Friday, March 1, 2024
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Book 1, 2 & 3 – Melanie Spanswick


This week marks the publication of two new books in my series for piano ensembles, or two and three pianists playing together. Snapchats Duets & Trios is published by 80 Days Publishing, a relatively new publishing house owned and founded by composer Christopher Norton and Andrew Jones.

Snapchats Book 1 was originally a small collection of short piano duets which was published a few years ago. The volume was republished and updated in 2019, with the inclusion of extra duets and piano trios. This new version has proved popular with both children and adult students and I enjoy using them in my own sight-reading classes.

Snapchats Book 1 is intended for students from late beginner standard to approximately Grade 3 level similar to that found in the various British exam board syllabuses. There are 19 duets (four hands at one keyboard) and 4 trios (six hands at one keyboard) in this volume, and they are short, succinct pieces for those who want to explore the art of ensemble playing or simply improve reading skills.

Broadly minimalist in style, these pieces are between 8 and 16 bars in length, are mainly lyrical and offer a wide selection of moods from expressive atmospheric works such as Sutra, Andante, Shanti Shanti and Joyful, to up-beat numbers like Quick Chat, Hopscotch, Samsara and Take Three.

Students and teachers routinely comment on how much they enjoy the brevity and relative simplicity found in these pieces.

Both duets and trios become progressively more complex throughout the book. Celebration (one of the simpler duets) is featured in the Debut grade of the RSL Classical Piano syllabus.

Click the link below to hear a performance of Joyful, a piano trio from Book 1, played by 54 piano teachers on 18 pianos, which was recorded at Cristofori in Singapore during my trip in 2023:

You can hear all the pieces in Book 1, played and recorded by composer Christopher Norton, here.

Snapchats Book 2, published this week, contains 10 duets and 2 trios. These pieces, which begin from 12-bars in length, are late elementary to intermediate level, or around Grade 2 – 4 standard. The pieces are varied in style including slower numbers like Out There, The Grand Archway and Á La Satie to more up-tempo works, Follow My Leader and Carnival, as well as the jazz-inspired Boogie For Two and Sticky Toffee Blues.

Snapchats Book 3, also new to the market, contains 6 duets and 2 trios. Intended for intermediate to early advanced level players, or between Grade 4 – 6 standard, they are substantially more lengthy than those found in Book 1 and 2, yet stylistically still offer plenty of choice, with upbeat and slower numbers, as well as Boomerang Blues, for those who need their jazz kick!

Hear a selection of duets from Book 2 and 3, played by myself and my student, Becky Flisher, by clicking on the playlist link below:

You might like to play Snapchats for fun with friends, use them as sight-reading material in a piano class or on a piano course, or perform them in a more formal setting at a music festival or recital. My hope is that they offer a special and enjoyable experience wherever and with whoever you choose to play them.

You can find out more and purchase the books by clicking on the following links:

Snapchats Book 1

Snapchats Book 2

Snapchats Book 3


Publications

Melanie Spanswick has written and published a wide range of courses, anthologies, examination syllabuses, and text books, including Play it again: PIANO (published by Schott Music). This best-selling graded, progressive piano course contains a large selection of repertoire featuring a huge array of styles and genres, with copious practice tips and suggestions for every piece.

For more information, please visit the publications page, here.


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