Satin Doll for Brass Quintet & Drum Set

Words & Music by Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn Arranged by Keith Terrett
Full details...
page one of Satin Doll for Brass Quintet & Drum Set

Which method of viewing music should I use?

Score Exchange has two methods to display previews of music: seView which uses regular html and javascipt and the Scorch plug-in from Avid which needs to be downloaded and installed onto your computer. Both have advantages and disadvantages:


seView, is the most compatible option. You should be able to view music on all modern web browsers including most mobile devices. Even if your device does not support javascript you should still be able to preview at least page one of the music.

You do not need to install any additional software to use seView.


Scorch is a free plug-in from Avid for displaying and printing music. It can also play the music that you're seeing. As modern web browsers are updated, Scorch is no longer compatible with many browsers. Scorch has never been compatible with mobile devices and some web browsers on Mac computers.

If your web browser does not install Scorch automatically, you can click here to download and install scorch manually.

Static preview

The static preview shows a basic image of the first page.

Interactive preview

The interactive preview also shows a preview of the first page, but it's a bit slower to load. The preview is displayed using the Sibelius Cloud Publishing technology from Avid. With most scores, this technology will provide a higher quality preview, as well as being able to switch to full screen mode and also play the displayed music to you.

Printing after purchase

After you have purchased this item the Cloud Publishing technology is utilised to provide the printing mechanism for the music. As such, we recommend checking that the Interactive Preview displays correctly on your device before committing to a purchase.

Full details

An arrangement of Satin Doll by Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn for Brass Quintet.

"Satin Doll" is a jazz standard written by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Written in 1953, the song has been recorded countless times, by such artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, 101 Strings, Terry Callier, and Nancy Wilson. Its chord progression is well known for its unusual use of chords and opening with a ii-V-I turnaround.

Johnny Mercer was often asked to write lyrics to already popular songs. The lyrics to "Satin Doll" were written after the song was already a hit in its instrumental version. Ellington used "Satin Doll" as the closing number at most of his concerts.

The Coasters released a version of the song on their 1960 album, One by One.

The popular 1950s group The Gaylords recorded a version of "Satin Doll" in 1958.

The American vocal group The Stylistics recorded a cover version for their 1976 album, Once Upon a Juke Box.

Although Ellington originally wrote the melody for “Satin Doll,” in his biography of Billy Strayhorn, Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn, David Hajdu says, “Strayhorn fleshed out an Ellington riff sketch with harmony and lyrics …” and titled it “Satin Doll,” Strayhorn’s pet name for his mother. Strayhorn’s lyrics were not considered commercially viable, and five years later, lyricist and cofounder of Capitol Records, Johnny Mercer wrote new lyrics, resulting in the song we know today.

Whether the “Satin Doll” is Strayhorn’s mother or not is up for speculation. In the Mercer Ellington/Stanley Dance biography, Duke Ellington in Person: An Intimate Memoir, Mercer suspects Beatrice “Evie” Ellis or Evie Ellington, Duke’s common-law wife, is the mystery woman. Mercer is quoted as saying, “… she disclosed that ‘Satin Doll’ was really written for her…” Mercer then supports her claim saying, “…Pop would always be leaving notes in the house addressing her affectionately as “Dearest Doll,” “Darling Doll,” and so on.”

As a rule, Billy Strayhorn is credited with assisting Ellington with the music but not contributing to the Johnny Mercer lyrics. In the early 1990’s, however, a copyright infringement case (Tempo Music vs. Famous Music) was brought against the Strayhorn Estate by the Ellington Estate. Basically the Ellington Estate felt that because Strayhorn’s contribution to the music was only the harmonization of Ellington’s melody and that harmonic progressions are not sufficient to constitute copyrightable expression, the Strayhorn Estate should receive proceeds only from versions published with lyrics.

The court ruled in favor of the Strayhorn Estate, saying, “While we agree that melody generally implies a limited range of chords which can accompany it, a composer may exercise creativity in selecting among these chords…”

Beyond the legal implications to jazz musicians, who routinely reuse harmonic progressions, the above phrase, “should receive proceeds only from versions published with lyrics,” implied the Ellington Estate believed Strayhorn contributed to the Johnny Mercer lyrics, a fact also stated in the book Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington by John Edward Hasse.

