Ballet Class Music by Robert Long

Piano music for ballet class: Barre and Center Practice

1. Ballet Class Music: Ballet Etudes

How to order Ballet Class Music: Ballet Etudes in CD and download formats
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Ballet Class Music: Ballet Etudes for ballerinas, ballet instructors and dance students, by

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In all of my ballet music albums, barre selections are played twice for classroom convenience

2. Ballet Class Music: Etudes II

How to order Ballet Class Music: Etudes II Album in CD and download formats
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Ballet Class Music: Etudes II for ballet instructors, dance professionals and ballet students, by

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Ballet class music for center floor practice includes pirouettes, adage, petit allegro, batterie and grand allegro

3. Ballet Class Music: Etudes Volume 3

How to order Ballet Class Music: Etudes Volume 3 in CD and download formats
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Ballet Class Music: Etudes Volume 3 for teachers and students of ballet, early majors level, by

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Hello, I’m Robert Long. Thanks for visiting my site.

It has often been said that the choreography of ballet is rooted in the music, but for me, the experience has been somewhat different. From an early stage I became fascinated with musically interpreting the balletic movements I was witnessing, and that is, to a large extent, how I learned ballet accompaniment.

You can read customers’ comments by clicking on “Testimonials” in the menu, and there’s a bit more about me on my “Welcome!” page. Or you can contact me (click on my name) if you have any questions or comments about music for ballet class and my albums.

More Ballet Music Information:

The National Ballet of Canada has recently featured “Giselle” (June, 2016). This is a landmark ballet of the Romantic period, but the composer of the music, Adolphe Adam, is probably better known to most people for his Christmas hymn, “O Holy Night”. Adam was also a well known teacher, whose pupils included another important ballet composer, Leo Delibes. More on Wikipedia:
Adolphe Adam

With sincere thanks to friends and listeners, I am pleased to announce that I now have a third YouTube video which has surpassed the 100,000 visitors plateau:
Ballet Class Music: Barre and Center Floor Practice

For ballet teachers and pianists who like to use repertory music in their classes whenever possible, the following video has several well known ballet selections transcribed for piano. Each selection is presented with a helpful title, the ballet it comes from and the Act and Scene where it can be found.
Ballet music pieces transcripted for Piano

I don’t imagine that there are many books or articles devoted to the subject of ballet music, or music specifically written for ballet. Some years ago, I came across a book by British composer and author Humphrey Searle, entitled, simply, “Ballet Music”. For a subject that isn’t likely to inspire huge amounts of enthusiasm, I found certain sections to be quite intriguing. Of interest to musicians would be the instructions given to Tchaikovsky by Marius Petipa for the music of the Nutcracker. Professional ballerinas will relate to a dancer’s bewilderment when finally dancing to the orchestra’s performance of the music, after endless rehearsals of hearing it banged out on a piano. Searches show that this book may be available at Amazon, or Google Books (published by Dover Publications).

The music of Franz Schubert can be a very fertile source of music for ballet class. He is very melodic and renowned for his numerous songs (and of course many other works). There are several examples of what ballet instructors refer to as “square” phrasing, that is musical phrases of 8 or 16 bars, or multiples of 8 or 16. Here’s an excerpt from his ballet music from Rosamunde:
Franz Schubert : Ballet Music in G, from ‘Rosamunde’

Another composer whose music can be put to good use in ballet class instruction is Felix Mendelssohn. Like Schubert, he is an outstanding melodist, and his pleasant, tuneful music is often in phrases that are easy for learning dancers to follow. Here is an excerpt from The Dream, a ballet created using the music of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
The Dream

Jonathan Still, a musician who has composed, arranged and produced for the Royal Academy of Dance, expresses his views about music for ballet class instruction, including a few that contradict some of my ideas expressed in the above two entries. This is a fascinating article for ballet teachers and pianists:
Can I have the wrong music please? Revisiting music for ballet class

One of the problems of sticking to “square” musical phrasing (strict 8-bar or 16-bar phrasing) for music in ballet class, is you might end up using some rather dreary, uninspired or thoroughly overused pieces. That is why I made mention above of composers like Schubert and Mendelssohn, composers of high quality music with phrasing that is often easily understood and followed. Another composer is Giacomo Puccini, an opera composer of many famous arias. From Madame Butterfly, I have made great use of “Un bel di vedremo” as a 3/4 adage. There’s also a beautiful Intermezzo from Manon Lescaut. And then, from Gianni Schicchi, there’s the famous “O Mio Babbino Caro”, presented to us in the following example with some lovely young ballet dancers:
Ballet sur Puccini: O Mio Babbino Caro – Suzalie

Beethoven and Mozart are less frequently mentioned when it comes to ballet music, but both men did write for ballet, and there are useful pieces of music in their general repertories as well. In Beethoven’s “Pathetique” piano sonata (No. 8, Op. 13), the second movement provides a beautiful 4/4 adage (and for pianists who can cheat, it can be played in 3/4 as well). In the following example, Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca (piano sonata No. 11), there are several sprightly musical phrases that are easy to follow and “catchy” for young ballet students to listen and dance to:
Mozart – “Turkish March” (HD) | Rondo Alla Turca | Free Classical Music

Many famous operas contain sections devoted to ballet, one example being “Faust” by the French composer Charles Gounod. The ballet music for this opera is presented in the video directly below, and there are several selections that are useful for ballet class. The entire video is well worth listening to, but I’ve marked the time locations of some useful selections:

00.24: waltz
03.05: 4/4 adage
07.32: brisk 4/4, possibly for frappes or serres
08.53: 4/4, I have used it for grands battements
11.10: lyrical 6/8
13.16: nice, bright 4/4
15.14: final allegro, to scare everyone to death

Charles Gounod – “Faust”, Musique de ballet

Another great opera, Georges Bizet’s “Carmen” has numerous tuneful arias, choruses and entr’acte selections that may be put to good use as music for ballet class. Here is just on of many possibilities, the Seguidilla waltz:
George Bizet: Carmen Suite #1 – Seguidilla

Broadway musicals are another excellent source of selections that are useful for ballet class music. Here’s just one of many, the wonderful Carousel Waltz (especially from 1.23 onwards):
“The Carousel Waltz”

For something a bit more modern, I have occasionally played my own transcription of a selection from Aaron Copland’s ballet “Billy the Kid”. If I’m not mistaken, it happens right after poor Billy has been shot, and everyone heads back to the saloon. Some of the phrasing may have to be altered, but the music is very intriguing, with rhythms that are very useful for several different ballet class exercises (the selection commences at 4.40 in the following video):
Copland / Billy the Kid (Complete Ballet): 2/3

You can listen to the complete ballet music of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet with the convenience of a complete list of Acts, Scenes and Musical Numbers (time markings provided):
Prokofiev – Romeo and Juliet (Complete Ballet Music)

With sincere thanks to all my friends and supporters, I would like to announce that I now have a second YouTube video which has surpassed the plateau of 100,000 visits:
Ballet Music for Class: Barre and Center Floor Practice

I’ve recently discovered a web page from a UK site that has a brief write up on ballet and ballet music, aimed at school children. There are also links to three important Russian ballet composers: Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Stravinsky, with articles that are also brief and aimed at younger students:
Ballet – Kids Music Corner

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