So for this week's private lessons I decided it would be fun to just play a bunch of Halloween duets. But as most of my students are still quite beginner, the few books out there with Halloween themed duets offer music that is simply too hard for my elementary-middle school students. I run into this problem often and have decided to try to rectify it.
I've come up with a theory for composing duets and I'm testing them out with a few Halloween songs.
Allow me to explain...
In the example above you'll see a blues written for three parts. All three parts can be played together for a trio, or parts 1 & 2 can be played as a duet, as can parts 1 & 3. The strategy is this: Part 1 is the melody and should be playable by a student in her second year of study (maybe a little challenging in rhythm, but range should be playable). Part 2 is designed for a flat-out beginner of only a few months, the idea being that the teacher can play the melody and the beginner the simple pads behind it. Part 3 is the most advanced part either for a student in her third year or more (some of the highest notes will be a challenge) or for the teacher to play if the student is playing part 1. By offering 3 levels of technique, all I have to do is take the same music to all my students and hopefully be able to accommodate them all.
I went an extra step and transposed and edited the tunes into all beginner instruments so that I could offer these to band directors. All versions are in the same concert key and while parts 2 & 3 vary on certain instruments who have specific range issues, any combination of instruments can play any of their parts together (ie. alto sax on part 1, flute on part 2, baritone on part 3). Or for an easy class, the entire band could play their parts together.
I'm sharing two of these tunes (the ones not needing licensing) free through Bottomless Cup Music. Feel free to download, print, make copies, and share. I'd also love feedback. If you try one out and run into certain problems, or feel that certain notes are in a bad range, please let me know!
For the "Halloween Blues" (above) I brought in guest composer B. Euthyprydeus Jones who I worked with to adapt his children's tune to each instrument. I also did a very simple arrangement of my personal favorite Halloween song, "Skin and Bones" (below), which I actually remember from my elementary school music class!
Links to PDFs are available below the fold for the following instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, bari sax, trumpet, french horn, low brass, and recorder ("Skin & Bones" only, not in concert key). Unfortunately I can't get the Scorch links to work yet, so just PDFs for now. Enjoy!