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Songbook Review: Heart (revised printed and digital songbook)
Doug Hammer
Cover image of the songbook Heart (revised printed and digital songbook) by Doug Hammer
Heart (revised printed and digital songbook)
Doug Hammer
2023 / Doug Hammer
75 pages / 17 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
This review is for the newly-revised (printed and digital) version of Doug Hammer's companion songbook for his 2013 album, Heart. All of the music from the recording is included except Doug’s arrangement of “I Will Always Love You” and an ensemble version of the title track. The digital sheet music has been available for about ten years, but Doug and I went through the scores with a proverbial fine-toothed comb and got them as close to the recording as possible as well as cleaning them up a bit. Heart is now available as a beautiful spiral-bound book as well as a digital download.

The music varies quite a bit from piece to piece, with some that are very light and joyful to some that are dark and mournful. Quoting my review of the recording: "Greatly impacted by the tragic events in Newtown and the Boston Marathon bombings, the nineteen tracks are a loving tribute to those who lost their lives as well as a testament to the power of love. While this sounds like a potential downer, Hammer conveys the full spectrum of the human heart with his gentle (mostly), passionate (always) piano solos."

I would say that the pieces range from intermediate to early-advanced, and none are overly difficult. Doug has a very wide reach, so there are some pieces with chords with a span of a tenth, but he also offers some work-arounds. (Chords can also be rolled or shortened for smaller hands.) Pedaling is marked and/or suggested in all of the pieces, and metronome settings are also included. Expression and other playing instructions are clear and most are in English (rather than traditional Italian). This is an excellent songbook and I highly recommend it!

Heart is available as a spiral-bound printed book and as a digital download from Doug's website. Individual pieces are also available to download.

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

Heart - Key of D (2 sharps) - 3 pages
Spinning Sky - Key of F minor (4 flats) - 8 pages
Your Face In The Moonlight - Key of D (2 sharps) - 4 pages
Heart Clock - Key of Ab (4 flats) - 4 pages
For Camden - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 4 pages
Rain Clown - Key of E (4 sharps) - 4 pages
A Piece of Home - Key of Db (5 flats) - 4 pages
Peace For Martin - Key of D (2 sharps) - 6 pages
Arielle - Key of Ab (4 flats) - 4 pages
Newtown - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 4 pages
Fly Away - Key of Bb (2 flats) - 2 pages
Shine Like The Stars - Key of A (3 sharps) - 6 pages
All Is Calm - Key of Ab (4 flats) - 2 pages
Heartlight - Key of D (2 sharps) - 5 pages
The Chimes Are Ringing - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 7 pages
Last Dance - Key of Eb minor (6 flats) - 4 pages
Heart (epilogue) - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 2 pages
June 30, 2023
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