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Mix Margaret Dylan Jones

W.A. composer, pianist, teacher, article writer


Original Compositions


Original music to enjoy, plus my educational music that students love to play (no BS there, students from about age 7 to 70 really enjoy these little pieces).

If you're a teacher you may remember The Greedy Row Snake, from Child's Play. It sold over 23,000 copies when it was in the AMEB's grade one exam book. Prayer of the Swinging Mantis is in the current syllabus (2015) and is published by the AMEB. You can hear me play both on Sound Cloud.

Click on these links to skip down to each section on this page:


Androgyne Prophecy
Sonatina
ColourFast Piano Music
Jump Right Ins: piano starters and re-starters
Child's Play
Machine Code (clarinet)
...where eucalypts green-tip the sky (choir)

These scores were originally published by Hovea Music Press but are currently out of print from that source. Contact me if you would like a copy. A few works are available through several other publishers (see below).

For links to old printable samples of the music scores see my old site: http://www.members.tripod.com/~Hovea_Music_Press/JonesMDBiog.html


Original piano music to enjoy

Androgyne Prophecy (1977)

Formerly titled Androgyne Adagio. Used on the George Negus Tonight ABC television programme, 20 July 2004 in a profile of my life as an androgyne. They featured me playing this on my Thurmer piano.

The GNT film crew were quite smitten with this four minute piece. I finished it in mid-1977 when I'd just turned sixteen years old, but it is more sophisticated than I was! Think 'Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata meets Cavatina from The Deer Hunter.' Everyone loves this work, including me. Click here to see the first page, hear a sample, or watch a video of me playing and talking about Androgyne Prophecy. An easy arrangement is also available.


Sonatina (1981, rev. 1998)

Not everyone loves this work. Very dark and written at a time of crisis, this was originally titled "Visions" but I felt it was so much concerned with some sort of struggle or conflict and resolution that I renamed it "Sonatina".

Rather than a contrast between two or more tonal or key centres, the contrast here is between a doleful G natural and the abyss, where there is no one note to which to relate other notes. This echoes the sense of isolation and disconnectedness often experienced by young people. In the coda there is a (prophetic) sense of partial resolution in the evocation of a Balinese gamelan percussion ensemble.

Example from Sonatina available on the old website:
  • Sonatina (first page)

Educational piano music

Colourfast Piano Music

Music edited by Mark Coughlan, who at the time was a professor and Head of the School of Music, at The University of Western Australia.
"I particularly liked the way you inspire the young pianists to think about what they are learning and playing."

David Tunley, then also a professor of music at the University of WA, referring to Colourfast Piano Music.
From the pen of a piano teacher of many years' experience and a long time composer of educational music, these ten or so pieces help develop keyboard geography and musical imagination. Suitable for adults and children.

Teachers may know my jazzy Prayer of the Swinging Mantis from this book. It's in the AMEB's current (2015) syllabus for Preliminary Grade, re-published in the Piano Australian anthology (Preliminary - Fourth Grade).

From the PREFACE
These delightful and easy pieces will stimulate the imagination in both young students and older beginners. Their wide variety of style encompasses frequent use of F sharp and B flat, which are usually the first black notes that students need to learn. Common tasks are introduced, such as the use of triads or pedalling. Students of all ages will love the easy but engaging rhythms.

EASY QUESTION PROMPTS
Music teaching should involve a partnership between composer and teacher, and between these two and the student. Rather than try to do everything for the student and teacher, EASY QUESTION PROMPTS assist the creativity of both. The prompts are provided for the teacher as examples of ways to get the student thinking about the music.

Compositional insights are only useful if you work them out yourself. So question prompts are designed to engage a student's mind, almost effortlessly, on the task of getting into the meaning and emotion of a piece but without providing all the answers.

The use of EASY QUESTION PROMPTS makes learning easier, quicker, and a lot more fun. Often students give completely unexpected answers that are perfectly correct. Unexpected answers are marvellous--imagine the feeling of involvement and recognition a student feels when he or she finds something in the music which the teacher hadn't thought of!

