Quest for music: Peter Cottontail for Easter

How can a pianist get the sheet music to Peter Cottontail song for Easter Sunday lunch concert? Transcribe from video.

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In preparation for Easter Sunday Lunch Concert on 24th April 2011, I asked the organizers for requests.

“Nice relaxing music, nothing too religious, maybe throw in Peter Cotton Tail Hoppin’ Down the Bunny Trail just for the fun of it!”

I have never heard of this song, much less know of any Easter songs. I asked a colleague if he has heard of it. The American father of four started humming the tune. Could it be a song that kids in the USA grow up with? A tradition even?

In my years of living in London and the Netherlands, this occasion is generally given to orchestras and choirs to perform Bach’s St John’s Passion or the Easter Oratorio or the Mass in B Minor. Usually at Easter, all the violinists I know are hired to play in orchestras. The opera Cavalleria Rusticana takes place on Easter Sunday. What else happens on Easter besides looking for painted eggs?

I googled “Peter CottonTail” and discovered a wealth of information on its creator, its history, the TV series,  a new movie, cartoons, and music. Peter Cottontail is the quintessential Easter Bunny. There are even articles on giving rabbits as an Easter gift! And he turns 40 years old this year.

But where is the sheet music for this song? How am I supposed to play it this Sunday in Kihei?

I went to the local public library. I flipped through a dozen songbooks. No sign of Peter Cottontail.

The sheet music is only available by purchase. Given the short lead time to Easter Sunday, I decided that the best thing to do is to transcribe from the audio version of this song — from Youtube.

Author: BLOGmaiden

As one of the earliest bloggers (since 1999), I enjoy meeting people who embrace "out-of-the-box" thinking and fear not the unknown. I believe in collaboration for sustainability because it increases stakeholder value.

3 thoughts on “Quest for music: Peter Cottontail for Easter”

  1. 20th April 2011: Before committing to listening to the music and figuring out the chords and melody line, I decided to call a choir director who just might have the score. Celia Canty, conductor of Maui Choral Arts, suggested visiting the online store Sheet Music Direct, install a free plug-in, and pay $3.99 for piano/guitar/vocal version or $0.99 for guitar chords/lyrics of the sheet music to Peter Cottontail. This is the 21st century after all! Information at your fingertips and pay per download! This may save me several hours, as I am not set up with computer and piano next to each other in Maui!

  2. Unfortunately I could not download the plug-in successfully. So I contacted Dutch guitarist Robert Bekkers if he had time to listen to the music and write down the chords against the lyrics. As we were exactly 12 hours time zones apart (Netherlands and Hawaii), we could arbitrage the time difference and work together.

    The next day he sent me the notes for piano but not the chords. The version is not the same as the one available on musicnotes.com — it’s closer to the wind quintet version that a Dutch oboeist alluded to. The result? A piano version that sounds just like the accompaniment for the 1950 Gene Autry version. See the 24th April 2011 blog post.

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