The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is an excerpt from the famous ballet, “The Nutcracker” composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It was first performed in December 1892 (that’s 128 years ago!)— and it continues to be one of the most widely celebrated and performed ballets to this day.
The libretto, or the story that loosely inspired this ballet, is about a girl who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve and wages a battle against an evil Mouse King.Prior to its debut, Tchaikovsky had taken a trip from Russia to America for the opening of Carnegie Hall, returning home via Paris. It was here where he discovered a new instrument, the celesta, a piano-like instrument that strikes metal plates instead of strings. Its clear, bell-like tone was perfectly fitted for The Nutcracker’s fairy-tale ambience, specifically the “voice” of his Sugar Plum Fairy. He immediately wrote to his publisher, asking that the instrument be acquired for the performance. (Source)
The original score for The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy can be rather complex so we’ve done some slick arranging to put it in a format that Prodigies students will better understand. We’ve transposed this version from its original key to fit the 20-desk bell range and we’ve simplified many of the chord voicings from the complex sounds in the original score.
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is arranged in the key of C Minor and features melodic motif development, chromatic movement and lots of 7th chord harmony.