Piano Duets are amongst the most enjoyable of all chamber music, both for performers and listeners. All pianists, irrespective of standard, can benefit from getting together with a fellow player for some piano fun. They can also be very educational, because they are an excellent method of practising sight-reading. Reading will become so much quicker as pianists learn to keep the pulse (crucial in sight-reading), as hesitation is not an option when working with other musicians. They also provide the perfect opportunity to create music with another person as opposed to playing alone, which in itself encourages players to listen and become more aware of their own playing.
Advanced players are able to explore some of the most beautiful music ever written for four hands, but less experienced players are not so fortunate, as pertinent and interesting material is more difficult to find.
Delightfully Easy Piano Duets certainly fill a gap in this market. Intended for absolute beginners, they are written by Rosamund Conrad, a piano teacher and music educator, who also noticed this apparent lack of suitable material for her students to play. Book 1 consists of ‘Eight piano duets in the five-finger position for beginners and intermediate players’. ‘Beginner’s parts can be played with both hands or just one’ advises Rosa. This will be of benefit to many very young players as well as more mature learners who are just getting to grips with reading notes and combining two hands.
The Primo part (or top part) caters for the real beginners (or pupils) and the Secondo (or bass parts) are for teachers or slightly more advanced pianists. To this end they are very effective. After all, teachers often want to test students on reading ability in lessons as well as encourage them to have fun and enjoy music making. The Primo part bears the instruction to be played either one or two octaves higher, and each piece assumes a different character; from Pentatonic 3 (which must be swung) and Tempest to Breeze and Saloon Bar Blues. These bright, tuneful works will no doubt capture the young beginner’s imagination whilst supporting constant progress.
The top part is generally in unison which makes for swifter reading, and bass parts consist of Alberti Bass figurations and chordal progressions, impressively swelling the sound. Rosa’s duet quest is ‘To inspire confidence in playing and reading music and to be enjoyed’ and she has successfully fulfilled this criteria.
You can find out more information and where to buy this book here.
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.