This new collection, No Words Necessary, marks my debut as a Schott Music composer, and it consists of a selection of twelve piano pieces for intermediate level, or for students of approximately Grades 3 – 6 standard of the ABRSM, Trinity College London or London College of Music exams.
I wrote the pieces earlier this year during my stay in Hong Kong, working as an adjudicator for the Hong Kong Schools Music Festival. Adjudicating is a demanding job, but I frequently enjoyed unusually long lunch breaks, so had some time to compose. Adjudicating sessions often took place in splendid theatres with lovely well-tuned grand pianos, so I decided to put this time to good use. Within a few weeks I had written all twelve, albeit scribbled on manuscript paper as opposed to my usual method, using my Sibelius software.
The pieces are characteristically tonal, with a nod to Minimalism. The title, No Words Necessary, was inspired by German poet and writer Heinrich Heine (1797 – 1856):
‘Where words leave off, music speaks’
Each work is intended to evoke thoughts, emotions or images in the mind. Many are reflective in character, with melodious tunes and poignant harmonies, but there are also more energetic, lively pieces too, for those who want to get their fingers moving. When composing for students, my aim is to write in a tuneful, expressive style, which I hope resonates with pianists of all ages, levels and abilities; these works are equally suited to younger or more mature players. Each one is comfortable to learn and rarely employs large chords or overly elaborate passagework, and they are intended as concert or festival pieces, examination pieces or simply to learn and play for pleasure. Indeed, several of these works have been used in the London College of Music Exam Syllabus (2021 – 2024) and the International Performing and Visual Arts Examination Board (2020 – 2023).
The titles are as follows:
- Lost in Thought
- Voices in My Head
- Phantom Whisperer
- Dancing Through the Daffodils
- Walking in the Woods
- China Doll
- Tinged with Sadness
Recorded at Moreton Hall School in Shropshire, and at Jaques Samuel pianos in London at the beginning of August, you can hear each piece by clicking on the links below. The book can be purchased as a hard copy or digital download (either the complete book or each piece separately), here: No Words Necessary.
‘These are pieces which I believe could easily find their place in the intermediate player’s heart, combining easy-to-master patterns, melodic charm, and simple structural cohesion. They give players a vehicle through which to develop expressive, engaged playing. And with plenty of variety on offer, too, the collection offers good value. If you’re looking for a fresh collection of accessible contemporary pieces, do give this a try! Warmly Recommended.’
Pianodao Blog (December 2018)
‘Beautiful, imaginative and appealing music. Each piece has a title which will provoke discussion, enable interpretation and stimulate the imagination. There is much to delight the teenage minimalism-loving intermediate pianist (and their teachers) here.’
Music Teacher Magazine (January 2019)
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.