Each piece also has suggestions for practise.

Teachers: please give your students the chance to really understand what their music is about. Explore these charming pieces in partnership with the composer.

Samples from Colourfast Piano Music available on the old website:
  • Ferrous Fanfare
  • Busy Insects
  • Prayer of the Swinging Mantis


Jump Right Ins: piano starters and re-starters


Ideal for any student wanting to improve hand co-ordination and get off to a flying start, under the guidance of a teacher.

From the PREFACE
I believe music teaching should involve a partnership between composer and teacher, and between these two and the student. Rather than try to do everything for the teacher, I prefer to facilitate the teacher's own creativity and to respect the teacher's experience, ability, and need for creative input.

EASY QUESTION PROMPTS are provided as starters or examples to get the teacher & student thinking about the music...

If you've ever had students who could play only one hand at a time, you'll love these Jump Right Ins. These little pieces resulted from frustration with the poor hand co-ordination often displayed by students. They're attractive and easy, yet the hands are independent. Your students will wonder how they did it!
  • Co-ordinate at the very first lesson
  • Transpose at the very first lesson
  • Imaginative titles that spark the student's interest
  • Suitable for almost any age from total beginners to about grade two
  • Get them off to a flying start - prevent frustration setting in from co-ordination difficulties.
  • Revive sagging enthusiasm in students who are struggling.
These little gems provide an ideal way to develop & maintain interest in the early stages.

This is not a tutor book, but you will find it indispensable for the lower grades and beginners of any age from about 5 to 65 years.

Examples from Jump Right Ins: piano starters and re-starters available on the old website:
  • D 'N' A or The Busy Worm
  • The Fairground


Child's Play
"You have provided an attractive set of pieces to introduce them to contemporary music. What you have done shows the mark of a good musician and teacher."

David Tunley, at the time a professor of music at the University of WA, referring to Child's Play.
This set of varied and accessible pieces was written to introduce students and teachers to the 12-note technique and to compensate for a lack of such works in the teaching repertoire.

Though the technique has been the basis of an enormous amount of music composed since the 1920s, and especially since the Second World War, there are few other sets of educational dodecaphonic or serial music.

Most other books of 12-note music are generally rather dry, not very appealing and not accessible to children or beginners. This new group of varied works dispels some myths e.g. that serial music must be dissonant, atonal, unpleasant, humourless, uninteresting and not stimulating to the imagination. The pieces demonstrate that the technique can inspire a composer to produce very musical works that are appealing to students.

Child's Play covers a range of levels from pre-Initial to about grade 6, and includes a trio where a young child can sit at the piano in between two older students, and play a previously-learnt solo which fits into a new piece (Alone in the Dark Forest, also given as a duet). The Greedy Row Snake is from Child's Play.

Please Note: several unauthorised recordings of The Greedy Row Snake  were made available commercially. The composer suggests that all teachers and students use the printed music as their guide or recordings made or authorised by the composer, not unauthorised recordings of unknown accuracy. I can, however, highly recommend the recording by Brian Chapman, published by Tonart Productions.

A number of pieces from Child's Play are published by Currency Press in several volumes of Australian Piano Music, edited by Sally Mays. Some volumes are in the AMEB's exam list.

Examples from Child's Play available on the old website:
  • Upside Downs
        • The Greedy Row Snake (formerly in the official AMEB exam syllabus and book)
  • Reuben's Big Day Out
  • Homage to Webern
  • Homage to Schoenberg
  • Clouds (duet)
  • Alone in the Dark Forest (trio)



Clarinet

Machine Code
for unaccompanied clarinet

Machine Code is a term sometimes used to describe the most basic levels of computer operation. In this code, eight-digit binary numbers (consisting only of ones and zeros) are used to represent the letters of the alphabet. For example, the binary number for M is 11010100. These numbers are used very freely in this piece as a source of rhythmic material, by interpreting the ones as quavers and the zeros as quaver rests.

