). Irony, satire, parody, and the grotesque in the music of Shostakovich: a

theory of musical incongruities. Ashgate Publishing.

Dmitri. Shostakovich. (1987). Golden Age: Music By Dmitri Shostakovich.

Eastman Bio of Donald Hunsberger: