Peanuts Sheet Music

by Derrick Bang

Everybody loves the music that enriches the Peanuts television specials, most of which was composed by the late Vince Guaraldi. A few more ambitious souls, wanting to learn these delightful themes themselves, have discovered a near-impenetrable wall that separates ambition from performance.

In a nutshell, this stuff is hard to find!

Because of its popularity, "Linus and Lucy" is fairly common as a sheet music single. It can be found in the current Warners catalog, from which any good-sized music store should be able to order. By the same token, "Christmas Time is Here" is not hard to find, particularly around the holidays.

From there, the quest becomes difficult. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, Pointer Publications, a division of Hal Leonard/Pointer Publications, put out a series of easy piano books -- the Peanuts Keyboard Fun series -- most of which were adapted from the early TV specials. The books typically contained 32 pages, and the two center pages featured full-color illustrations from the show in question. The musical contents tended to cross over from book to book; in other words,if you had two books, they'd have some of the same songs, and some unique to each book.

For example, the book for "He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown" includes 12 songs, all by Vince Guaraldi: "Baseball Theme," "Blue Charlie Brown," "Bon Voyage," "Happiness Theme," "He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown" (title theme), "Housewife Theme," "Linus and Lucy" (of course!), "Oh, Good Grief," "Peppermint Patty," "Red Baron," "Schroeder" and "Schroeder’s Wolfgang."

These TV score books were $2.95 each, and included the following volumes:
  • "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
  • "Charlie Brown's All Stars"
  • "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"
  • "You're in Love, Charlie Brown"
  • "He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown"
  • "It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown"

Better start practicing!

Pointer also published a score book for the first Peanuts feature film, "A Boy Named Charlie Brown." Aside from some of the familiar Guaraldi tunes, this also includes incidental music by John Scott Trotter (such as "Bus Wheel Blues") and Rod McKuen’s title song, along with the other vocals ("Champion Charlie Brown," etc.).

Additionally, Pointer produced two Organ Fun Books, with the same songs arranged for this instrument. The first book, at $2.95, included a "Peanuts Keyboard Guide and Guide for Parents and Teachers," while the second book, at $1.95, featured a "Peanuts Pointers chart which offers special creative styling techniques." (Probably not the same as a master class from Mr. Guaraldi himself, however...)

Finally, the Peanuts Music Fun Notebook, also at $2.95, "...allows children to learn music through doing -- reading, drawing and coloring exercises. The book features Snoopy Snip-Outs, small flash cards which teach basic fundamentals such as names of notes, note values, rests and rhythm patterns."

These are all long out of print and absolutely impossible to find (although if anybody reading these words owns one or more, I'd sure like to hear about it!).

Thanks to a fan named Marcie (yes, it's really her name!), I learned that a songbook had been published with the music from the second big-screen Peanuts feature, "Snoopy Come Home." This 56-page folio book -- spiral-bound, as all sheet music should be! -- was put out by Charles Hansen Music and Books, 1860 Broadway, New York NY 10023. Based on the copyright dates, it seems to have been released in 1972; its item number is K540. In addition to separate lyrics pages and piano/vocal versions of songs such as "The Best of Buddies" and "Fundamental-Friend-Dependability," the book includes an introduction by Charles Schulz and a brief synopsis of the film, with illustrations. The music itself isn't nearly as complicated as Vince Guaraldi's jazz arrangements, making it possible to become a "Peanuts music wizard" in a few weeks.

In 1984, the Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation, now freed of Pointer Publications, brought out "Charlie Brown’s Greatest Hits" (#HL00240155), originally published at $5.95. This 56-page volume has reasonably complete transcriptions of 18 different songs, all by Vince Guaraldi and arranged by Lee Evans. Hal Leonard has a website, at, where you'll find that it's still possible to order the collection, for $10.95. (There's also a beginner version -- #00240154 -- for $8.95.) You also can order them by calling Music Dispatch, at (800) 637-2852, or by visiting these folks.

Better start practicing!

Debbe Cummings also tells me about Sunhawk Corporation (web address, a service where you can download and print sheetmusic for a small fee. By the time you read these words, they should have some Warner Bros. music scores, among them "Linus and Lucy". It will print and play out for $4.95. Sunhawk hopes that in the future Warner Bros. will be releasing more of Guaraldi's music to them. They can be called at 1-888-SUNHAWK or FAXed at (206) 528-0942.

(It should be noted that sheet music is one aspect of the Peanuts merchandising phenomenon which hasn't yet been seized upon by maniacal fans.)

