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Songbook Review: A Change of Color
Michele McLaughlin
Cover image of the songbook A Change of Color by Michele McLaughlin
A Change of Color
Michele McLaughlin
2011 / Michele McLaughlin
14 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
A Change of Color is the companion songbook to Michele McLaughlin’s 2003 CD by the same name. The book includes fourteen of the fifteen songs from the album (“A Tale of Courage (Remix)” was not included because it is orchestrated.) Quite a few of the pieces are on the melancholy side, but there are some lively exceptions. The majority of the pieces are fairly slow, and the longest one is five pages (rankings, key signatures, and the number of pages are all listed below). Most of the timing is very straightforward because of the rhythmic patterns Michele has on the left hand. There are a few passages where octaves are played on one hand or the other, but there are no chords with a reach of more than an octave. The notation is clear and roomy, and the transcriptions were done by John Zechiel and David Shenton. Pianists of an upper-intermediate playing level and above will find much to like about Michele’s music, as it is fun to play and not terribly difficult. A few of my own favorites to play from this collection are “Just Because,” “Love Left Bleeding,” “An Unexpected Surprise,” “Early Morning Snowfall,” and “A Night to Remember.” Michele’s sheet music is available from michelemclaughlin.com.

Below is a list of the songs in the book, listed in the order they appear on the CD. I have included the key signatures and how many sharps and flats are in those keys, the level of difficulty on a scale of 1-5 compared to Michele’s other pieces (with 1 being the easiest and 5 the most advanced), and the number of pages.

Swept Away - Key of C minor (3 flats), F (1 flat), F minor (4 flats), Bb (2 flats), C (no sharps or flats), G minor (2 flats) - level 4 - 4 pages
Without You - Key of C - level 3 - 3 pages
A Change of Color - Key of C - level 3 - 3 pages
Imagination At Play - Key of C - level 3 - 5 pages
Just Because - Key of C minor (3 flats) - level 4 - 2 pages
Love Left Bleeding - Key of A minor (no sharps or flats) - level 4 - 5 pages
Early Morning Snowfall - Key of C minor - level 4 - 4 pages
Shattered Hope - Key of Gb (6 flats) - level 5 - 3 pages
Night Sky - Key of Eb (3 flats) - level 4 - 3 pages
A Tale of Courage - Key of C minor - level 3 - 4 pages
An Unexpected Surprise - Key of C - level 4 - 5 pages
The Way Things Were - Key of C minor - level 4 - 4 pages
A Night to Remember - Key of C - level 4 - 3 pages
Memories of Us - Key of C - level 3 - 3 pages
September 7, 2011
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