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Mary Poppins

  1. Piccolo, flute, alto recorder
  2. Oboe, English horn, chromatic harmonica
  3. E-flat clarinet, clarinet, bass clarinet


  1. Updated per information received from Andrew Sparling

  2. Updated per information received from Geoffrey Castles

  3. Bob Quaile says:

    Does anyone know if the chromatic harmonica on Mary Poppins is pitched in “C” or “G”?

    • Susan B says:

      Hi Bob,
      It is for chromatic Harmonica in C. I did the oboe part for the Australian production in 2010, the harmonica is only in 3 songs and I really learnt by writing the number of the holes on the music!!

      • Gerrit Bon says:

        Dear Susan,
        This is from Gerrit Bon, formerly principal cor anglais in the MSO. I am booked to play Reed 2 in Mary Poppins in June, and, I would greatly appreciate your advice re how about best to go about becoming proficient (enough) on the Harmonica. Did you have some help from a well-schooled player? David Piper has indicated that there is very little to play, but it has to be there. You indicate that it is for chromatic harmonica in C. Since this is probably the only time I’ll ever play it, I am not looking for the equivalent of a Marigaux or Rigoutat 🙂 Any tips on what I should buy would also be appreciated. Thank you for your time. Kind regards, Gerrit

        • Jessica A says:

          Responding for future Book 2 players: A basic, 12-hole chromatic harmonica should be efficient enough for local theater performances of Poppins.

          I purchased an East Top Forerunner chromatic harmonica for the show. It has a great feel, decent sound, and is at an excellent price point. The only thing I’ve found to complain about is that this particular harmonica seems easy to overblow while trying to project. It could very well be a user error on my part. Either way, we don’t have to make reeds for the harmonica too 😁! YAY!

  4. Nicole says:

    Does anybody know how much Eb clarinet is in the Reed 2 part?

  5. Nicole says:

    Oops, reed 3 I mean

  6. Jim says:

    Hi Nicole,

    Eb Clarinet is used in the following numbers:
    #6. Jolly Holiday (200-End)
    #8. Spoonful of Sugar (entire number)
    #10. Precision & Order (27-50)
    #11B. Choosing the Letters (entire number)
    #16. Brimstone & Treacle Part 1 (129-End)
    #16a. Run Away (entire number)
    #20. Step In Time (25-66, 297-End)
    #20A. Down the Chimney (74-End)
    #21A. King of the Sea (entire number)

    Bass Clarinet:
    #2. Cherry Tree Lane (117B-End, 2 measures)
    #6. Jolly Holiday (35-92) (RANGE NOTE: Low D in 77, 79 grace note set)
    #13. Playing the Game (1-92)
    #14. Chim Chiminey (96-112)
    #16. Brimstone & Treacle Part 1 (1-114)
    #18. Good for Nothing (entire number)
    #19. Brimstone & Treacle Part 2 (1-9, 132-149)
    #24. Anything Can Happen (1-90) (RANGE NOTE: Low E-flat in 2, 4)

    Since a low D and E-flat are each used only twice, respectively, in the show, I don’t see a low C extension as being necessary.

    • Richard Krishnan says:

      Jim, is there a chance you know the range on the E-flat parts?

      • Keith Leung says:

        Hey Richard,

        I’m playing the show in Berkeley. The part I have goes up to high F (Bflat if you’re trying to transpose to Bflat clarinet) in one song only. There are two other songs that go up to high E or high D flat.

  7. Jim says:


    Bass Clarinet:
    #16. Brimstone & Treacle Part 1 (1-114) (RANGE NOTE: Low C sharp and C natural from 93-108)

  8. Nicole says:

    Thanks very much, Jim, that’s really helpful! 🙂

  9. Terry says:

    A couple of things; when I played the oboe book two summers ago, we just played the harmonica parts on oboe (it only happens a few times and it’s a simple melody line), but I saw someone mention once (on a FB page) that they did it on melodica (what a great idea!).

    My main question is: has anyone played the Alternate orchestration offered by MTI? It looks quite reduced and only has two reed books; does anyone know what they call for? (MTI doesn’t list anything). Thanks!