A source of contrasting rhythmic ideas is the Fibonacci series of numbers, used in the slow fourth section and the concluding sixth section. This series of expanding or contracting numbers also generates pitches as well as rhythmic shapes in the introductory phrases to sections one and five.

A musically attractive piece, perfect for concerts & recitals. Approximately grades 6 to 7.

MDJ 1990

Example from Machine Code available on old website:

  • Machine Code (first page)

Choir

...where eucalypts green-tip the sky

Thirteen poems by seven Australian writers as selected by Margaret Dylan Jones for her song cycle for choir, piano and speaking voices.

The full texts are published as a collection in a separate booklet. Several musical versions will be available.

The poems and poets are given below in the order they appear in the work. The first few lines are shown on a separate page.

From the PROGRAMME NOTE
For several years I was involved intermittently in the practical side of an anti-clearfelling campaign to save old-growth forests. But eventually I felt that the best contribution I could make to conservation and social issues was to compose music on such themes.

An opportunity arose when I was asked to deputise for the a new conductor of the Perth Discovery Choir for a few weeks, and to write something for the choir's tenth anniversary concert. Around the same time I saw a colour photograph of a yellow tingle tree on the front page of a major newspaper. The felled tree was being taken out of the forest on a logging truck, a scene the story had likened to a funeral procession. Unbeknown to me, my father, the late John Joseph Jones, a well-known and prolific writer, had seen the same story. Two days later his poem, Yellow Tingle Tree, arrived unheralded in my letterbox. This poem became the final song in ...where eucalypts green-tip the sky.

I put out a call for more poems dealing with related themes. Another call for poems dealing with the difficult circumstance of the timber workers met with no response. After making a short list of twenty I chose thirteen poems by seven Western Australian poets. Six of the poems have been set to music for the choir, and the remaining seven are to be spoken---some with and some without accompaniment.

MDJ 2004. May be used in programme notes.

The number of speaking voices can vary (speaker numbers are suggestions only). See also the First Few Lines of each poem.

Examples from ...where eucalypts green-tip the sky available on the old website:

  • Tuart Forest, Ludlow
  • Interceptor
  • Marri with Nuts
  • Breaking Out
  • Woodchipping
  • Yellow Tingle Tree
  • Forest Giant
The poems and poets in the order of the musical setting:

Shane McCauley

Landscape With Gum Trees

Speaker 1

(no text)

(no text)

Piano solo

John Joseph Jones

Tuart Forest, Ludlow

Choir, piano

John Joseph Jones

Interceptor

Choir, piano, speaker 2

Gladys Milroy

The Last Tree

Speaker 3

Claire Grose

Green Gums and Gravel (excerpt 1)

Speaker 4

Andrew Lansdown

Marri with Nuts

Choir, piano

Andrew Lansdown

Jarrah

Speaker 2

Claire Grose

Green Gums and Gravel (excerpt 2)

Speaker 4

Andrew Lansdown

Breaking Out

Choir, choral speaking, piano

Andrew Lansdown

A Remembrance of Robins

Speaker 2

Claire Grose

Green Gums and Gravel (excerpt 3)

Speaker 4

Jean Argyle

Woodchipping

Choir, piano, speaker 2

Shane McCauley

Karri Forest

Speaker 1

John Joseph Jones

Yellow Tingle Tree

Choir, piano

Jack Davis

Forest Giant

Speaker 2, piano


Note: the full text of the poem Green Gums and Gravel is printed at the end of the booklet (but not the musical score).

The musical score of ... where eucalypts green-tip the sky will be available in several flexible versions:

Piano and one or more speaking parts, plus choir consisting of:

      • SABaritone
      • SA
      • SSA
      • Unison

The speakers may be chosen from the choir.

The form is modular. Choir directors may pick and choose a selection from sixteen pieces, including six choral sections and one piano solo. The full work takes about 20 minutes. Some items may be sold separately.

Practise tapes will be available.


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