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Songbook Review: Celtic Piano
Brad Jacobsen
Cover image of the songbook Celtic Piano by Brad Jacobsen
Celtic Piano
Brad Jacobsen
2023 / Brad Jacobsen
57 pages / 11 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Brad Jacobsen's Celtic Piano songbook is the companion sheet music collection to Brad's solo piano release by the same name. The album and songbook are made up of Brad's arrangements of eleven traditional Celtic folk songs and ballads (no Riverdance or lively jigs!) and was inspired by Brad's mother's recent discovery from a DNA test that she is more than 1/4 Irish. Some of the songs in the collection are familiar and some are less so, making the songbook great fun to explore! Most of the arrangements are intentionally on the easier side, as Brad wanted to stay focused on these wonderful, timeless melodies. However, the music isn't so simple that more accomplished pianists will be bored - not at all! I thoroughly enjoyed both proof-reading the sheet music (transcribed by John Zechiel) and playing through the finished songbook, and I have no intention of just putting the book on the bookshelf! I found all eleven pieces to be fun, inspiring, and a joy to play.

As I mentioned, most of the songs are in the intermediate to upper-intermediate playing levels, although a few are arranged in somewhat more challenging key signatures (see below). There really aren't a lot of chords and there are no reaches of more than an octave. The beauty of the songs is in their soulful melodies, giving pianists of all levels plenty to explore and express.

Brad is making the CDs and spiral-bound songbooks available exclusively from his website. Downloads of the album and songbook are also available there, and his sale prices are excellent! Very highly recommended!

The titles of the pieces, the key(s) they are in, and the number of pages are:

Pulse of My Heart - Key of E (4 sharps) - 3 pages
The Star of County Down - Key of Eb Minor (6 flats)/ E Minor (1 sharp) - 7 pages
Carrickfergus - Key of F# Minor (3 sharps) / Ab (4 flats) - 6 pages
The Galway Shawl - Key of E (4 sharps) - 7 pages
Loch Lomond - Key of F (1 flat) - 5 pages
The Foggy Dew - Key of B Minor (2 sharps) / Bb Minor (5 flats) - 4 pages
Raglan Road - Key of D (2 sharps) / Db (5 flats) - 5 pages
The Song o the Woods - Key of Db (5 flats) / E (4 sharps) - 4 pages
Be Thou My Vision - Key of D (2 sharps) / Db (5 flats) - 4 pages
The Lambs on the Green Hills - Key of Eb (3 flats) - 4 pages
That's an Irish Lullaby - Key of D (2 sharps) / Db (5 flats)

September 18, 2023
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