Among Ellington compositions, “Satin Doll” is unique in that it was not written with a particular soloist in mind, Ellington himself taking the introductory piano solo in the 1953 recording. Further differentiating “Satin Doll” from many other Ellington top jazz standards are the critically acclaimed lyrics. Johnny Mercer’s (and Billy Strayhorn’s) words are clever, hip, and slangy, almost beyond belief.

The repetitive “A” section melody sounds suspiciously as if it began life as a “riff” or background figure that section players use as accompaniment to a soloist (similar to an ostinato). Section “B” is a bit more developed, based on a scale pattern that descends a fourth and then ascends back up a fourth. The chord progression of “A” is interesting because it starts out with a harmonic sequence often used as a “turnaround” at the end of a tune–ii7 – V7 – ii7 – VI7. The fifth and sixth measures of “A” almost defy analysis. If a composer following the classical rules of voice leading had written the harmonic progression here, it would have been II7 (or ii7) – V7(#9)– I (D7 or Dm7 – G7(#9) – Cma7 in the original). Instead, the chords used seem completely coloristic and yet disguise the voice-leading function definitely present when looked at closely. In the fifth measure, the first chord written is Am7(b5)/Eb (which could have been written as an Ebø7–and actually is), which proceeds to the D7 – the II7 we would expect to find there. The next chord, however, is Abm9, which resolves to Db9. Under normal circumstances, one would think of this as a ii7 – V7 – I in Gb, but really what has happened is that the Abm9 has been an embellishment of the “Neapolitan” chord (in the key of C, a Db7) which is nothing more than a tri-tone substitution for V7. Indeed, proper voice-leading technique is still present, albeit disguised almost beyond recognition.

Section “B” is more orthodox sounding: ii7 – V7 – I in F and G major. Transition back to section “A” is accomplished by dropping the middle three voices of the G7 chord a half-step, creating a vii˚7/ii in the original tonic key of C major.

Original Key C major with temporary false key changes to F major and G major during the bridge Form A – A – B – A Tonality Primarily major Movement Almost completely stepwise; only occasional skips

