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Songbook Review: Thankful Heart, Joyful Mind
Pam Asberry
Cover image of the songbook Thankful Heart, Joyful Mind by Pam Asberry
Thankful Heart, Joyful Mind
Pam Asberry
2018 / Optimistic Flamingo Music
49 pages / 11 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Thankful Heart, Joyful Mind: Solo Piano Christmas Music is the companion sheet music book to Pam Asberry’s solo piano recording by the same name. Eleven of the twelve Christmas carols from the recording are included, and the twelfth, “White Christmas,” can be downloaded from SheetMusicPlus.com and Pam’s website. I really like the recording, but I think I like the songbook even better. Most of the arrangements are at an upper-intermediate playing level, but many sound more difficult than that. Most of the eleven piano solos are kind of “off the beaten path” as far as Christmas music goes, providing welcome relief to pianists everywhere who just can’t bear to play “Jingle Bells” or “O Christmas Tree” one more time! (As a piano teacher and music reviewer, I can attest to the seriousness of this issue! ;) ) The titles of the songs, the keys they are in and the number of pages are listed below. The individual songs and the complete songbook can also be downloaded at PamAsberry.com. The printed books are available there as well.

The printed books are beautiful. They are also spiral-bound and printed on a little heavier-than-usual paper stock. Sometimes that can cause difficult page turns, but I didn’t have any trouble turning pages when playing the book. The front and back covers are enlargements of the lovely artwork from the CD and there is a short “About Pam” at the back of the book. Pam did the transcriptions herself and the layouts of the scores are roomy and easy to read. The spacing and print size are all really good, and the transcriptions include metronome settings, phrasing and plenty of expressive dynamics. I didn’t find any reaches of over an octave. I really like that the melodies to most of the songs are easily recognizable, but the arrangements are unique and very expressive. Pianists of all ages will find plenty to enjoy in this book!

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

Gesu Bambino - Key of E (4 sharps)/ G (1 sharp) - 5 pages
Sing We Now of Christmas - Key of G minor (2 flats) - 5 pages
Wexford Carol - Key of G (1 sharp) - 4 pages
Away in a Manger - Key of E (4 sharps) - 3 pages
Over the River and Through the Wood - Key of C (0 sharps or flats)/ D (2 sharps) - 4 pages
Bell Carol Medley - Key of A minor and C major (0 sharps or flats) - 4 pages
In the Bleak Midwinter - Key of Eb (3 flats) - 3 pages
March of the Kings - Key of E minor (1 sharp) - 5 pages
Still, Still, Still - Key of E minor (1 sharp)/ E major (4 sharps) - 3 pages
He Is Born - Key of A (3 sharps) - 4 pages
Come, Let Us Anew - Key of G (1 sharp)
October 26, 2018
This songbook has been tagged as:
Holiday Songbooks
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