SD1009: Snakes Alive

Snakes Alive
Stephen Dunstone

Cover imageSnakes Alive
Somewhat mixed ability, but nothing demanding 4-part harp ensemble
with optional extra Melody Only and Simpler Accompanimental parts

Please click the "About this work & Performance Notes" heading below for further details

This book is supplied as a score and set of 6 parts


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Artist Profile and catalogue of works - Stephen Dunstone

Audio Sample

About this work & Performance Notes

Snakes Alive

There are six parts as follows::-

Harp 1
Harp 2
Harp 3
Harp 4
Harp 5 (optional)
Melody only (optional)


I wrote Snakes Alive as one of three new ensembles for a Harps North West workshop entitled “Some Like It Cool”. The idea was to create a really slinky, bluesy piece that was relatively easy to play for not-very-advanced harpists, but still gave all the players something to get their teeth into.

The accompanimental music in all the parts is technically very easy, mostly, though still requires a modicum of concentration, a feel for the swung rhythm, and an ability to click one’s fingers and change levers swiftly. Those passages should be fun to play despite their simplicity, because each player is a crucial part of the irresistibly cool harmony (well, I find it irresistible...).

In addition to the accompanimental material, each part has its moment in the spotlight, each taking its turn to play a verse of the melody, as well as a 2-bar share of the melody in verse 6.

I’ve organised the material so that the Harp 4 part is for the least experienced players, with Harps 3 and 2 each correspondingly more tricky. The Harp 1 players will need to be a little more nifty than the others, partly because their verse is noticeably more difficult, and partly because whenever one of the other parts has the melody, the Harp 1 players have to take over the missing harmony.

As well as the four parts that appear in the score, I’ve provided an optional Harp 5 part, which contains the same material as the Harp 4 part but without any of the spotlight moments, in case there are players who want to participate but feel a little less confident. There’s also a kind of “Harp 1 on steroids” Melody Only part, which (logically enough) contains all the melodies, in case it’s useful to have someone giving some extra support during those passages.

Library Information

Title: Snakes Alive
Composer: Stephen Dunstone
Instrumentation: 4 Lever or Pedal Harps + optional parts
Level: Somewhat mixed ability, but nothing demanding
Format: A4 stapled score and set of 6 A4 parts
Weight: 180gm
ISMN: 979-0-57046-317-6
Our Ref: SD1009
Publisher: Creighton's Collection
Printer/Distributor: Creighton's Collection
Edition/Year: 2019
Origin: UK

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