Jean-Philippe Rameau

Les sauvages and Tambourin

For Alto and Tenor Saxophone Duo or Alto and Baritone Saxophone Duo

Jean-Philippe Rameau was a vastly influential French composer and music theorist of the 18th century. Rameau wrote many technical and artistic pieces for the harpsichord, poetic songs for the voice, and dramatic operas for the stage. Among these pieces are two personal favorites, Tambourin (1724) and Les Sauvages (1726). 

These two dance pieces come from his Pièces de Clavecin. Tambourin is part of his Suite in E minor. The tambourin was a lively French dance in duple meter. Les Sauvages was inspired by his opera Les Indes Galantes, and the Danse des Sauvages. This scene depicted natives in a ceremonious dance. The music is in stark contrast with the rather chauvinistic scene. 

After watching Jeffrey Lyman, bassoon faculty at University of Michigan, perform these on a recital I was inspired to turn Rameau’s jaunty keyboard works into a duet for saxophones. To the listener, my hope is that experiencing this lively and energetic baroque piece, through an anachronistic instrument, brings a unique sound and perspective to an otherwise conventional composition. Through this arrangement, the music of the baroque era is expressed through new voices, which challenges the ear and brings renewed excitement to Rameau’s genius writing. 

- Megan Dillon


Jean-Philippe Rameau

arr. Megan Dillon

Product Details

Title:Les sauvages and Tambourin

Instrumentation:Alto Sax Duet


Year Composed: 1731-1735

Duration: 6'

Score: 1

Parts: 3

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