The Colonel’s Bogey (Saxophone Quartet / Quintet)

By: Kenneth J Alford
For: Saxophone quartet
page one of The Colonel’s Bogey (Saxophone Quartet / Quintet)

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Kenneth J Alford
Year of composition
Year of arrangement
Difficult (Grades 7+)
3 minutes
Classical music
License details
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The Colonel Bogey March is a popular march that was written in 1914 by Lieutenant F. J. Ricketts, a British Army bandmaster who later became the Director of Music for the Royal Marines at Plymouth, my home town.

At that time service personnel were not encouraged to have professional lives outside the armed forces, so Ricketts published Colonel Bogey and his other compositions under the pseudonym Kenneth J Alford.

Supposedly, the tune was inspired by a military man and golfer who whistled a characteristic two-note phrase (a descending minor third interval, instead of shouting ’Fore!’. It is this descending interval that begins each line of the melody. The nameColonel Bogey began in the later 19th century as the imaginary "standard opponent" of the Colonel Bogey scoring system in golf, and by Edwardian times the Colonel had been adopted by the golfing world as the presiding spirit of the course. Edwardian golfers on both sides of the Atlantic often played matches against ’Colonel Bogey’. ’Bogey’ is now a golfing term meaning ’one over par’.

I have kept essentially to Alford’s original, but, just to spice things up a little (hopefully!), I have not only found that the main theme can fit at other places in the piece, but I also couldn’t resist the urge just to give particularly the Tenor Sax something different to play at times - and especially something which kind of links Alford with his American counterpart, Sousa, just near the end.

As before, it is basically scored as a Saxophone Quartet (Soprano - Alto - Tenor - Baritone), and is self-sufficient as such. However, for those who have a fifth player available, I had added an optional second Alto Sax part, which turns it into a Sax Quintet - the associated MP3 is of the ’quintet’ version.

Please feel free to interpret my ’take’ on the work’s original title as you like!

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