Piano Puzzlers

We welcome Geelong piano teacher Helen O’Brien to our review team and thank her for this review.


This book represents an unusual compilation of pieces originating from mash-ups presented for radio. The idea was to combine famous works in a well-disguised manner in order to discover the unique styles of composers. In other words, these pieces are best described as quasi-pastiches.

The works require a certain degree of musical familiarity with many styles and some of the songs referenced may or may not be well-known to Australian students. One of the best uses for this book— apart from the entertainment value, especially for adult students who may be more acquainted with some of the obscure choices— is to use it for composition study. Because of modern copyright laws, the age-old fashion for writing pastiches as part of the learning process —something done in both literary and musical fields— has been somewhat stifled. This book is about compositional exploration, that is, taking known ideas and synthesizing them into a completely new composition, hence the allusion to puzzles.

For anyone familiar with Arthur Wilson’s Beatlecracker Suite, this set of pieces could be best described as belonging to that genre of writing.

Certainly an interesting book but probably best kept for older students.

Item code is 42709 and it is now available from your favourite music retail store.