Skip to main content


William Smallwood: A Happy New Year Galop. London, [1877].

Featured Links

William SMALLWOOD: A Happy New Year Galop

January 2015

William Smallwood (1831-1897) is remembered for the most popular piano method ever published in Britain.  His Tutor for the Pianoforte, containing all that is requisite for learning this favorite instrument and a thorough knowledge of the Rudiments of Music was first published in London in 1881 and has never been out of print.

Smallwood was born in, and spent his entire life in Kendal, in the Lake District, being appointed organist of St. George’s Church at the age of fifteen and serving there for fifty years.  He published well over 1000 teaching pieces and collections for the piano, as well as anthems and hymn tunes.  Many of the former have fine chromolithographed titles by the distinguished firm of printers M. & N. Hanhart, active in London in the second half of the nineteenth century.

From the age of eighteen Smallwood is said to have been ‘fully occupied as a teacher’, his pupils including the popular actor William Terriss.  The tribute at his funeral service at St. George’s Church described him as a modest and unassuming man, beloved by the community.  “His tongue was not the pen of a ready writer, but with his fingers on the organ keys, as he led the voice of praise, he spoke to the soul of many a worshipper.”

A Happy New Galop is one of a pair of Christmas pieces (the other being A Merry Christmas Polka) published in December 1877.  In this case both designer and lithographer are anonymous.

Click here to listen to this music on YouTube.