Free piano sheet music - Sleepsong was the "song of the year" in my studio not long ago! It has a strong and unusually beautiful melody, and easy chords.
This song will blow your students away with its sheer beauty... the Youtube contributor has entitled this tribute "My Brother Under the Sun":
OKAY, I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE - almost every page on my site has sheet music that you may download for free, public domain music.
But this is a copyrighted piece of music - it is NOT my own arrangement, but I have so fallen in love with this music, as has every one - EVERY ONE! of my students to whom I have given it, that I had to share this. Not just piano students, but vocal and a few violin students too, have been learning this song.
So I will tell you how to acquire it... Two ways; you can go to Sheetmusicplus.com and BUY THE CHORAL VERSION (which sounds just like the singer, piano accompaniment and group "Secret Garden," above, but is not so easy for your students to read), or if you want a piano version, you can do as I did when I first encountered the Youtube video tribute to Fili and Kili, dwarf brothers in The Hobbit (and was absolutely flattened with grief at the thought of what was surely coming in The Hobbit Part 3, "The Battle of the Five Armies" - okay, so I really fell hard for the Tauriel and Kili romance):
Use the search terms "sleepsong", "sheet music", and also "Secret Garden," which I knew was the name of the musical group. Do this, and you WILL find the free piano sheet music I am talking about - a good piano reduction, fairly easy, with solo voice and violin. It follows the recording exactly, except for the extra voices at beginning and end, which belong to the choral version (which I also have). The plain fact of the matter is that THERE IS NO PIANO VERSION AVAILABLE FOR SALE AT THIS TIME.
Here is one of my students singing this piece at a recital (with a violin partway through) - the song starts at 2:43. This song was initially a challenge for her, as classical music is the style she excels at. (And yes, that is I playing the Bach Jesu Joy duet with her in the first two minutes of this video - she plays very well for a first-year student, but what is MY excuse? Well, I'm a PIANIST, and really just a beginning violinist myself, currently stuck at the end of Suzuki Book I. Okay, enough excuses.)
I give this song to both pianists and vocalists. Recently, I asked a student if showing her the Youtube video first made any difference to her wanting to play this piece - she emphatically said "Yes!" Hearing the Celtic-style singing won her heart. The interpretation of the piece does make a difference.
And that seems to describe the rest of my students too. "I LOVE this song!" is a refrain I keep hearing about this song... and you know what? I love it too! Even the non-vocalists can't help singing as they play... and isn't that what music is all about?
It's nice to "strike while the iron is hot," and though Sleepsong really has nothing to do with The Hobbit movies, yet the presence of the song in those moving videos on Youtube is a happy association for my music students, most of whom are very much caught up in the ongoing drama of The Hobbit. Though I haven't said as much yet, I think that they sense intuitively that "SLEEP" is another way of saying "DEATH."
With my vocalists, I am having them listen to the singer and imitate her ornaments, which are quite different than ordinary turns or trills. Does that seem artificial? Pooh - it's fun and it's just an easy way to learn another style, and broaden one's confidence. They are having fun.
I'm also having them compare the light, Celtic interpretation in these videos with the deeper-voiced, classical style that is on the demo at Sheetmusicplus. The emotional impact is entirely different...
As for my pianists, talk about a motivating song! Notereading, broken chords, key signature recognition, rhythm -- it's all there and they have ALL been working to master this beautiful song. Verse one features a pedal point in the left hand - chords suspended above Bass D over and over again, which makes the fulfillment of the regular bass notes when they come in verse 2 even more satisfying, and my musicians are understanding it!
For guitarists, you will not find this free piano sheet music in a good key for a beginner. You could have your students move it up from Dm to the key of Em - that is nicer for a fiddler, too, and NOT too high for kids to sing. Only a few times does the melody ascend up to high E.
When one young student, a boy who is playing it on guitar to accompany his sister on fiddle, asked me why I hadn't given it to any of the other boys, I have to admit that stereotypes leaped to my mind. I replied that most boys don't like PRETTY SONGS, but loud BOOM-BOOM rhythmic types of music. (Yes, shame on me!)
But HE likes it. Of course, he's heard it night and day for some time as his sisters continue to play it - plus, he now has this idea in his mind that the music is associated with The Hobbit somehow... So I turned the conversation a bit, and told him how BOTH kinds of music are necessary - but you'll get tired of one if that's all you hear.
And that reminded me of another video for the two of us to watch - a clip, actually, from the extended version of The Hobbit Part 1 (An Unexpected Adventure), where the dwarf company (and Gandalf and Bilbo) are seated at dinner in Rivendell. A couple of them begin to grow restless, wearied by the sameness (and tameness) of the pretty music played by the elf musicians.
"Change the tune, why don't you? I feel like I'm in a funeral!" says one, and another asks, "Is someone dying?"
Bofur declares, "All right, lads, there's only one thing for it," and climbs up on the table and begins a rousing song about "An inn, an inn, a merry old inn!" The rest of the dwarves join in lustily, and pretty soon there's a food fight.
This scene is a testament to the power of music! :D
Enjoy this song, weep over it if you are so constituted, but do not ask me for the website address where I found a piano reduction! Do the work, search, or buy the choral and piano version from Sheetmusicplus.
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...