Songs Without Words (digital version) - Peter Saltzman
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Songs Without Words (digital version)

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Songs Without Words (Intermediate version) is a collection of 20 lyrical piano pieces in contemporary styles.

For the print version, please go here.

Here are my recordings of some featured pieces in the book…

NOTE: This is the digital version (pdf) meant for printing at home. For the professionally printed and bound version, please go here.

Dive into Peter Saltzman’s "Songs Without Words," a captivating collection of intermediate piano pieces that traverse contemporary styles, from the pulse of dance-pop to the grace of ballads and the imaginative worlds of movie and video game music to the soul of the blues.

More than a series of compositions, this collection comes with the composer's insights into each piece's structure and challenges, providing players with a deeper understanding of technical and musical expression. It also includes exercises for improvisation and composition, offering avenues to enhance and personalize the learning experience.

In the introductory remarks, the composer states: “Each composition in this collection found first life during lessons with my students, mainly over the last two years, always serving a dual purpose: to educate and to enchant. They were not originally intended to fill a book; they were crafted in the moment to offer something beyond the confines of the method books – a piece that resonated with the individual in front of me.”

The result is a rich collection of highly lyrical piano music accessible to intermediate and advanced intermediate pianists of all ages.


Below is the Introduction from the Book:

Each composition in this collection found first life during lessons with my students, mainly over the last two years, always serving a dual purpose: to educate and to enchant. They were not originally intended to fill a book; they were crafted in the moment to offer something beyond the confines of the method books – a piece that resonated with the individual in front of me.

The idea to compile these pieces into "Songs Without Words" emerged about a year ago, recognizing that my intermediate students could benefit from a dedicated volume. Beginners will have their spotlight in a forthcoming collection, and for the more seasoned pianists, I plan to release advanced works, which I’ve been writing for myself, in the next few years.

This compilation is not a method book but a mosaic of short, focused pieces in contemporary styles. By contemporary, I don’t mean contemporary classical, but the vibrant tapestry of pop, film, and video game music that has evolved over the past 60 years. My formative years in the '60s and '70s no doubt color these melodies, but their appeal spans generations, as proven by the enthusiastic reception from both young and adult students.

Though not a method, I offer suggestions for expanding on several of the pieces through improvisation. At the beginning of each piece, I also give a few ideas on technical issues and how the compositions are constructed.

Of course, I borrowed the title of “Songs Without Words” from Felix Mendelson’s collection of piano pieces from the early 19th century. As a kid, I played several of those. They are beautiful but aren't the inspiration for this set. Instead, it is the idea behind the title: to create something songlike without the lyrics. Like Mendelson’s compositions, these are designed specifically for the piano. They are not transcriptions of pop songs or film themes.

I have provided suggested difficulty levels in the table of contents and at the beginning of each piece. They are not solely based on technique but on rhythmic intricacies and other musical factors.

My aim is that you find joy and fulfillment in the practice and performance of these pieces, which are not meant as technical feats but as musical expressions to be cherished and shared.

Peter Saltzman, February 2024

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Each composition in this collection found first life during lessons with my students, mainly over the last two years, always serving a dual purpose: to educate and to enchant. They were not originally intended to fill a book; they were crafted in the moment to offer something beyond the confines of the method books – a piece that resonated with the individual in front of me.

The idea to compile these pieces into “Songs Without Words” emerged about a year ago, recognizing that my intermediate students could benefit from a dedicated volume. Beginners will have their spotlight in a forthcoming collection, and for the more seasoned pianists, I plan to release advanced works, which I’ve been writing for myself, in the next few years.

This compilation is not a method book but a mosaic of short, focused pieces in contemporary styles. By contemporary, I don’t mean contemporary classical, but the vibrant tapestry of pop, film, and video game music that has evolved over the past 60 years. My formative years in the ’60s and ’70s no doubt color these melodies, but their appeal spans generations, as proven by the enthusiastic reception from both young and adult students.

But while not a method, I offer suggestions for expanding on several of the pieces through improvisation. At the beginning of each piece, I also give a few ideas on technical issues and how the compositions are constructed.

Of course, I borrowed the title of “Songs Without Words” from Felix Mendelson’s collection of piano pieces from the early 19th century. As a kid, I played several of those. They are beautiful but aren’t the inspiration for this set. Instead, it is the idea behind the title: to create something songlike without the lyrics. Like Mendelson’s compositions, these are designed specifically for the piano. They are not transcriptions of pop songs or film themes.

I have provided suggested difficulty levels in the table of contents and at the beginning of each piece. They are not solely based on technique but on rhythmic intricacies and other musical factors.

My aim is that you find joy and fulfillment in the practice and performance of these pieces, which are not meant as technical feats but as musical expressions to be cherished and shared.

Peter Saltzman, February 2024