Award Date

May 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Committee Member

Thomas G. Leslie

Second Committee Member

Anthony LaBounty

Third Committee Member

Zane Douglass

Fourth Committee Member

Timothy Jones

Fifth Committee Member

Brackley Frayer

Number of Pages



This research examines John Philip Sousa’s 1893 wind band transcription of Richard Wagner’s overture to Der fliegende Holländer, and focuses specifically on how Sousa reconceived orchestral sonorities and solved particular problems posed by Wagner’s complex orchestrational textures. Findings include that, while appropriate for the era and instrumentation of Sousa’s band, his transcription contains certain limitations for the twenty-first-century wind orchestra. Due to the fact that Sousa’s compositions, arrangements, and transcriptions were written to accommodate frequent outdoor performances, Sousa’s transcription uses more doubled voicings than would be necessary in an indoor concert hall setting. Further, while Sousa’s instrumentation approximates that of the modern wind orchestra, there are notable differences that must be resolved.

For these reasons, an update to Sousa’s transcription is needed. As a culminating product of this research, I am including my transcription for wind orchestra of Wagner’s overture to Der fliegende Holländer. In this transcription, I have taken great care to maintain the spirit of Sousa’s while bringing more relevance to the concert hall wind orchestra approach popular in the twenty- first century. I have restored the overture to its original key; maintained the original wind, brass, and timpani parts of Wagner’s orchestral score; and, as often as possible, eliminated doubling of voices unnecessary in the concert hall. I have also updated the instrumentation to today’s needs and added a cello, double bass, and a full complement of harmony clarinets to accentuate a sonic landscape that uses the various colors and timbre possibilities of the modern wind orchestra.


band; Der fliegende Holländer; Sousa; The Flying Dutchman; transcription; Wagner



File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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