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Songbook Review: Melancholia
Doug Hammer
Cover image of the songbook Melancholia by Doug Hammer
Doug Hammer
2022 / Dreamworld Productions
36 pages / 13 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Melancholia solo piano songbook is the companion sheet music for Doug Hammer's 2022 solo piano album by the same name. All thirteen pieces from the recording are included, transcribed note-for-note to match the recording as closely as possible by Doug Hammer himself and proof-read by me. Everything about this album/songbook is outstanding, from the stunning cover artwork (enlarged for the sheet music!) to the deeply personal and expressive music itself. The sheet music for individual pieces and the songbooks are available now from Doug's website as PDF downloads, and printed books are coming soon (this review will be updated when the printed books are available). A review of the recording is also available on MainlyPiano.com, so if you'd like to read about the music, there is a link to the left of this review.

Most of the pieces from Melancholia are considered to be easy in relation to Doug's other sheet music. Pianists at an intermediate playing level should have no problem mastering all but a couple of these pieces (and those are not that difficult). Most are slow and have uncomplicated rhythms, and most are in relatively easy keys (see below). Most are also quite short, with the longest piece being 3 1/2 pages. There are a few reaches of over an octave, but suggestions are given for pianists with smaller hands. The notation itself is clear, clean and easy to read. Metronome settings are included and the dynamics and expression are easy to understand. I really enjoyed my time with this music and highly recommend it to piano teachers for students of all ages as well as to pianists for their own playing enjoyment.

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

Darkness Falls - Key of A minor (0 sharps or flats) - 3 pages
The Long Night - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 3 1/2 pages
Long Ago - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 2 1/2 pages
Just a Memory - Key of F minor (4 flats) - 2 pages
Laika - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 2 pages
Monsieur Barre's Carousel - Key of C minor (3 flats)/ C major (0 sharps or flats) - 2 pages
Empty Chair - Key of G minor (2 flats)/ C (0 sharps or flats) - 2 pages
Missing You - Key of D minor (1 flat) - 2 pages
Dancing Alone - Key of G minor (2 flats) - 3 pages
Letting Go - Key of F / D minor (1 flat) - 3 pages
Winding Down - Key of G minor (2 flats) - 2 pages
Almost Midnight - Key of G# minor (5 sharps) - 2 1/2 pages
Farewell - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 1 1/2 pages
October 27, 2022
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