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Songbook Review: Between Shadow and Light
Neil Patton
Cover image of the songbook Between Shadow and Light by Neil Patton
Between Shadow and Light
Neil Patton
2016 / Neil Patton
83 pages / 13 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
I have been anxiously awaiting the sheet music for Neil Patton’s 2015 album Between Shadow and Light ever since I first heard the recording. The album really speaks to me and I named it Album of the Year on MainlyPiano.com. It was nominated for similar honors on several other websites, so I’m not the only one who fell in love with this music. I have had the opportunity to see Patton perform most of this music live on several occasions, and some of the pieces have become deeply rooted in my soul - especially “Nocturne,” one of the most haunting and beautiful pieces I’ve ever heard. Many songbooks get reviewed and then sit for a long time on my bookshelf, but this one has a permanent place right next to my piano and I have no doubt that it will become dog-eared over time from frequent use!

If you are familiar with Neil Patton and his music, you are aware of what an exceptional pianist he is. He has composed some incredibly complex music over the course of his three solo piano albums, and a few of the pieces in this book are in that category, but there are also several that are slow and quite approachable for pianists with more “modest” skills. All thirteen pieces were transcribed by Patton with layout, editing and design by Rebecca Oswald. The book is spiral-bound and printed on a bright white paper stock. The spacing is clear, roomy and easy to read. Important fingering, occasional pedaling suggestions, dynamics, metronome settings, and phrasing are all included in the notation, making this an excellent book for teaching advanced and advancing students. A longtime piano teacher himself, Patton is exceptionally thorough in his transcriptions. The book also contains extensive notes written by Patton explaining what the pieces are about and suggestions for how to approach and express them. There is much to learn from those notes and I commend Patton for taking the time to write them out. He has also ranked the pieces by level of difficulty and has offered a list of classical pieces at similar levels to compare with. This is an excellent songbook from cover to cover and I give it my highest recommendation. It is available from www.NeilPatton.net.

The titles of the pieces, the keys they are in, and the number of pages are:

Rhyme of Reason - Key of D (2 sharps) - 6 pages
Surface Tension - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 8 pages
Still in Love - Key of Eb (3 flats) - 3 pages
Great Expectations - Key of A minor(0 sharps or flats) / D minor (1 flat) - 6 1/2 pages
Nocturne (Between Shadow and Light) - Key of F (1 flat) - 5 pages
Flights of Angels - Key of C (0 sharps or flats) - 8 pages
The Hands of the Healer - Key of A minor / Eb (3 flats)/ Bb minor (5 flats) - 4 1/2 pages
The Long Goodbye - Key of D - 3 pages
Finding My Own Secrets - Key of G minor (2 flats) / A minor - 6 pages
Walk With Me - Key of C - 2 1/2 pages
To Run Again - Key of D minor / A minor - 6 pages
Hope - Key of D - 2 1/2 pages
Moonrise - Key of Eb minor (6 flats) - 7 1/2 pages
This piece was recorded with special reverb and echo effects, but there are suggestions given for achieving similar sounds on a piano without those effects.
February 3, 2017
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