    • Frank Mazzeo says:

      Hi Terry,
      I played both orchestrations in the period of about 2 months this past winter. The alternate orchestration is for 2 reeds. In the alternate orchestration the Reed I book is for Flute and Piccolo. The Reed II calls for Bb clarinet, Eb clarinet and bass clarinet. The alternate orchestration loses the Alto recorder (played on flute), the oboe, English horn and harmonica. Most of the oboe/English horn/ harmonica solos are divided between flute (10%) and clarinet(90%). I found it interesting that during the original orchestration all of the “workloads” were evenly distributed between all 3 Reed books. In the alternate orchestration when it was much busier in the Reed II clarinet book. At one point when I was on page 56 the Reed II player was on page 84!

  10. Amanda says:

    Ill be playing the clarinet parts this summer and the score says eflat but doesn’t specify if it is soprano or alto eflat. By the sound of spoonful of sugar I’m guessing it is soprano but could someone clarify for me? Thanks!!

  11. Anne says:

    I am currently playing this show in California–Reed 3, alternate orchestration. In my opinion the orchestration of this show is not very skillfully done. The Eb Sop clarinet is very often in unison with the piccolo–and many of the bass clarinet ranges seem just plain wrong–very high and with quick changes that seem to make no sense whatsoever. There are a lot of unison parts in general, not only with the other woodwinds but with the brass as well. Anyone else have an opinion on this?

    • Jim says:

      My friend, also a woodwind doubler, and I have talked about it. You’re definitely not alone. Personally, I actually like the orchestration and thought this musical was one of the more interesting/fun ones to play as a clarinet player. You do feel on pins and needles with those unisons (the picc. player and I would have little celebrations when we successfully locked, along with clarinet/oboe). I also like the higher range bass clarinet color. The switching was definitely the least fun part. The latest rental of Les Mis opens up with high range clarinet whole notes. I didn’t catch whether it was the same arranger, but the font or typeface for both books is the same.

  12. Courtney says:

    I’ll be playing this on flute/picc with my high school this March. How’s the recorder part? what songs have recorder? Is it a difficult transition from flute? How are the fingerings different? I played a little recorder in primary school, just like everyone else, but I don’t know how the part is.

    • Luke Mankovich says:

      I had a friend play this show, so I don’t know which number it was in, but I believe it is only in one number. The alto recorder is keyed in F but written at concert pitch, so the fingerings are more similar to a clarinet’s lower register than flute fingerings, for example, three fingers down is C. My friend just played the recorder part on flute as written, however, if you could get an alto recorder it’s best to play it on the instrument called for. I’d recommend the Aulos plastic alto recorder. They have a nice woody sound for a plastic instrument, and come with a fingering chart that should help with the different set of fingerings. I believe you can order them from the Susato website.

  13. Matt says:

    Does anyone know the ranges of the reed 2 book? My friend or I may possibly transposing the oboe and english horn parts for Bb clarinet, is this possible?

    • Tom Kmiecik says:

      This should be possible. The lowest note on the EH is B below the staff (concert E), so English horn parts will always fit in the clarinet’s range. I think the highest note on the oboe was an F in this show, so it would put it to altissimo G for Bb clarinet if you transposed it.

  14. Anthony Minstein says:

    I just completed a four week run on Reed 3. The Eb clarinet is used primarily for color…and in my opinion, does add to the flavor of the show…adding ethereal sounds to the “magic” of the show.

    Writing a piccolo and piccolo clarinet in unison is a normal convention, used by many orchestrators including Berlioz and Stravinsky. Though playing high F at ppp in unison with a piccolo is not especially easy.

    BTW: The alto recorder on Reed 1 is two bars without adding much to the music and can easily be played on flute.

    • Michelle Scheen says:

      4 measures of Recorder in song 7.
      What doublers would need to play to
      Get that doubler fee. Lol

  15. Dan says:

    Jim- Mary Poppins was orchestrated by the late Bill Brohn, The new Les Mis 14 piece was orchestrated by Chris Jahnke, who happens to be Bill’s protege.

    Lots of these more classical shows with 3 reeds tend to not have a bassoon in reed 3. Bass Clarinet is substituted?

  16. Justin says:

    Say one person is to be given all 3 reed books (not sure why the reduced scoring isn’t being used in this case). For those who have experience playing the show, any advice or suggestions? Should the focus be on one book? Would any of the potential 9 instruments not be used? Asking for a “friend” of course…

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