Exhibition Pieces

Throughout January 2022 I composed a new piece of music each day, as part of Fun A Day Dundee.
My composition inspirer tool helped to randomly combine keys and moods in 24 different ways . . .

The title of each piece was inspired by an item on display at The McManus, Dundee.
The music ended up in various styles, and on several instruments - and it was a lot of fun to do.

Piano music for all 24 pieces is below, there are various instrumental arrangements over on Face the Music - including brass quartet, flute duet and guitar.

Exhibition Pieces: PDF £5

Complete PDF including all 24 pieces, all clearly laid out with stories about each one.

Exhibition Pieces: Spiral Bound £10

24 pieces, 40 A4-size pages, colour front cover, black and white inside. Price includes UK postage.


24 KEYS: C · Am · G · Em · D · Bm · A · F#m · E · C#m · B · G#m · F# · Ebm · Db · Bb · Ab · Fm · Eb · Cm · Bb · Gm · F · Dm





Calm 'C' - No.1 - C major

The first piece written in this series: a 5-finger tune inspired by a calm painting at The McManus showing Dundee and the Tay.
Moderato, 4/4, beginner level. PDF | mp3 | video










28th December 1879 - No.2 - A minor

Beautiful railway bridge of the silv'ry Tay
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last sabbath day of 1879
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.
William Topaz McGonagall
Originally written for brass quartet.
Grave, 6/8, ~ grade 2 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Dennis the Menace - No.3 - G major

First appearing in 1951, Dennis the Menace is the longest-running strip in the Beano comic, published by Dundee's DC Thomson.
Steady Swing, 4/4, ~ grade 2 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Tangerine / Blue - No.4 - E minor

Originally written on guitar and inspired by the football memorabilia on display at The McManus. Dens Park (Dundee F.C.) and Tannadice Park (Dundee United F.C.) are the two closest football grounds in the UK.
Vivace, 4/4, ~ grade 2 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Log Boat - No.5 - D major

A log boat on display at The McManus, carved from a single log of native oak, was found in the nineteenth century by salmon fishers at Habbiebank, an inner estuary of the Tay. It was dated to the Pictish period, 485 AD.
Steady, 4/4, ~ grade 2 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Standing Stone - No.6 - B minor

Named after a mysterious standing stone on display at The McManus, with a variety of interesting carvings.
Misterioso, 3/4, ~ grade 2 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Cash Register - No.7 - A major

Inspired by the tap-tap-tap of an old cash register, made by The National Cash Register Company, NCR or 'The Cash'.
Agitato, 4/4, ~ grade 6 level. PDF | mp3 | video










No Poll Tax - No.8 - F sharp minor

The title is taken from a poster on display at The McManus, vehement national opposition to the poll tax led to its abolition.
Agitato, 5/4, ~ grade 4 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Do You Bear? - No.9 - E major

Inspired by the stuffed bear at The McManus who roars at you!
Rocky, 4/4, ~ grade 3 level. PDF | mp3 | video










The Old Town - No.10 - C sharp minor

The McManus has a model town showing in great detail how Dundee city centre would have looked in about 1850. The work was commissioned by the museum in the 1930s and carved by Alexander Fair.
Scherzoso, 2/4, ~ grade 4 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Penny Farthing - No.11 - B major

The name of the bicycle came from the penny and farthing coins, the side view resembles a larger penny leading a smaller farthing.
Animato, 3/4, ~ grade 3 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Gloaming - No.12 - G sharp minor

The gloaming comes; the day is spent; the sun goes out of sight; and painted is the Occident with purple sanguine bright. Alexander Hume, Story of a Summer Day.
Adagio Cantabile, 4/4, ~ grade 4 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Tea Pot - No.13 - F sharp major

A tune all on the black keys, with a title inspired by a giant tea pot urging you to "Use Willow Tea". It has been said that, like tea, we don't know our own strength until we're in hot water...
Steady Swing, 4/4, ~ grade 4 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Tay Whale Bones - No.14 - E flat minor

Then hurrah! for the mighty monster whale, which has got seventeen feet four inches from tip to tip of a tail! Which can be seen for a sixpence or a shilling, that is to say, if the people all are willing. William Topaz McGonagall
Steady Swing, 4/4, ~ grade 4 level. | mp3 | video PDF










Sailors Gift - No.15 - D flat major

The title is taken from a sailor's salt bottle of cobalt blue glass painted with brown and gold flowers, used by Mr Nicholas White aboard the whaling ship 'Balaena' which operated from Dundee from 1891 to 1914.
Andante, 4/4, ~ grade 4 level. PDF | mp3 | video










The Mask - No.16 - B flat minor

Inspired by a fierce looking mask on display in the crime and punishment section at The McManus! Originally written for brass quartet.
Largo, 4/4, ~ grade 4 level. PDF | mp3 | video










The Miles Tae Dundee - No.17 - A flat major

The title refers to a display at The McManus, also it features in an old song: "Cold winter was howling o'er moor and o'er mountain, and wild was the surge on the dark rolling sea, when I met aboot daybreak a bonnie wee lassie, wha' asked me the road and the miles tae Dundee."
Optimistically, 4/4, ~ grade 7 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Sterling Silver - No.18 - F minor

The title was taken from a tea set on display at The McManus, presented to a local couple on their silver wedding anniversary.
Allegro, 3/4, ~ grade 6 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Dundee Marmalade - No.19 - E flat major

According to a Scottish legend, the creation of orange marmalade in Dundee occurred by accident. The legend tells of a ship carrying a cargo of oranges that broke down in the port, resulting in some ingenious locals making marmalade out of the cargo. Originally written for brass quartet.
Andante, 4/4, ~ grade 6 level. PDF | mp3 | video










The Mars - No.20 - C minor

Infamous as Dundee's 'bad boys' ship, the TS Mars was anchored on the River Tay from 1869-1929. During that time, she transformed the lives of over 6,000 homeless and destitute boys from across Scotland.
Andante, 4/4, ~ grade 5 level. PDF | mp3 | video










The Ninth Wonder of the World - No.21 - B flat major

The title is from a poster announcing the 'Grand inaugration and opening of the Tay Bridge' on Friday May 31, 1878, with a celebration of this national event and a programme of entertainments . . . little did anyone know it would fall so soon after. Originally written for brass quartet.
Up-beat Swing, 4/4, ~ grade 5 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Prison Door - No.22 - G minor

Inspired by an old prison door displayed at The McManus. And also a wee bit by this: 'Two men looked out from prison bars, one saw the mud, the other saw stars.' Dale Carnegie Originally written for flute + piano.
Dolente, 4/4, ~ grade 3 level. PDF | mp3 | video










View from Balgay - No.23 - F major

From the top of Balgay Hill you can see the River Tay, though today's view is a bit different from the painting by Charles Gustav Louis Phillips on display at The McManus. Originally written for flute + piano.
Adagio, 4/4, ~ grade 4 level. PDF | mp3 | video










Winkie the Pigeon - No.24 - F major

Winkie flew 120 miles from a ditched plane home to Broughty Ferry, and was awarded the Dickin Medal for "delivering a message under exceptional difficulties and so contributing to the rescue of an Air Crew while serving with the RAF in February 1942." Originally written for flute + piano.
Allegretto, 4/4, ~ grade 5 level. PDF | mp3 | video










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