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The Lion's Tale

18 piano solos for the early reader
Designed for the early reader, these piano solos are intended to explore contemporary sounds and colours. This collection was inspired by the Northern Lights Canadian National Conservatory of Music's Composers & Kids program.



20 Elementary Solos
Red Leaf Pianoworks Anthology, Volume I, 20 Elementary Piano Solos by composers Joanne Bender, John Burge, Martha Hill Duncan, Janet Gieck, Susan Griesdale, Rebekah Maxner, Beverly Porter, Teresa Richert, Peter Rudzik

Rainy Days for Solo Piano, 2015

Elementary to Intermediate, Cdn. Gr. 1 - 5
These playful pieces are dedicated to my dearest playmates Rebecca and Michael, growing up in Houston, Texas, and are inspired by rainy days stuck indoors.  Gr. 1: Pillow Fight, Gr. 2: 52 Pickup, Gr. 3: Monkeys on the Bed, Rock, Paper Scissors, Paper Dolls, Gr. 4: Paper Airplanes, Crazy 8s, 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, Gr. 5: Canasta, Dear Diary, In The Mirror

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Pillow Fight


Monkeys on the Bed


Rock, Paper, Scissors


Paper Dolls


Paper Airplanes






Dear Diary


In the Mirror


1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi


Zarzamora Suite for Solo Piano, 2014

Late Intermediate - Advanced, Cdn. Gr. 7-10
Zarzamora Suite is loosely based on five Spanish street names, that figured prominently in my life as a child and young adult in Austin and San Antonio, Texas.  1. Zarzamora was inspired by my father's street car memories, my grandmother's zippy driving and my own experience of learning to drive on hilly San Antonio streets.  2. Dolorosa touches on bittersweet memories.  3. Mariposa was the street I lived on during university years in Austin. 4. Brazos is an Austin street and was written for my husband Martin, who I met on a train to Mexico City.  5. Guadalupe is known as the "drag" in Austin and is home to a colorful mix of students, shops, vendors, congestion and academia. M.H. Duncan, 2014

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If Dogs Could Talk, 13 Playful Piano Pieces

Beginner/Prep - Level 2
These 13 playful piano pieces with accompanying melodic poetry are designed to develop rhythm, reading and pitch matching skills for eager beginners up to Level 2. They are short but are filled with expressive details, two handed dialogue and contrasting legato and staccato touches to help bring the musical stories to life.  They were previously published in two volumes entitled IF DOGS COULD TALK and FLYING HORSES, TALKING FISH. In this 2018 version, the 2 volumes have been combined into one and the poetry has been removed from scores and printed separately for clearer notation and more freedom to use as teachers and students see fit. M.H. Duncan, 2018

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Limestone Etchings

LIMESTONE ETCHINGS is a collection of piano works paired with original pencil drawings by artist Spencer Hope. This musical and visual collaboration honors the picturesque and historic city of Kingston, Ontario. Other titles published separately are the piano duets Hollyhocks and The Old Stone Church.
1. THE WAR MEMORIAL is inspired by The War Memorial on the shores of Lake Ontario and has a Celtic flavor reflecting the background of the Kingston families whose fallen sons are honored. Distant drums and cannons remind us of a sorrowful past but the bells toll for a brighter future. 2.KINGSTON MILLS LOCKS is my musical attempt to depict the past and present of the most southerly component of the Rideau Canal System. The grinding of the locks mechanism, present day boating and a haunting underwater scene underscore this beautiful, poignant and historical landmark. Many lives were lost in the building of the locks, but they still operate today marking the resolve of early settlers to navigate a new homeland. 3. ON THE POND Imagine a shivery winter morning surrounded by ice fog with the sun just beginning to peek through. The lone skater christens the pristine ice first with easy glides, then more energetic spins and jumps, an exquisite solitary moment amid the natural winter magic. 4. AT CITY HALL The closing piece follows the bustling and energetically charged outdoor rink from the first skater of the day to the last straggler of the night. A variety of skaters are featured including beginners and experienced, along with rambunctious teenagers and romantic couples. MH Duncan

