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Shoukei: Seven Early Intermediate Level Piano Solos, Book 1.

Shoukei: Seven Early Intermediate Level Piano Solos, Book 1, by Naoko Jkeda. Willis Music Company (P.O. Box 548, Florence, KY 41022), 2004. 19 pp. $4.95. Intermediate.

Shoukei is a Japanese word that can refer to either a "short rest or recess" or a feeling of "longing." The lovely cover and title of this collection give the impression that Asian-themed music will be contained within but, in fact, these seven pieces include a variety of styles.

Though the book is labeled "early intermediate," some pieces could be considered mid-intermediate level, given a few of the articulation, rhythm and hands-together challenges. "Moon Flute" is rather mystical, with a repeated right-hand motive accompanied by blocked harmonies that move hauntingly by half steps.

A middle section marked "poco piu mosso" features a left-hand pentatonic ostinato before returning to the original theme. The influence of "new age" piano can be heard in both this piece and in "Sakura," through the generous use of pedal and repeated arpeggiated figures. Although the famous Japanese folk tune is not the basis for this version of "Sakura," the same spirit of melancholy prevails. The four-note broken chords, in the middle section, use hand crossings to provide a full, dramatic sound.

For a completely different mood, "Beachside Step" features a playful, lighthearted motive, staccatos and lilting rhythms throughout.

"Habanera" continues this upbeat mood with a very Latin sounding left-hand ostinato and blocked thirds in the melody. A middle section includes rolled chords that suggest the guitar and provide harmonic interest. The last piece in the collection, entitled "You," sounds somewhat like a theme song or a popular ballad.

Also included are the pieces, "Little Lavender" and "Bicycling." Most of the pieces in this collection have a pleasing, pretty sound, and would appeal to the intermediate student looking for something fresh and new. Reviewed by Jennifer Merry, NCTM, Glenview, Illinois.
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Author:Merry, Jennifer
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Aug 1, 2005
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