top of page

Black Sails

Jeremy Bell

Black Sails

Black Sails is a fast-paced adventure on the high seas, featuring arpeggiated figures in the woodwinds, powerful brass hits, and bombastic percussion.  Set in 6/8, the piece makes heavy use of hemiolas that continue to drive and build the energy of the piece.  Black Sails has several contrasting sections of dynamic and driving percussion punctuated by abrasive brass accents, as well as a more lyrical B section, where the melody becomes calmer and is transferred throughout the ensemble.  The brass change to a warmer sound in the B section, and the woodwinds change from an accompanimental figure to taking over the melodic theme.  The piece continues to build in intensity to very end when the whole ensemble comes together, crescendoing to the final action-packed stinger. 


During the mid-to-late 17th-century, the ongoing conflict between France, Britain, and Spain began to employ "privateers" that would attack enemy ships, looting treasures, supplies, and any exotic goods that they might be carrying.  After the conflicts between the nations were resolved, however, many of the privateers were no longer employed by the countries they used to serve.  Refusing to leave their life of piracy behind, many continued to raid and loot ships, bringing rise to what is commonly referred to as  the "Golden Age of Piracy" (roughly 1700-1730).  


It is during this time, that many pirates began to build their reputations, flying the Black Flag which became a symbol of terror upon the ocean waves.  Infamous pirates such as Edward Teach (Blackbeard), John Rackam (Calico Jack), and Captain Kidd became known for their cunning, thievery, and ruthlessness.  Black Sails brings to life the excitement and adventure of these renowned corsairs and action-packed excitement of the pirate’s life.


Black Sails is published by Grand Mesa Music for their 2019 Concert Band catalog and is also available for purchase through

bottom of page