For music that sends chills down your spine, look no further! Here are four spooky picks for early levels. Each piece is only one page, ideal for a special, themed performance.
Hauntingly beautiful with catchy rhythms and harmonic twists and turns, your students will play these frightfully well! The titles are irresistible, too: Haunted Music Box, Orange Cat Black Cat, Gargoyle’s Night Out and Black Light.
If you or your students don’t ‘do’ Hallowe’en, no sweat. These pieces aren’t about Hallowe’en specifically, they only hint at creepy thoughts and images.
Note: I have designed this blog post so that you can listen to the YouTube performances and read the music at the same time.
Pick #1 Haunted Music Box — Level 2
A piece of exquisite beauty, Haunted Music Box is written for the piano’s highest range.
- What makes it easy: Hands take turns playing the music of interest and simply holding notes.
- The challenge: Playing expressively within the soft dynamic range.
- What makes it beautiful: As the harmonies take unexpected turns, the music surprises and always sounds fresh.
Haunted Music Box is available as a single use eSheet or as part of the piano collection Rock That Train (print or eBook click here).
Pick #2 Orange Cat, Black Cat — Level 2
Written to the rhythm of a poem about every kind of irresistible cat (or cat phrase) I could think of, Orange Cat, Black Cat is a playful piece in e minor.
- What makes it easy: Much of the music repeats.
- The challenge: Shaping the two-note slurs to sound ‘more’ on the first note and ‘less’ on the second while playing hands together.
- What makes it spooky: Minor second (semitone/half step) intervals that highlight the e minor harmonic scale and chromatic passages.
Orange Cat, Black Cat is available as part of the Red Leaf Pianoworks Anthology, Volume I, Sprouts (click here).
Pick #3 Gargoyle’s Night Out — Level 3
Mostly in the piano’s low register, Gargoyle’s Night Out is about a little stone creature escaping his rooftop for a night on the town. What do you think he’s doing in the B section waltz?
- What makes it easy: The rhythm is easy to learn. Measures repeat.
- The challenge: The piece has fun, creepy intervals that can be challenging to learn at first. But it’s worth it!
- What makes it creepy: Emphasized accents, the driving beat and in the B section, the chromatic melody.
Gargoyle’s Night Out is available as part of the Red Leaf Pianoworks Anthology, Volume II, Saplings (click here).
Pick #4 Black Light — Level 4
With delicate dissonances and harmonic twists and turns, Black Light is a journey like the wind in the night. It ends up far from whence it came.
- What makes it easy: The rhythm is straightforward and follows a pattern. Even at level 4, you could teach the tricky parts by rote.
- The challenge: As a kid I found accidentals daunting to read, so I’ll pick that as the challenge. Also, being fluent and expressive.
- What makes it creepy: The dissonances and the fact that you never know what’s going to happen next. The unknown is a bit creepy.
Black Light is available as a single use eSheet or as part of the piano collection part of The Color Collection (click here).
If you want this music, there are several easy ways to get it!
Haunted Music box in the print collection Rock That Train, click here.
Black Light in the print collection The Color Collection, click here.
Orange Cat, Black in Sprouts and Gargoyle’s Night Out in Saplings, (click here).
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