Free sheet music from British Composer Award winner Peter McGarr

Peter McGarr, winner of the Making Music category in the 2013 British Composer Awards, has very generously made his music available as a free download from our website:

I’m not bothered about hire fees etc., all I really want is for as many people to play my music as possible.

Peter McGarr is influenced by the sounds and culture of the Northern English people and landscape. He is inspired by the dramatic moorland, urban horizons and volatile weather of this region. He follows in a long tradition of artists and composers who have interpreted the British landscape.

Born 1953, in Manchester and self–taught in composition; for several years he taught steel pan, achieving the Outstanding Performance Award from Music for Youth for his steel band. He has also attained the George Butterworth Award for Contemporary Music and has been nominated for The Paul Hamlyn and Music Teacher of the Year awards.

He currently lives on the edge of Saddleworth Moor in the bleak Lancashire/Yorkshire borderland.

These scores and parts are free to download and perform. If you do decide to perform any of them, please let Peter know:


Sweet Steel Alone (12')
Solo Steel Pan

8 miniatures that explore many aspects and techniques of the Tenor steel pan – it was written for percussionist Simon Limbrick who was recently making a recording of the piece.

Something Lost (12')
Flute and Piano

Inspired by the poem ‘Love Songs in Age’ by Philip Larkin; a woman
discovers the love songs of her youth and this re-awakens lost memories.

An excerpt:

Goodnight, Goodnight (4')
Solo Flute and pre-recorded soundtrack

The Mystery and Melancholy of a Street (10 ')
3 flutes

The strange, surreal world of an empty street in the deserted early hours
of the morning.

Women’s/Girl’s Choir

Two Lullabies (8')

A variety of singing styles weave through these lullabies, including English Cathedral,
Traditional Bulgarian and even ‘Imaginary Gaelic Angels’.

Wyrd Sleep (5')

This set of 10 song fragments evoke the atmosphere of a night from childhood.
The text is drawn from children’s games, Gaelic love songs, a Welsh sampler
and the Runic Alphabet.

Orchestral (flexible instrumentation – capable of performance with variable combinations of instruments)

Dry Stone Walls of Yorkshire (5')
(Winner of the 2013 British Composer Awards –‘Making Music’ category)
Orchestra and Soundtrack

Live performers combine with pre-recorded soundtrack to create the sounds and memories
of the high uplands between Lancashire and Yorkshire. Parts of the Soundtrack are field recordings made on and around Saddleworth Moor.

Imaginary Orchestras (9')

Inspired by a description in A S Byatt’s novel, ‘Possession’, where a 19th century character tries to imagine what an orchestra sounds like.

A complete performance can been seen on youtube, given by Oldham Music Centre Contemporary Music Group:

Recorders (with soundtrack)

Dance Daze (30')

Written for all levels of recorder player and featuring 26 short tracks (average of a minute each) reflecting events from the age of Queen Elizabeth I, including: ‘Arrival of the Royal Potatoes’, ‘The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots’, ‘Chocolate Madrigal’ – and many more. A great hit with it’s young performers.

Wind Band

Magic Autumn Songs (20')

In four movements - ‘Ontario fall’, a description of a Canadian autumn; a ‘Homage to Bob Marley’; a still, near-motionless ‘English Autumn Afternoon’ and finishing with a latin-American dance sequence.

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