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The War Memorial


Kingston Mills Locks


1. On the Pond


2. At City Hall


Angular Measures for Solo Piano, 2008

Late Intermediate to Advanced ~ Cdn. Gr. 7 - 9

Angular Measures for Solo Piano, 2008 -- With CD ---

Four explorations of reverberant sound and rhythm with opposing black and white keys between the hands. Quadrangle (Cdn. Gr. 7) explores a projected LH line,under RH clusters.  Pentangle (Cdn. Gr. 8) focuses on strong driving rhythms and colorful drumming effects. Triangle (Cdn. Gr. 7/8)  imitates a triangle with percussive tingling, accellerandos and pedal effects. Tangle (Cdn. Gr. 9) is mystical and lyrical with gong effects in the bass. M.H. Duncan, 2008

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Cottage Days for Solo Piano, 2008

Elementary to Intermediate, Cdn. Gr. 1 - 5,

Cottage Days, 2008 --- With CD ---

This summer collection consists of  ten colorful  soundscapes and one playful elementary "dog" duet. Opening the day with Misty Morning (Cdn. Gr. 1) the pieces move through the day with  Summer Lightning (Cdn. Gr. 2) and Rowboat at the Dock (Cdn. Gr. 4) where the player is asked to simulate the knocking of a boat against a dock.  Cicadas and Cattails (Cdn. Gr. 3) and Dragonflies, Waterlilies and Sandcastles (Cdn. Gr. 5-6) use cross overs and pedal to create a sonorous and expressive buildup.  Fire Circle (Cdn. Gr. 3) and August Moon (Cdn. Gr. 5) close the day and the season.    M.H. Duncan, 2008

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Misty Morning


Summer Lightning


Rowboat at the Dock






Dragon Flies


Sand Castles


Fire Circle


August Moon


The Dog That Was and The Dog That Is* (Piano Duet)


Isla Vista Suite for Solo Piano, 2008

Late Intermediate - Advanced, RCM Gr. 7 - 9

Isla Vista Suite for Solo Piano, 2008 --- With CD ---

Isla Vista is a colorful and lively community bordered by the Pacific Ocean and UC, Santa Barbara. My family and I share memories of eucalyptus groves, tidepools, the over-wintering site for the monarch butterfly and the dry and dangerous Santa Ana winds. M.H. Duncan, 2008

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- NEW RCM Grade 7The Eucalyptus Grove




- NEW RCM Grade 9Monarchs


- NEW RCM Grade 9Santa Ana Winds


Precipitations for Solo Piano, 2009

Late Intermediate to Advanced, Cdn. Grades 7 - 9

Precipitations, 2009 --- With CD ---

Seven highly contrasted "weather-related" soundscapes that can be played individually or as a complete recital set.  They sound much harder than they actually are, and use frequent patterning, shifting harmonies, extended pedal effects and rhythmic drumming between the hands.  Gr. 7: First Snow, Sunshower and  Drizzle, Gr. 8: Sundog, Dryspell and Hail. Gr. 9: Racing the Storm. M.H. Duncan, 2009

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Dry Spell


Racing the Storm




First Snow




The Sunken Garden for Solo Piano, 2008

Advanced, RCM Gr. 10
This three movement work, commissioned by Mexican-Canadian pianist Jorge Suarez, was inspired by The Sunken Gardens and Theater built in an abandoned limestone quarry in San Antonio, Texas. The movements are designed to be played either individually or straight through with a gentle lead in between each.  1. The Japanese Tea Garden is set amidst limestone and water and reflects the stratified nature of the garden.  2. The River speaks to it's  timeless flow, starting as a tiny trickle and making its way through the land.  3. The Theater in its outdoor and casual setting pays tribute to my Texas upbringing with its warm nostalgic and Hispanic flavor.  M.H. Duncan, 2008

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- NEW RCM Grade 10The Japanese Tea Garden

- NEW RCM Grade 10 (Pianist: Kaleigh Alkenbrack)The River


- NEW RCM Grade 10 (Pianist: Kaleigh Alkenbrack)The Theatre

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