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Songbook Review: Through the Darkness
Tijs Ven
Cover image of the songbook Through the Darkness by Tijs Ven
Through the Darkness
Tijs Ven
2022 / Tijs Ven
88 pages / 15 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Through the Darkness songbook is the companion sheet music collection for Tijs Ven's 2020 solo piano album by the same name. All 15 of the pieces from the recording are included, transcribed by Tijs Ven himself. There are a few small differences between the recording and the sheet music (I proofread the songbook), but that was Tijs' choice since the sheet music is the way he originally intended the music to be played. He also chose to leave out dynamics, pedaling, and most tempo changes to give the people who play his music more creative freedom to interpret the music in their own way. There are metronome settings at the beginning of each piece, but those are not intended to be strictly adhered to either. The overall feel of the music is melancholy, but it is never without hope and some of the music is just plain fun to play! Right now the songbook is only available as a PDF download from Tijs' website, but he has plans for printed books as well. I will update this review when those become available.

None of the fifteen pieces are difficult, and I would place them all at an upper-intermediate to early-advanced playing level. The scores are well-spaced and easy to read. Some of the pieces appear to be more difficult than they are with lots of sixteenth notes, but those are mostly in repeated patterns with similar chord structures. Most of the pieces are in uncomplicated key signatures and I think all of them stay in the same key from start to finish. As I mentioned, there are no dynamics or tempo change indications, so pianists are free to interpret the music in any way they choose. The music is suitable for pianists of any age group, but I think it would appeal most to teenagers and adults.

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

Lonely Nights - Key of Gm (2 flats) - 5 pages
Barely There - Key of Fm (4 flats) - 5 pages
Desperate Times - Key of Am (0 sharps or flats) - 5 pages
Safer Than Tomorrow - Key of Cm (3 flats) - 3 1/2 pages
Painful Memories - Key of Cm (3 flats) - 6 pages
Before the Storm - Key of Bm (2 sharps) - 5 pages
Afraid To Let Go - Key of Cm (3 flats) - 5 pages
Round and Round... - Key of Cm (3 flats) - 4 pages
Lost And So Alone - Key of Am (0 sharps or flats) - 5 pages
Through the Dark - Key of Gm (2 flats) - 5 pages
Raining Down - Key of Dm (1 flat) - 8 1/2 pages
Alone in the End - Key of Bbm (5 flats) - 4 pages
Still Holding On - Key of G#m (5 sharps) - 6 pages
You Can Let Go - Key of F#m (3 sharps) - 6 1/2 pages
Longing For... - Key of Am (0 sharps or flats) - 4 pages
February 16, 2022
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