Piano duet sheet music for beginner or late elementary pianists. Garry Owen is a catchy Irish tune with a fun driving rhythm!
A search on Wikipedia shows that "Garry Owen" has a long history in military regiments. In the movie "They Died With Their Boots On" (the story of Custer's Last Stand), Custer and his men gather round a piano and sing the tune with great heartiness. You can hear them and other versions of Garry Owen in the following series of videos:
Here is the piano duet sheet music for this fun song:
Now you will notice the arrangement of this duet is like a choral piece, or a band director's score! I wrote it this way so I could hear it re-played on my computer (and check accuracy), and haven't gotten around to putting the two parts on two different pages.
This is how band and orchestra music looks
It hasn't been a problem for my students; in fact, they have found it interesting to read the score this way. They can watch their partner's music to help them plan when to enter, etc. I tell them, "When Mr. Lenhard (our local band teacher) is conducting the band, he has to read a whole page of instruments all at the same time."
I let my finger slowly scan from the top of the page to the bottom as I say, "The piccolos and flutes, the clarinets, the oboes, the saxophones, the trumpets, French horns, trombones, tubas... all the way down to the percussion. He has to turn pages FAST!" Then they realize I am not asking them to do something impossible, but something challenging and COOL.
How to place the hands
In the Primo, the student's thumbs do NOT go together, but are side-by-side. The left hand uses the 3, 4 and 5 fingers a lot, which can be hard for beginners when moving fast. That's okay -- tell them that's what their scales and exercises are for -- to increase finger coordination.
Which part is easier?
The Secondo is actually easier than the Primo, because the chords change very little, and the changes are easy for the careful listener to anticipate!
But the Secondo has something new in it...
Halfway through, at the top of page 2, there is a broken chord pattern which may be entirely new for your students, if they have never played chord inversions before. I recommend preparing them, if they have only played chords as 5ths.
The practice of reading two bass staffs for your part is bound to be a little baffling at first for your students -- but that's one of the benefits of duet songs. Practice makes perfect -- or at least builds confidence!
Thank you so much for these resources - I have a small music studio in Johannesburg, South Africa. My kids love playing these tunes.
What a fabulous website! I've been a keen amateur piano player since I first learnt 56 years ago at the age of 8. I now have a three year old granddaughter and am hoping fervently that she'll want to learn - at which point I'll teach her. This is just the kind of resource I'll need to make it comprehensible. Thank you very much.
Thank you so much for all the information and materials! Your site is very thorough and well organized! I am a piano teacher in New Orleans, LA and in the process of putting together my own curriculum and recordings. You have inspired me to make my materials available to all online!
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...