Dancing on the Fingerboard

[October 15, 2021]

The first eight pieces in this set use guiding fingers to help shift between first and third position. “Cloud Nine,” introduces harmonics in order to remind the hand and arm of the physical distance from first to fourth position. “Second Hand,” and “What’s on Second” explore second position, and “Who’s on Third?” incorporates third, and re-introduces the harmonic. “Fourth Dimension,” “Can I Have a Little More,” and “Second Chance,” use the first four positions.

“Fifth Business I” and “Fifth Business II,” marked “Serioso” and “Scherzando,” introduce fifth position. The titles refer to the Robertson Davies novel with the same name, and the character (tempo) markings suggest masks of tragedy and comedy. “Sixth Sense” and “Six degrees of Separation” introduce sixth position and a little bit of half position. “At Sixes and Sevens,” is a transposed version of “Six of One,” the first piece in “Half a Dozen of the Other.” It introduces seventh position, and is ironically calm in character.

You can find the music on this page of the IMSLP.

Evolution for high or medium voice with harp or piano

[October 1, 2021]

The music is available on this page of the IMSLP, and the text comes from Alice Duer Miller's 1915 Are Women People?
It is my hope that other composers will set some of the verses in this book (it has the subtitle "A book of rhymes for suffrage times") and will make their songs available in the IMSLP. Then we might have a whole collection.

Half a Dozen of the Other: Six Studies for Solo Viola (or cello)

[September 9, 2021]

The pieces in this set of solo viola studies are in the more "unusual" keys of F-sharp major, G-flat major, B major, F minor, C-sharp minor (and major), and G-sharp minor. You can find the music on this page of the IMSLP.

UPDATE: Now for cello, on the same page of the IMSLP.

Two Places in Illinois

[August 14, 2020]
You can listen here:

Evening in Paris
Coles County August

Here's "Evening in Paris" with images of Paris, Illinois from the 19th and 20th centuries:

And here's "Coles County August" with images of Coles County in August in the 21st century:

You can find the music here, and on this page of the IMSLP.

Quo Vadis for Euphonium and Woodwind Quintet

May 17, 2020

I wrote these pieces for Travis Scott during the first few months of 2020. Each movement is a musical portrait of royal person from history who was either a musician or a patron.

I. Nero
II. Gesualdo
III. Ludwig II of Bavaria (known as "Mad King Ludwig)

You can find the score and parts on this page of the IMSLP

Many thanks to Ben Leddy for the cover art!

"My House, I Say" for Tenor and Piano

My setting of Robert Louis Stevenson's poem "My House, I Say" is included in volume two of the collection of songs for Tenor and Piano in Modern Music for New Singers: 21st Century American Art Songs, a new anthology of music for young singers published by North Star Music.

Transcription: Haydn Fugue Hob. XIX: 16 for String Orchestra

The score and parts are available on this page of the IMSLP.

I'm very pleased with the way that our Charleston Summer Strings orchestra played it.

Arrangements: Elgar Salut d'Amour for Piano Quartet and for Viola and Piano

This is available from the Johnson Music Company. You can find an arrangement of the same piece for piano quintet here.

There is also an International edition of my transcription for viola and piano (they asked me to do all three). You can find it on this page.

Transcription: Florence Price's Adoration for Solo Violin and Orchestra

May 21, 2021

The score and parts are on this page of the IMSLP. You can listen to a computer-generated recording here.

There are so many options for orchestration! My "organ stops" are solo violin, double woodwinds, two horns, and strings.

Weights and Measures for two violas and for two violins (or violin and another melody instrument)

[May 2, 2021]
[May 3, 2021]

These have the same scale-based parts for the upper voice as "Weights and Measures" for solo recorder, but the articulations and dynamics here are more suited to strings.

The second voice in the first (above) version is a dedicated violin part, which could also be played on the viola (as a violin and viola duet, or as a recorder--or flute and violin or viola duet), and the version for two violas is set a fifth lower, with both parts in the alto clef. The second voice in the two-viola version can be paired with the solo alto recorder version of the original. Everything can be mixed and matched.

Single-page (for tablet use) and duplex (for double-sided printing) PDFs are available on this page of the IMSLP.

Looking Glass Duo for Viola and Euphonium (or Cello)

[April 15, 2021]

You can find the music on this page of the IMSLP, and you can listen to a computer-generated recording here.

Transcription: Tchaikovsky November Troika, October Autumn Song, and April Snowdrops (from The Seasons) for Three Violas

March 20, 2021

March 21, 2021

March 23, 2021

You can find the score and parts for November here, the score and parts for April here, and the score and parts for October here. The arrangements will eventually reside on this page of the IMSLP.

You can listen to them as a suite (April, October, November) here.


March 11, 2021

You can find the music on this page of the IMSLP.

The Gift of the Condor

This is a new orchestral piece for an audience of children (of all ages) that uses one-on-a-part winds and brass (all with solos), percussion, strings, and a narrator. The protagonist in the story is a solo child violinist (of any age). The voices of the animal characters, some that have rhythmic notation, can come from within the ensemble.

The total performance time is 22 minutes.

The score, parts, and script are available on this page of the IMSLP.

Robin and I were inspired to write this because the animals in "Peter and the Wolf" and the "Carnival of the Animals," pieces that we have played at children's concerts for half a century do not resonate as well with twenty-first-century children as they did with children of previous centuries. We felt that the menagerie needed a twenty-first-century update.

