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Sewing Song

by Thomas Wiggins (Blind Tom)

Thomas Wiggins' life is one of the most incredible episodes in American history. This gorgeous piece is a testimony of his musical gift and talent. Get this score to learn about him, perform this piece and watch an overhead video of it.

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Price: $4

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15 pages
Available in PDF
Published on Nov 1, 2020
Last updated 6 months ago

Who was Thomas Wiggins?

Born into slavery in Georgia, Thomas Wiggins' life was one of the most incredible and moving episodes in American history. Blind and autistic, and so unable to work with other slaves, Thomas found inspiration in the sounds of the natural world and music. He was mesmerized by the notes coming from his owner's young daughters music practice, and by the time he was four, Tom was already playing tunes on the piano.

Thomas Wiggins, or "Blind Tom" as he was called, toured the world playing for celebrities like Mark Twain and the Queen of England, dazzling audiences everywhere. His concerts brought in staggering sums, but he enjoyed few of the benefits of this wealth. The family of his former enslavers, the Bethunes, conveniently became Wiggins’ legal guardian after abolition and became rich off of the pianist’s talent. By any measure, Wiggins was a remarkable prodigy. The world he perceived was alive with vibration and his ear was so sensitive he could ‘see’ objects around him.

Wiggins' compositions often sampled popular music and offer interpretations of natural and mechanical sounds. His works are exclusively for the keyboard. Balancing what little is known of Wiggins' own perceptions of his life and career with the blatant manipulations of the Bethune family is a complicated task.

A musical genius, Thomas Wiggins' life offers a window into the culture of celebrity and racism at the turn of the twentieth century. 

What's this piece like?

The Sewing Song is an extraordinary piece that combines heartfelt and tender moments with fiery and passionate sections. The piece’s subtitle present in the original publication writes ‘Imitation of the sewing machine’.

A perfect example of Wiggins’ extraordinary ability to transform everyday sounds into poetic piano music. The writing is clean and very pianistic, making this a great piece for late intermediate pianists.

Throughout the main section, this piece will help you develop lyrical phrasing and fine control over the left hand, while keeping the right hand with an even and clear sound. 

Who is it good for?

This lyrical piece is a great choice for late intermediate or early advanced level pianists with a solid foundation and strong technique.

The main challenge for the right hand accompaniment patterns is to keep them steady and with an even sound. The chords in the left hand are large and many can be rolled depending on the size of your hand. Voicing the top notes in these chords is key to make the make the melody shine above everything else.

Sewing Song

by Thomas Wiggins (Blind Tom)

Thomas Wiggins' life is one of the most incredible episodes in American history. This gorgeous piece is a testimony of his musical gift and talent. Get this score to learn about him, perform this piece and watch an overhead video of it.

Price: $4

Buy now
Overall rating

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(2 reviews)
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6 months ago by zeus88
Love it

Such a beautiful song... the video from the top helped me get through it.

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