Easy piano songs from Russia, four vigorous arrangements and one flowing version of Minka, in three keys. Download this beginner piano music for your students, FREE!
This rendition of Minka by Russian accordian player Alexander Shirunov is wonderful (and I am usually not an accordian fan):
My first arrangement of Minka, in the keys of Dm or Em, has a tricky crossing-over in measures 3 & 4, and a big stretch in the right hand in measure 7.
Do NOT give this arrangement to a child who is not able to read the notes and also "hear" the minor melody. If they play an F natural in the first line and fail to correct themselves, for example, they are probably not ready for this piece! Lots of scale preparation, and transposing of Mary Had a Little Lamb (or a similar song) into minor will train their ear:
Now, this next arrangement in 3 pages is really the same arrangement, but starts high on the piano and jumps down an octave every 8 measures (until the last 16).
Starting with repeated block chords in the left hand, it has a different sound than the short Minka, and though the notes are harder to read, yet it is easier to play, because there isn't the coordination problem of left and right hands for the first 16 measures.
At measure 16, both hands descend another octave, and suddenly the arrangement is just like the short one... but the hands keep moving down. By the end of the piece, the chords are sounding deep and a bit rough, perhaps like dancing Cossacks! (Although some claim this song is Ukrainian, not Russian.)
Here (below) is an even easier arrangement of Minka in D minor, with the traditional second part:
This is a good first step to learning the version farther up the page.
Now here is a super-easy version, followed by a duet arrangement:
The secondo may LOOK advanced, but it's easy enough for an elementary student with a bit of encouragement.
The last arrangement of Pretty Minka uses more of the traditional melody. You will notice the difference starting in line 3. Compare it to the videos here, and the Beethoven set of variations.
This version of Minka has a flowing left hand, and is obviously harder than late elementary piano. In fact, the left hand chord inversions may be quite a challenge for an intermediate student at first. But it's so pretty!
Here is a set of variations on the Minka folk tune by Beethoven's Opus 107 for piano and flute: Variations on Schöne Minka (Pretty Minka) - it actually starts about 30 seconds in. It is pretty but mostly slow:
And a last video, uploaded to Youtube by a school teacher, using English Christmas carol lyrics set to the Minka tune (and another tune as a descant):
Do you have a funny story about this music, or does it remind you of something you'd like to share with other readers? Do you have a question? I'd love to hear it!
Please note that all comments are moderated, and will not appear until I have approved them. Also, IF YOU ARE ASKING FOR MUSIC THAT IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, YOUR REQUEST WILL BE IGNORED. That's pretty much any music written in the last 75 years...