1. Strings sheet music cover of Three Woodland Dances, composed by Jeffrey Hart.

Three Woodland Dances

Composer Jeffrey Hart

This piece explores different landscapes encountered on an outdoor adventure. Based in A minor, the mood of The Woodland Path is an eager and jaunty 6|8, and the performers should reflect this in the note length they employ. The theme is first presented by the first violins, with the cellos joining an octave lower in bar 9. The excitement builds into bar 17, where the first violins present the theme in divisi. At bar 25, the path begins to twist and turn, and the mood becomes increasingly exciting. But at bar 37, the cellos and basses set a new scene; our traveler has suddenly encountered an opening along their path that leads to a quiet grove of giant, ancient trees.

The performers should take note of the new key (E minor), style (connected), time signature (4|4), and tempo in Ancient Grove, which begins at bar 45. During this section, communicating the dynamic swells effectively is an important area of focus. The climax of Ancient Grove occurs at bar 53, with the melody in the first violins, accompanied by undulating arpeggios; imagine the traveler gazing upward in awe of their surroundings. The theme of this section appears once more at bar 57, presented by the cellos and basses, and ending in E major.

Our traveler then journeys out of the Ancient Grove and into a Rolling Meadow at bar 62. Again, take note of the new key (B minor), style (lightly separated), time signature (3|4), and tempo. The violin and cello solos echo one another in their presentation of the new melody (bar 62) before joining together in harmony (bar 70). At bar 78, the accompaniment figures must be sure to match their timing and note length underneath the first violin divisi melody. At bar 86, the presentation of the melody is more full and lush, with the second violins providing a counter-melody, while the lower strings rise and fall like the hills they are depicting. At 94, the violin and cello duo returns; communication of timing will be very important here before the return to The Woodland Path.

I hope you, your performers, and your audience enjoy this piece! -Jeff

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