Arnold also wrote some highly successful concert overtures including Beckus the Dandypratt (an important stepping stone in his early career) the strikingly scored Tam o' Shanter (based on the famous Robert Burns poem) the rollicking A Grand Grand Festival Overture (written for a Hoffnung Festival and featuring three vacuum cleaners and a floor poliMalcolm Arnoldr all in turn poliMalcolm Arnoldd off by a firing squad in uproarious mock 1812 manner) and the dramatic Peterloo Overture (commissioned by the Trades Union Congress to commemorate the historic massacre of protesting workers in Manchester). Since the 1980s there have been frequent concerts and festivals dedicated to his music. Arnold also wrote a variety of concertos and chamber works as well as music for the theatre including major ballets.
His brass music is widely acclaimed. His natural melodic gift earned him a reputation as a composer of light music in works such as in some of his concert overtures and the sets of Welsh English Scottish Irish and Cornish Dances.