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Pianist's Score of the Month: 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes'

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In 1934, Paul Whiteman was the first to make a hit arrangement of the song from  Kern and Harbach’s Roberta, which had opened on Broadway the previous year. Ever since then Kern’s melody  has attracted instrumental covers from the likes of Glenn Miller, Charlie Parker and John Dankworth, not to mention a spot on The Muppet Show.

 

Some playing tips from our editor Erica Worth

When you get hold of this piece and start learning it, you'll get to see what a great arrangement it is. Just listen to those lush chords (you can hear house pianist Chenyin Li perform it on our covermount CD). The notes are a little tricky, but all you need is a bit of patience.

Practise slowly, taking small sections at a time. Some of the LH chord-stretches are wide, but spreading the chords belongs to the style. Make the melody sing and revel in the harmonies with ample use of rubato. Pedal tips: Legato pedalling is needed, changing the pedal with a change of harmony. The chord symbols on the score should help.

I really enjoyed learning this piece. And it’s great to play for friends after dinner!

 

Get hold of the new issue No 97 now and start learning it! And if you’re looking for something a little more classical then there’s an array of composers to choose from: Diabelli, Brahms, Chopin, Schumann, Granados, a latin-style Rumba by John Kember and more…

 

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