This Scottish folk-song provides a warm and mellow sound. Its added appeal is that it gives young bands the opportunity to learn how to play in an expressive manner. All instruments have a chance to play the melody while the gently flowing accompaniment patterns further enhance the arrangement
The piece is in 3/4 time, in F major, and a quarter note mm=86 throughout.
At the dynamic level of mezzo piano, the ensemble, minus the trumpets, plays the first four measures. The trumpets take up the melody beginning in measure 5. A piano accompaniment is included to help fill the spots where the instrumentation is weak or non-existent.
At measure 13, the full ensemble enters, with interesting moving accompaniment lines in the clarinets and horns.
At measure 21, the high woodwinds begin playing the theme while the alto saxophones and horns imitate the musical line. This provides for an unexpected contrast in sound lending a lighter tonal quality than when the full ensemble plays.
Measure 29 ushers in the theme played by the trumpets (divided into thirds) with an appealing counter line played in the high woodwinds.
At measure 37, the full ensemble recaps the sounds of measure 13.
A ritardando provides an attractive way to conclude the piece.
It can be tiring for the audience to hear horns playing constantly throughout an arrangement. However, O’Reilly does achieve good contrast in sound in this arrangement.
This is a very soothing, legato piece of music, employing many parallel thirds within sections, and flowing moving lines in the inner voices. It has a chordal-legato texture throughout.
Skye Boat Song is recommended as an effective piece to teach legato phrasing and tonal balance.
Vince Corozine Music , Author of “Arranging Music for the Real World” by Mel Bay Publications