By and by

Background and performance tips on
"By and by"

By mark braud

“By and By” is a song often heard at New Orleans jazz funerals. It is an example of how church songs infused with blues have become a staple in New Orleans music. Unlike the dirge, which is played mournfully, this hymn is often played in an up-tempo fashion as the band is leaving the cemetery after “cutting the body loose” (leaving the body at the cemetery to be buried).

At this point in the ceremony, it is time to shift from the sad and mournful reflection and instead focus on the future. “By and By” is about celebrating the deceased’s life in hopes that they have gone on to a better place.

I recommend listening to The Excelsior Brass Band’s version of “Bye and Bye” (sic.), which is available to listen to above.

This recording features strong lead trumpet played by Teddy Riley and Clive Wilson playing 2nd trumpet. The tailgate trombone style demonstrated by Lucien Barbarin and Freddie Lonzo creates an extension of the harmony supporting the tuba. Notice the soaring clarinet of Tony Mitchell, which is the typical role of the clarinet in a brass band. Bass drummer, Charles Barbarin, emphasizes the fourth beat of every other bar. This approach is often referred to as “the big four.”


Click here for the by and by score


"By and By" Parts:

Trumpet 1

Trumpet 2


Tenor Sax



Snare Drum

Bass Drum