Favorite Icon, Full size
Songbook Review: 24 Improvs
Tim Neumark
Cover image of the songbook 24 Improvs by Tim Neumark
24 Improvs
Tim Neumark
2022 / Tim Neumark
92 pages / 24 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
24 Improvs is the companion sheet music book for Tim Neumark's solo piano album by the same name. All twenty-four pieces from the album are included and were transcribed note-for-note to the recording (I proof-read them!). The project arose from a goal Tim set for himself to create an album with one piece in each of the twenty-four major and minor key signatures, something several classical composers have done. Created over a period of about 2 1/2 years, the styles and moods reflected in the music are varied and very expressive. I think it's some of Tim's best music to date.

The printed songbooks are spiral-bound with the cover artwork from the CD on the front and back covers of the book along with Tim's dedication of the album to the memory of Canadian pianist/composer Michael Jones. The pieces appear in the book in the order of the circle of fifths and the parallel minor keys (rather than the relative minors, which share the same key signatures). The music on the album flows really well and I think the playing order works especially well in the songbook because you don't have two pieces back-to-back with the same (relative) key signature - AND, not all of the pieces with a lot of sharps or flats are in the back of the book! The pieces range in length from 1 1/2 - 5 pages, so none of them are very long. None of them are very difficult either - intermediate to very early advanced. It's a very colorful and expressive collection of sheet music that is very suitable for teaching piano students as well as for personal enjoyment.

The layout of the music is very well-spaced and easy to read with pedaling suggestions, plenty of dynamics and easy-to-understand playing and expression instructions. Metronome settings are also included. There are a few reaches of over an octave, but not many, and those chords can be rolled or shortened to fit smaller hands.

In addition to the printed books, 24 Improvs is available as a PDF download. Individual pieces are also available to download from Tim's website. I highly recommend both the recording and the sheet music to pianists of any age, and can easily recommend the songbooks and sheet music as teaching and recital pieces for piano students.

The titles of the pieces (most of them start with "Improv in"), and the number of pages are:

C Major (0 sharps or flats) (Gentle Stream) - 4 pages
C Minor (3 flats) - 4 pages
G Major (1 sharp) - 5 pages
G Minor (2 flats) - 1 1/2 pages
D Major (2 sharps) - 5 pages
D Minor (1 flat) - 3 pages
A Major (3 sharps) - 2 pages
A Minor (0) - 5 pages
E Major (4 sharps) - 5 pages
E Minor (1 sharp) - 5 pages
Improv Over One Chord (Social Distancing in B Major) - 5 sharps - 4 pages
B Minor (2 sharps) - 5 pages
November Improv - key of Gb (6 flats) - 2 pages
F# Minor (3 sharps) - 3 pages
Db Major (5 flats) - 5 pages
C# Minor (Numb) (4 sharps) - 4 pages
Ab Major (The End of the Road) (4 flats) - 2 pages
G# Minor (Isolation) (5 sharps) - 4 pages
Eb Major (Stay Here With Me) (4 flats) - 2 pages
Eb Minor (6 flats) - 3 pages
Eternity (Bb Major) (2 flats) - 3 pages
Bb Minor (5 flats) - 3 pages
F Major ( Sunday Evening) (1 flat) - 3 pages
F Minor (4 flats) - 4 pages

The cover photo for 24 Improvs is licensed by akg-images. The original photo is the property of the National Museum - Czech Museum of Music and can be seen on display at the Antonin Dvorak Museum in Prague.

June 23, 2022
More reviews of Tim Neumark songbooks