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Song Without Words

Dave McGarry arr. Nigel Wood


Sheet Music

PDF E-Edition:





Bb Sax & Piano




From the composer: “Song Without Words” is what the title says, i.e. a song without words. When I began to compose this piece I had intended to write a song with lyrics that could possibly be thought of as a “pop” song and, as such, thought that it would be a love song as so many are. However, when I arrived at what could be called “the bridge” it became apparent that this was not going to be an ordinary “pop” – type song as the metre started to change (not that this is unusual, but then again, it’s not ordinary either). The “sighing” phrases of the bridge section led me to write an even more “romantic chorus”. I began to think that almost any old hackneyed lyrics would do to complete the song but then thought “well, if they’re that obvious there’s no need to have any!” – hence the title.

I am sure that the reason for the title is as unoriginal as anybody else’s “Song Without Words” but it is a genuine reason and it leaves scope for any lyricist (should they feel inspired to do so) to write something ‘un-hackneyed’, complementary and more appropriate than I would have done.

The E-Edition PDF bundle includes a Bb saxophone part and piano accompaniment.

“Song Without Words” is included in the following exam syllabus:

TCL Saxophone – Grade 5 (Bb only) – valid from November 2022

Please check the latest exam syllabi for updates and amendments.

“Song Without Words” is also available in hard-copy from June Emerson Wind Music.


A lovely, romantic tune – the composer had intended to write a song with lyrics but in the end felt words to be superfluous – a brilliant decision as the vocal-like qualities of the convey his feelings far more instantaneously than words ever could. (Grade 5)
Music News, Wood Wind & Reed, May 2002

Many of you will know Dave McGarry for his lovely work Dreams of You. This is a straightforward ballad around grade five standard although the altissimo ossia sections would make the work considerably harder. It has a bluesy feel to it and would appeal to many saxophone students. The piano part would be playable by many teachers (not me though!) and the piece would make a nice stepping stone to the more difficult Dreams of You.
Gerard McChrystal – Clarinet & Saxophone Magazine, Summer 2006

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