Here is the list of animals represented, along with the instruments and instrumental combinations that represent them:
Bunny (featuring the xylophone)
Condor (featuring the bass clarinet, the viola, and the timpani)
Dog (featuring the trumpet)
Dragon (featuring a brass quartet)
Raccoon (featuring a woodwind trio)
Squirrels (featuring the strings)
Crocodile (featuring the snare drum and the trombone)
Snakes (featuring strings, trumpet, and woodwinds)
Unicorn (featuring the French Horn, of course)
Camel (featuring the flute and the English Horn)
Whale (featuring the tuba)
Teddy Bear (featuring the strings)
Olivia/Oliver, the solo child violinist, engages in musical dialogue with all of these animals. The technical demands of the Olivia/Oliver part are minimal: the part could be played by a confident young violinist who has been playing for two or three years and likes to do a little acting. The story includes riddles, and can involve the work of a "quick drawing" visual artist as well as imaginative drawings by kids in the audience. There are many possibilities for engaging and interactive performances.

The themes involved are curiosity, imagination, and engagement. You can listen to a midi recording here.

Also, for people interested in putting together a socially-distanced video production, I have "minus one" files (computer-generated files minus one part) for all of the instruments of the orchestra. Please contact me if you are interested (elainefine @ gmail), and I can send you a link to the place online that they reside.

A Tunes: Capricious Pieces for Beginner Violinists

[From the back cover]
Incorporating skills taught in many popular violin methods, these tuneful solo pieces offer a fresh alternative for teachers who would like a stimulating supplement to their usual method. These entertaining and whimsical compositions reinforce and develop violin skills through repetition disguised as lyrical musical phrases. They strengthen the left hand, exercise the fourth finger, and use rests in musically compelling ways that keep the student attentive.

They also present mixed meter and double-stops, and offer a practical introduction to musical form and phrase structure. Slurs and dynamics are incorporated immediately, along with right-hand pizzicato on stopped strings and left-hand pizzicato on all open strings. These pieces are written specifically to encourage interpretive creativity, even at the most elementary levels. As twenty-first-century pieces for solo violin, they are meant to be performed as well as studied.
I wrote these pieces to isolate and address specific right-hand and left-hand difficulties that my students have encountered while working through the first three Suzuki books. The progress my students have made while working on these pieces has suprised even me. Up until this point only a few of my friends have enjoyed using them in their teaching, and now that it is being released by Mel Bay "A Tunes" can be used by everyone. The book can be ordered (it's very reasonably priced at $12.99) via the Mel Bay Website.

As a introduction, here's a video of Linnaea Brophy playing "The Big Dipper."

You can find videos of Linnaea playing all twenty pieces on this playlist.

Weights and Measures: Scale Melodies for Recorder (and other instruments)

Twenty-four one-page scale studies in all of the major and minor keys, in versions for soprano recorder (c fingerings) and alto recorder (f fingerings). They can also be played on just about any melody instrument.

I also made transcriptions of the recorder version for viola and for bass clef instruments of every stripe (the lowest pitch is F).

You can listen to performances of some of these here.

The music for this set of scale pieces is available on this page of the IMSLP.

May 2021 UPDATE: I have set these pieces as duets (recorder and violin)! You can find them through the IMSLP link, or through this post.

Arrangement: Shchedryk (Ukrainian bell carol) for solo violin, solo viola, or solo cello

"Shchedryk" is Ukrainian for "Bountiful Evening." This traditional New Year's Eve song is about a sparrow who flies into a household and brings news of a good year to follow.

The Wikipedia article about Shchedryk has a lot of interesting information.

You can find these arrangements of Mykola Leontovych's continuation of the opening four-note motive of the traditional melody set for solo violin, solo viola, or solo cello here now, or later on this page of the IMSLP.

Hindsight for Clarinet and String Quartet (A New Year's Greeting for 2021)

You can listen here, and you can find the music on this page of the IMSLP.

And now there is a transcription for clarinet and four violas on the same page of the IMSLP.

[October 5, 2021]
You can also find it here.

Dreidel Fantasy for solo cello or solo viola

You can listen to a cello performance here, and find a PDF file, as well as a version for solo violin on this page of the IMSLP.

Pierrot spends a little while in the twilight

You can listen to a computer-generated recording with computer-generated baritone here, and download a PDF from this page of the IMSLP.

UPDATE: I made a transcription for soprano or tenor with violin, and one for soprano and clarinet that you will find on the same page of the IMSLP.

I'm Staying Home for Christmas

I came across this photograph the other day. The tune is obviously not "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and the syllables don't even match the rhythms. However, if you ignore the left-hand harmony, the tune sounds like a second theme of a song I may have heard before.

It started bothering me. The tune fragment kept running through my head with the words, "I'm staying home this Christmas," so I had to use it in a brand-new Christmas song addressing the stamp issue and the current Christmas season. You will find the tune on the stamp at the half-way point of the song. The "original" is in F major, and this song is a whole-step lower, in the key of E-flat major.

You can find a PDF on this page of the IMSLP.

Here's recording by Susan Nelson!

(Thank you, Susan.)

Fanfare for Orchestra

This orchestration of Introit a 4 is scored for full orchestra with two sets of timpani. You can listen to a computer-generated recording of it here. The music is available here (from Subito).

Transcription: The Swing and Foreign Lands from "A Cellist's Garden of Verses" for solo oboe or solo flute

UPDATE: The flute version has been expanded to five pieces, with some of them for alto flute and bass flute. You can find PDF files on this page of the IMSLP, where you will find the original set for cello, as well as versions for for violin, for viola, and for double bass.