Online Piano Resources
All about Margaret
products & services
How to tune,
your old piano
Find your piano's
Combined Entry Portal
Margaret Dylan Jones
W.A. composer, pianist,
teacher, article writer
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
ColourFast Piano Music
Jump Right Ins: piano starters and
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
samples of the music scores see my old site: http://www.members.tripod.com/~Hovea_Music_Press/JonesMDBiog.html
music to enjoy
Formerly titled Androgyne Adagio. Used
on the George Negus
television programme, 20 July 2004 in a
profile of my life as an androgyne. They featured me playing this on my
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
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.
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
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:
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."
From the pen of a piano teacher of many years' experience and a long
composer of educational music, these ten or so pieces help develop
keyboard geography and musical imagination. Suitable for adults and
David Tunley, then also a professor of music at the University of WA,
referring to Colourfast Piano Music.
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
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
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!
These little gems provide an ideal way to develop & maintain
interest in the early stages.
- 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
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
and re-starters available on the old website:
- D 'N' A or The Busy Worm
- The Fairground
"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."
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.
David Tunley, at the time a professor of music at
the University of WA, referring to Child's Play.
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
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)
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
- Machine Code (first page)
...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
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:
The poems and poets in the
order of the musical setting:
- Tuart Forest, Ludlow
- Marri with Nuts
- Breaking Out
- Yellow Tingle Tree
- Forest Giant
Landscape With Gum Trees
Tuart Forest, Ludlow
Choir, piano, speaker 2
The Last Tree
Green Gums and Gravel (excerpt 1)
Marri with Nuts
Green Gums and Gravel (excerpt 2)
Choir, choral speaking, piano
A Remembrance of Robins
Green Gums and Gravel (excerpt 3)
Choir, piano, speaker 2
Yellow Tingle Tree
Speaker 2, piano
The musical score of ... where eucalypts green-tip the
will be available in several flexible versions:
Note: the full text of the poem Green Gums and Gravel
printed at the end of the booklet (but not the musical score).
Piano and one or more speaking parts, plus choir consisting
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
Practise tapes will be available.