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audio sample (Deliciosa Polka; more samples on each CD page)
latest CD: Returning Heroes
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Welcome to The Waltz Books page. As a backup pianist for contradances, I created the first waltz book in 1992 to give working musicians a wider common repertoire of these beautiful tunes. I had no idea how popular that book and its sequels would become. Each book is $15. For detailed information about each volume, click on the cover images below.
To order with a credit card, visit our secure online store or call toll-free: 866-412-5943
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Many musicians have praised the wonderful tune selection ("finally -- a music book where I enjoy almost every single tune!"), the clear notation, a layout that makes it easy for several musicians to read off the same book, chord symbols for backup musicians, and the heavy-duty spiral binding. Beginning and closet musicians have found the tunes inspiring, slower and easier than jigs or reels, and very rewarding for the time and effort invested.
Waltz Book II followed in 1995, with 23 more tunes than the first book. A few of these are more challenging waltzes. As with the first book, the tunes are arranged alphabetically for quick access during gigs. Both include brief stories from the composers and/or information about the source of the tune. Read what critic Mary Larsen of Fiddler Magazine had to say about the first two waltz books below. (View a sample page from Waltz Book II: Give Me Your Hand)
Waltz Book III was published in June 2002. Like its predecessors, it contains a mix of traditional and composed tunes. In addition to Scandinavian waltzes, it contains new and traditional tunes from bluegrass, French Canadian, Irish and Shetland tradtions. It also contains a number of Latin waltzes, plus French musette and Breton waltzes. (View a sample page from Waltz Book III: Inisheer)
Waltz Book IV, published in 2013, was several years in the making. It contains 75 wonderful waltzes, with more newly composed tunes than previous books. Bill only intended to include 60-some tunes but had such a hard time narrowing down his long list of suggestions and large (!) box of submissions that he ended up with the longest book yet. This volume shares the same format as previous Waltz Books, with a similar mix of easy and more challenging tunes. (View a sample page from Waltz Book IV: She Left a Star)
The Waltz Book and The Waltz Book II are a couple of must-haves for the waltz lover. Book One (The Waltz Book) contains 52 waltzes, some traditional, and some from great fiddlers and composers such as Jay Ungar, Jerry Holland, Bob McQuillen, and Pete Sutherland. Many favorites are included: Midnight on the Water ... My Own Home ... Sheebeg & Sheemore ... Tombigbee Waltz ... Westphalia ... McQuillen's Amelia, and Ungar's Ashokan Farewell. Book One also includes a good article called Thoughts on Harmony by David Kaynor, and a very helpful section called Notes on Piano Accompaniment for Waltzes by Bill Matthiesen. Book II contains 74 waltzes, mostly less common than those in the first book, with a combination of modern and traditional tunes. This book contains several tunes that are more challenging, in their notes or their chords, but also contains plenty that will be accessible to even the beginning fiddler. Some of the composers represented in this volume include Kenny Baker, O'Carolan, Bob McQuillen, Jay Ungar, Johnny Cunningham, James Scott Skinner, Pete Sutherland, George Wilson, Molly Mason, and Varise Connor.
No matter what your favorite styles are, you'll find plenty in these books to keep you amused for a long time. Styles include old-time, Scottish, Irish, Cajun, Scandinavian, New England, French, and more. What they have in common is 3/4 time and the fact that they're worth playing and dancing to.
Another great thing about these books are the quotes from many of the tunesmiths on how the tunes were written, as well as their addresses, in case you want to tell them how much you enjoy a particular piece. In many cases, discography information is also included. Chords are given for all tunes in both books. If you enjoy waltzes, you'll be in waltz heaven with these books!Return to top of page
Links to a few related sites that may interest you...