Notes from Panto Music 2018.

SPOILER ALERT – if by any chance you are going to the Christmas Panto in Sligo and don’t want to know what the songs are, don’t read any further…

I have spent the morning charting out the songs for the upcoming Coolera Dramatic Society production of Rumpelstiltskin – it’s always an interesting gig because there is a huge cross-section of music in it. Here are some reflections…

  • Songs come in all shapes and sizes. For example, It Takes Two (Rod Stewart and Tina Turner version) has a verse which is 16 bars long yet only has one chord. In the first 16 bars of the verse of Jingle Bell Rock (Glee version), the chords change 29 times.
  • Songs from musicals usually have more complicated chords and more stops than pop songs.
  • Christmas songs are often written in the form of the traditional jazz standard (AABA). However the B section in Christmas songs seems to start on the 4 chord far more often than jazz standards do.
  • Everything Changes (Take That) is possibly the most interesting number I came across today. It’s unusual in that it mixes 90s pop sounds with some unexpected Motown-esque chord changes. It also starts with a strong major7 chord, and I will add it to the list of songs to play for my students when trying to show them what a major7 chord sounds like.


For anyone interested, the list so far isn’t very long, but includes Gymnopedie No. 1 (Erik Satie), and What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye). Please feel free to add to it in the comments.


I'm Kieran and I play piano. Actually I do a bit more than just playing - I teach others how to play, and I write music, arrange it and host/produce shows.

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