Score ID
Words & Music by Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn Arranged by Keith Terrett
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
2 minutes
Brass quintet
Jazz music
Related scores
When the Saint's Go Marching In for Brass Band Quintet, Vedrò con mio Diletto Aria: from the Opera "Il Giustino" for Guitar & String Quartet, That's a Plenty for Flexible Band (Grade 4 ish), Fanfare & Soliloquy for Bb Piccolo Trumpet & Piano, Equinox for Brass Quintet & Drum Set, That’s A Plenty for Trombone Quintet (Jazz for 5 Series), SUO-GAN for Bansuri (Indian Flute) & Piano, Ancient Dances for Concert/Wind/Symphonic Band - Keith Terrett Classic Band Series, Czardas for French Horn & Piano, Moonlight Serenade for Tuba Quintet (Jazz for Just 5 Brass Series) , Ukrainian National Anthem for Brass Quintet (MFAO World National Anthem Series), Macedonian National Anthem for Brass Quintet (MFAO World National Anthem Series), Little Brown Jug for Flexible Band Grade 4/5 ish, Slaves Chorus from Nabucco ("Va, pensiero") for Brass Quintet, Little Brown Jug for Brass Quintet (Jazz for 5 Brass Series), Kokoda Trail (the) March for Brass Band, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore for Brass Quintet, Kanon in D minor, but not that one!, Czardas for Solo C / Bb Euphonium & Concert Band (Bb minor), Islands & Mountains for Brass Band, North Korean National Anthem (Aegukka) for Brass Quintet (MFAO World National Anthem Series), Royal Hussar (The) Ceremonial Slow March for Concert/Wind Band (Keith Terrett Classic March Collection), VE March for Concert/Wind Band (Keith Terrett Classic March Collection), Lost Patrol March (The) for Concert/Wind/Symphonic Band (Keith Terrett Classic March Collection), Lassus Trombone for Trombone & Brass Quartet, Moonlight Serenade (Glen Miller) for Brass Quintet (Jazz for 5 Brass Series), Pennsylvania 6-5000 for Brass Quintet & Optional Drumset, Amazing Grace for Eb Tenor (Alto) Horn & Piano, Caymanian National Song ’’Beloved Isle Cayman’’ for Brass Quintet (World National Anthem Series), Angels Sang (Christmas Carol for Brass Quartet), Tin Roof Blues for Brass Quintet ''Jazz for Just 5 Brass Series'', That’s A Plenty (Dixieland style) for Classical Brass Quintet (Jazz for 5 series), Hello Dolly for Brass Quintet & Drum set (Jazz for 5 Brass Series), Pachelbel’s Kanon Rocks for Concert/Wind Band +, Getting Bluesy for Young Concert Band, Für Elise Boogie Woogie for Brass Quintet (Jazz for Just 5 Brass Series), That’s A Plenty for Tuba Quintet, Frankie & Johnny for C Tuba & Piano, Frankie & Johnny for French Horn & Piano, Frankie & Johnny for Bb Trumpet & Piano, Mitt hjerte alltid vanker for Trombone Quartet, Australian National Anthem for Brass Quintet in Bb (2Bb Tpts, 2 Bb Tbns & Eb Bass), Australian National Anthem for Brass Quintet (2 Bb Tpts, 2 Tbns & Eb Bass) Treble Clef, Pachelbel’s Canon for 8 Trumpets, Pachelbel's Canon for Trombone Octet, Pachelbel’s Canon for Tuba Octet, Four Classic English Chorales/Hymns for Brass Quartet, Largo (from Concerto in D Major for Lute, RV. 96) for Trombone Quintet, A Euphophonist Goes Ballroom Dancing, Träumerei for Brass Quintet, Fast zu ernst for Brass Quintet, All Things Bright and Beautiful for Brass Quartet & Choir, Eternal Father Strong, to Save for Trombone Quartet, Come Back To Sorrento (Torna a Surriento) for C Trombone & Piano, Come Back To Sorrento (Torna a Surriento) for French Horn & Piano, What Shall We Do With The Drunken Brass Quartet?, What Shall We Do With The Drunken French Horn Player?, A Tubist Goes Ballroom Dancing for C Tuba & Piano, A Trombonist Goes Ballroom Dancing Tenor Trombone & Piano (Pro-version), A Hornist Goes Ballroom Dancing for French Horn & Piano, Chorale Partita with Seven Variations for Trombone Quintet (1 Alto, 3 Tenors & Bass), Echo for Brass Octet, Escape to the Phaeacians for Concert/Wind Band, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot for Tuba Quintet, Trumpet Tune from the Island Princess for Brass Quintet in D Pro version, Trumpet Tune from the Island Princess for Brass Quintet in Bb (Low version), Air from the Suite No. 3 in D for Brass Quartet, Air from the Suite No. 3 in D for Solo F Horn & String Orchestra, C Jam Blues for Brass Quintet Jazz for 5 Brass Series!, Für Elise Boogie Woogie for Tuba Quintet (Keith Terrett Jazz for 5 Brass Series), Piri piri for Concert Band, Jasmine Flower (The) for Bb Trumpet & Piano (Pro-version), SUO-GAN for Bb Piccolo Trumpet & Piano, Also Sprach Zarathustra Rocks! 2001 A Space Odyssey for C Trombone & Organ, Bass Guitar & Drumset, Honduran National Anthem (Tu bandera, tu bandera un lampo de cielo) for Brass Quintet (MFAO World National Anthem Series), Twenty Minute Tango for French Horn & Piano, Jesus Christ is Risen Today for Brass (low descant), Be Thou My Vision Hymn Tune (Slane) for Brass Quintet, Frankie & Johnny for Flexible Band (Grade 4 ish), What Shall We Do With The Drunken Tuba Quartet? (Treble Clef parts), Jerusalem ''And Did Those Feet in Ancient Times'' for Brass Quintet, Keep the Fire Alive for Solo French Horn & Concert/Wind Band, A Serenade for Brass Band Quintet, Sāre Jahāṉ se Acchā - سارے جہاں سے اچھا (Indian Patriotic song) for Voices & School Band/Orchestra, When the Saint's Go Marching In for Saxophone Quintet, Moonlight Serenade for Bb Trumpet & Piano, Mattinata for French Horn & Piano, Prelude from the Te Deum for Solo Trumpet & Organ in C (Intermediate/Semi Pro version) and Tambourin for Bb Trumpet & Piano

For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

Cover art for Satin Doll for Brass Quintet & Drum Set

(1) Reviews of Satin Doll for Brass Quintet & Drum Set

You might also like...