Last year I had the idea for Dozens of Duets and started to compose some new music and in no time I had approximately eighty works to include in the series of books. This first part of the process was interesting and enjoyable, creating new music and revisiting compositions from the nearly forgotten past, all with the purpose of including them in the collections.
The second part of the process, the reviewing, assessing and grading of the music to put with similar standard others, took much longer. The collection had grown to ninety six works and each of these needed to be judged for inclusion in books ranging from: Book 1 very easy to Book 8 recital music and most points in between with more emphasis on the easy repertoire.
The original plan was to compose a series of books of duets for most instruments, similar to the Study Suite for… book that has been used in music departments as standardisation repertoire, but this soon transformed into collections that are more instrument specific. The more the music became targeted to individual instruments then more music was composed and the database of music is now into the hundred and twenties and I have only published five from twenty planned Book 1s and one of the Book 2s. If everything goes to plan there would eventually be eight books of twelve duets written for twenty different instruments, six down one hundred and fifty four to go.
To get a good understanding of how each instrument is taught from basics I have had a number of conversations with expert teachers and in the early books the focus is on which notes and music pupils can relate to and attain during the first part of their journey learning the instrument. In these detailed discussions it was revealing to hear comments about exam systems, with their reliance on playing a major or minor scale in an octave, that do not fully inspire and challenge during these early stages. These discussions have then led to more compositions and the creative process has started again.
The books are published as digital downloads with all the early examples created in a landscape format for the flexibility of on-screen and/or print use and the books now available are: