Introducing my new project: Instant Folk Band!

Here's a brand new project for me, that expands on my instrumental harmonies and enters the realm of vocal music and folk band arrangements.

With the Instant Folk Band project I take traditional songs, and I write vocal harmonies, instrumental accompaniment parts, instrumental solos, riffs, middle 8s and all those sorts of things.

The sheet music contains all these different parts to use as building blocks to make a band arrangement with all kinds of musical groups - you can follow my example form scheme, or you can swap instruments and verses and riffs and harmonies around however you like.

I'm not a singer (which is why up until now I've mostly recorded and arranged instrumental music), so I'm very happy to have my friend Anna Collins recording guest vocals for me.

If you're an instrumentalist who doesn't know any singers, but are used to using my instrumental arrangements, fear not - you can play the vocal melodies on instruments if you prefer.

Or, if it's the other way round and you're a singer (or instrumentalist) who doesn't know any intrumentalists to play with, I also provide my demo recordings without the vocal part, so you can use them as backing tracks.

The first song I've arranged is 'The Water is Wide', one of my favourites. You can hear the recording and get the download here.

Bonus String Quartet Scores Added!

During last year, two people who bought some of my trio collections asked if it was possible to have them re-arranged for string quartet - so I added cello parts and made the necessary adjustments to turn violin 3 into viola parts. 

I haven't made new recordings of the string quartet versions (yet!) but I have now added string quartet scores to two multipacks that were previously only available for trio. These new bonus scores have been added to Fiddle Multipack 3 and to my Oldtime String Trio pack. If you've bought either of these in the past and would like me to send you the string quartet scores, just drop me a line.

And similarly, if you've got a string quartet and want some of my existing trio music adapting in the same way, please do let me know, as I am hoping to add these bonus scores to my other arrangements too.

Kachemak Quartets - String Quartet Companion Pieces for Kachemak Preludes

As a companion collection for the Kachemak Preludes (beginner pieces commissioned by Paul Banks Elementary in Alaska), I've written some string quartets based on the same material but extended into fully-fledged pieces. These were a commission too - working things out with violin teacher Linda Reinhart, we came up with the idea that players who were learning the beginner pieces could hear the extended, advanced pieces and listen out for the bits that sound the same as the things they're playing themselves. This not only works as a listening exercise, but also puts beginner players into the context of being part of a larger learning curve and feel included - hearing advanced players playing the same notes as them and being part of something bigger should hopefully be inspiring.

Each Quartet has an equivalent among the Preludes. In a larger community or school concert, the Preludes and Quartets could be alternated, with the beginner players introducing the thematic material with their pieces, interspersed with the corresponding Quartet from a group of advanced players. 

The Quartets (and indeed the Preludes) also work as standalone collections of pieces in their own right, but as they go together in this way, they can be used as a way to bring players of very diverse ability together to play, which I think is an important part of learning an instrument.

The Kachemak Quartets are available here, and the Preludes are here.

Each download includes scores and recordings, and you can listen to the full pieces online before downloading.

Kachemak Preludes - Beginner Pieces for Violin or String Group

The Kachemak Preludes is a new collection of five pieces for absolute beginner violinists. It was commissioned by a brand new violin learning group at the Paul Banks Elementary School in Homer, Alaska, which is called 'Preludes'. The pieces are geared towards everyone being able to join in and play harmonies together, whatever their ability. There is a basic, simple violin melody for each piece, as well as extra parts: one that just uses open strings, so people who are just starting on the violin can join in, and an advanced part for the teacher to add over the top, which makes the music sound more interesting, makes the students feel part of something bigger than just the simple melodies they're playing, and hopefully inspires them in terms of how they might sound if they do enough practise!

As the Preludes students are to go on to join larger string groups, with some of them taking up other stringed instruments after a year of so, there are several more parts for viola, cello and double bass included in the collection as well. You can hear how it all sounds in the player below, and the collection is available for download here.

New Originals - Available as Harmony Collection or Tune Book

I've just completed my first set of ten pieces that are exclusively my own compositions - they're arranged for string quartet, trio or duo. The harmony multipack is available here.

As well as the harmony version, this collection is also available as a tune book - just a set of melodies, with the chords, for a reduced price. You can get the tune book version here.