CPP/Belwin Inc.'s "Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown" (#P0868SMX) is much easier to find...but don't wait too long. These books don't seem to linger in print. This particular 36-page volume has the music for all 11 of the songs found on the CD of the same name, and eight are Guaraldi compositions (including, of course, "Linus and Lucy"). The level of difficulty is higher; these are rich piano transcriptions that sound fabulous when played by somebody who takes the time to learn them well.

Better start practicing!

Better start practicing

Another book, definitely still available, is the songbook to "A Charlie Brown Christmas." It contains all the music from the same-titled CD, and -- better yet -- arranged in Guaraldi's unique style, transcribed for piano by Bill Galliford and David Pugh. So, you not only get Guaraldi Peanuts originals such as "Linus and Lucy" and "Christmas is Coming," you get his jazzy interpretations of "What Child Is This" and "O, Christmas Tree." The transcriptions are dead-on accurate; if your piano is in tune, you can play along with the CD and sound just like the master himself...or, better yet, surprise your friends during the holiday season by launching into a swinging rendition of "The Christmas Song."

The book exists in both easy piano and "regular" versions -- the latter, when first published, was $13.95 for 32 pages -- and can be ordered from:

CPP Belwin Inc.
15800 NW 48th Avenue
Miami, Florida 33014
(305) 620-1500

If you have a credit card, they'll take an order over the phone. Further details about this book, and a few of the others mentioned above, can be found at this Web site:

CPP Belwin also produced the folio book that goes with Dave Brubeck’s "Quiet as the Moon" CD, which features music used in the "NASA Space Station" episode of "This Is America, Charlie Brown." Published in 1992 at a cost of $12.95, the 32-page volume includes transcriptions of eight original Brubeck tunes, two by Guaraldi ("Linus and Lucy" and "Cast Your Fate to the Wind"), and an up-tempo arrangement of Harry Dacre’s "Bicycle Built for Two." The front of the book also includes three pages of text and storyboard illustrations that describe the making of that particular animated episode, as recalled by Brubeck himself.

Better start practicing!

Thanks to the enduring popularity of both Peanuts plays, songbooks are readily available for them. The latest edition of "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown" is published by MPL Communications and distributed by Hal Leonard; the 48-page book, which currently runs $8.95, includes the music for 10 songs and has three pages of black-and-white photographs of scenes from the play. The book does not have music from these four songs: "The Book Report," "The Red Baron," "Queen Lucy" or "Glee Club Rehearsal."

Chappell/Intersong Music Group, also distributed by Hal Leonard, has the rights to "Snoopy!!!" The 64-page book, currently $8.95, has 10 songs and eight pages of black-and-white pictures from the play. The contents can be a bit mysterious and frustrating for a true fan, since one song -- "Friend" -- is no longer part of the play as usually performed, and four others -- "Edgar Allan Poe," "The Vigil," "The Great Writer" and "The Big Bow-Wow" -- are not included. (Needless to say, this book also does not include the four additional songs present only in the British version of this play. To my knowledge, a British folio songbook has not been produced.)

Finally, there's a new shining star in the Peanuts music genre, an entirely new concerto called "The Peanuts Gallery," by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Although this piece has not yet been recorded and released on CD, sheet music is available for it (which should make practicing rather interesting, since those of us who haven’t heard any of the precious few live performances don't really know what it's supposed to sound like!).

Theodore Presser Company released three versions of the music from this concerto. "Lullaby for Linus" is a two-minute movement, which Zwilich herself has arranged for solo piano. "Snoopy Does the Samba," another movement, is also available, along with the entire solo piano part with a piano reduction of the orchestra.

"Peanuts Gallery" salutes the comic strip characters we know and love, and was premiered at Carnegie Hall, March 22, 1997. Zwilich was the first woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize in music, and has written many pieces for piano, chamber ensembles, orchestra, and band.

"Lullaby for Linus" (140-40075) and "Snoopy Does the Samba" (140-40076) are sold through music dealers, as is the complete "Peanuts Gallery" (440-40021). More information and a brochure about Ellen Taaffe Zwilich are available from Presser's Sales Department at (610) 525-3636, ext. 41; fax (610) 527-7841; e-mail

Better start practicing!

And that, for the moment, is where the matter rests. It seems obvious, though, that Guaraldi's popular Peanuts music will continue to inspire new performers, thus increasing our chances of obtaining yet-different-again transcriptions of the tunes with which we're so familiar.

And you thought your mother was wasting her time, making you practice the piano all those years ago...

Copyright 1998, by Derrick Bang

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