Child’s Play, eight dodecaphonic piano works (solos, duets, one trio)

Mx Margaret Dylan Jones
Beginner/Early Intermediate
30 min

The composer took delight in finding unexpected melodic shapes and novel chords, stretching the technique in unusual ways to produce great variety. Most listeners would not recognise that the same tone row is used in almost every piece (only Clouds has a derivative row).

The pieces cover a range of levels from pre-initial to about grade 6 or 7, and include a trio where a novice can sit at the piano between experienced students and play a previously-learnt solo which fits into a new piece.

Though the dodecaphonic technique has been the basis of an enormous amount of music composed since the 1920s there are few other sets of educational 12-tone pieces.

The Greedy Row Snake from Child’s Play has sold over 23,000 copies since it was published by the AMEB and Allans Music in the Series 12 Pianoforte Grade One exam book in the 1990s. This little piece was played by many thousands of Australian students when it was in the exam syllabus.

Several pieces from Child’s Play are published by Currency Press in Australian Piano Music volumes 1, 2 & 4, edited by Sally Mays. Volume 1 is in the AMEB’s piano syllabus for preliminary and second grades but The Greedy Row Snake
dropped out of the exam list some years ago.

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