Apr 12, 2012

"Easy Classics for Viola" and "Easy Classics for Cello"

Some years ago, when I was shopping for a publisher for my "Easy Classics" books, I received a favorable reply from Bill Bay at Mel Bay Publications. He was interested, but suggested a piano accompaniment, and also a version for violin. As it turns out, Bill made a very good call - Easy Classics for Violin has been by far the best-selling book in the series.

As I mentioned in a previous post, a project to produce compatible versions for viola and cello sat dormant for some years, but now has been finished. Easy Classics for Viola will be shipping to stores at the end of this month; Easy Classics for Cello will be released in May. Print music is not a huge market, and nobody is getting rich on this, but it's great to see the project completed!

A few words about the publications: There are now "Easy Classics" books for clarinet, alto sax, trumpet, flute, violin, viola, and cello (tenor sax is out of print). The arrangements are generally appropriate for second-year players. All of the books are set up to be played in any of the following ways: solo, duet, solo with piano accompaniment, duet with piano accompaniment, or mixed ensemble.

All of these books are available both as print music and as ebooks.

The clarinet, alto sax, trumpet, and flute books are in keys friendly for wind instruments, and are mutually compatible - that is, they can be played in mix-and-match combinations as duets, or in ensembles. The violin, viola, and cello books are likewise mutually compatible, and are in string-friendly keys. There are separate piano accompaniments for strings and for wind instruments.

The new viola and cello books will make it possible for string teachers to use these arrangements in string ensembles.

If one wishes to play the pieces with mixed string and wind instruments, there is a way around the "key" problem, in some cases: Concert-key, treble-clef instruments can play from the piano part, using the cue notes in the upper staff. That is, a violin can play with wind instruments by reading from the "wind" piano part, or a flute can play with strings by reading from the "string" piano part.

Thanks to all the students and colleagues who have helped develop these books, and thanks to Collin Bay at Mel Bay Publications.

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