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.

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.

Arrangement: Elgar Salut d'amour for Piano Quintet

My transcription of the Elgar Salut d'amour for piano quintet is now available from International! You can order it here.

All of the things that belong to the day for low voice and piano

You can find the music here and listen to a computer-generated audio file here. It is also avaiable on this page of the IMSLP.

Listen to Susan Nelson's beautiful recording of "The Moon."

A Cellist's (or Violinist's or Violist's or Bass player's) Garden of Verses

This is a set of solo pieces that lie mostly in the first position. You can find the music on this page of the IMSLP. There are also versions of this set of pieces there for solo violin, for solo viola, and for solo double bass.

Here's a great performance of the whole set by cellist Diane Chaplin:

Two Fragments of Fragments from Jubilate Agno

[September 30, 2020]

These unaccompanied vocal duets are written to be sung together by way of electronic devices. You can find the music on this page of the IMSLP.

In an Old House in Paris

September 26, 2020

This is an antiphonal piece that follows the rhythms found in the text of Madeline, a children’s book written in 1939 by Ludwig Bemelmans. The words that correspond to the musical phrases can be found in the book, which can be found in many libraries and bookstores.

During this time of social distancing, musicians have been looking for ways to play together by way of video communication. Truly synchronous two-way communication is not yet possible, so this piece explores the horizontal musical communication that is operative in antiphonal music.

I have found that the piece works better on a direct communication platform like FaceTime than it does on a conference-based platform like Zoom.

I have made modular settings so that this piece can be played by two violins, two clarinets, violin and clarinet, two violas, viola and guitar, oboe and guitar, flute and guitar, violin and guitar, violin and viola, viola and cello, oboe and viola, flute and viola, bassoon and cello, bassoon and viola, two cellos, and two bassoons.

I wrote this piece so that musicians can have the pleasure of communicating with one another in real time, which is a necessity in times of social isolation. In the time that follows the Covid-19 pandemic (whenever that may be), this piece could be performed in a way that injects freedom in the sections marked “allow for random cacophony.”.

This piece is available on this page of the IMSLP.

November 22 UPDATE: Here is a video of a Zoom performance of the version for violin and viola played by musicians in Michigan and Texas.

Here's a performance by clarinetist Jade Garcia and violinist Emily Rumney

Four Coliloquies for Flute and Oboe

[March, 2019]

The score and parts can be found on this page of the IMSLP, and a video recording is forthcoming.

Ladder of Escape for Four Bassoons

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


[June 11, 2020]

You can find the music here (transposed higher here) and on this page of the IMSLP. You can listen to a computer-generated recording here. If you are a singer without access to a pianist, and you would like to sing these, you can find audio files for the piano parts for both the mezzo and soprano versions (without the vocal line) here.

Alice Ruth Moore (1875-1935), the daughter of a once-enslaved mother, was born in New Orleans. She graduated from Straight University, and worked in New Orleans as an elementary school teacher. During the 1920s and 1930s Moore, who then went by the name Alice Dunbar-Nelson, was an activist for African American rights and women’s rights, appearing often as a speaker, and writing essays, reviews, and articles in newspapers, magazines, and academic journals.

Arrangement: J.S. Bach Adagio from the F minor Violin Sonata, BWV 1018, for String Quartet, Clarinet Quartet, or Viola Quartet

[The version for viola quartet looks a lot like the version for clarinet quartet, but, like the string quartet version, it is in G minor rather than C minor--the original key.]

You can find the string quartet score and parts here, the clarinet score and parts here, and you can listen to a computer-generated recording of the string quartet version here. You can also find all three versions on this page of the IMSLP.