How to play dance of the sugar fairy on piano

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy


This easy piano arrangement of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy makes this difficult-to-play solo accessible to beginners. Special intro & ending included!

For more savings, click here to the discounted 2022 Holiday Bundle.

Studio Use License – This comes with a studio license and is a fantastic value as this can be used for as many students as you directly teach!

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy quantity

SKU: SKU514 Categories: Elementary Holiday Music, Elementary Music, Holiday Music, Music, Mid Elementary

  • Description
  • Reviews (0)
  • Level: Mid elementary
  • Pages: 5 pages, 3 pages of music, cover included!
  • License: Studio license – reproducible for students you directly teach
  • Bonus: mp3 recording without voiceovers
  • Format: PDF instant download

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is a song every kid loves – but not one most kids can play. Until now! This elementary version of the Nutcracker piece makes a difficult-to-play solo accessible to beginners. Plus, this piece contains a special intro and ending that makes kids sound even more accomplished. When students learn pieces that they recognize and love, it not only makes them feel proud – it gets them excited to practice!

What is the level of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy?

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is an elementary level piano solo. The key is e minor, but no key signature is written in (accidentals are written throughout). The smallest note value is a quarter note, and quarter notes on every beat keep students from rushing the notes or pausing between measures. There are staccato and legato markings written throughout, as well as dynamic markings, so it’s a great teaching piece. Pedaling is written in for the beginning and ending motifs only. 

In addition, helpful fingerings are written throughout. There is a small chromatic section with fingering written in, making it a great intro to left hand fingering for the chromatic scale. The left hand makes up for the right hand melody not staying in one position by staying as stationary as possible throughout the piece.

What is a Studio License?

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is available as a studio license which means that you only have to purchase it one time, and you are then licensed to print as many prints as you need for yourself or any student you directly teach! It’s like getting an unlimited supply of the piece since you never have to pay for it again. Plus there is no shipping since it is delivered digitally. You get the PDF and bonus mp3 in your email within minutes of your purchase.

Free Bonus Recording

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy also comes with a free mp3 recording so that you can listen and learn the piece more easily. The studio license grants you permission to share this file with your students that are learning the piece.

Other Nutcracker Offerings

If you enjoyed this arrangement, you may also enjoy these holiday pieces with references to and including the Nutcracker:

  • Joy to the World with Trépak
  • We Three Kings with Arabian Nights
  • Nutcracker Rhythm Cup Explorations

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Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Classical Music YouTube Resource‎ > ‎(5) Romantic Period‎ > ‎Peter Tchaikovsky‎ > ‎

Tchaikovsky was born May 7, 1840 in Votkinsk, Viatka district, Russia. He was born into a family of five brothers and one sister. He began to take piano lessons at four-years-old. He showed remarkable talent and soon surpassed even his teacher’s abilities. At nine-years-old, Tchaikovsky showed severe nervous problems. When he was ten, Tchaikovsky was sent to St. Petersburg to study at the School of Jurisprudence. Tchaikovsky lost his mother in 1854, which dealt a crushing blow on him. In 1859, Tchaikovsky took up a position in the Ministry of Justice, but longed to have a career in music. He began to study in harmony with Zaremba in 1861, and enrolled at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1862. He eventually began studying composition with Anton Rubinstein. In 1866, Tchaikovsky relocated to Moscow. He shortly turned out his first symphony after he accepted a professorship of harmony at the new conservatory. He, however, suffered a nervous breakdown during its composition. His opera The Voyevoda came in 1867-1868. His opera The Oprichnik was started in 1870.  In 1876, Tchaikovsky went to Paris with his brother and then visited Bayreuth- where he met Liszt, but was snubbed by Wagner. By 1877, Tchaikovsky was an established composer. He, despite being homosexual, married Antonina Ivanovna Milyukova-who was an obsessive admirer. Their union lasted just months. Tchaikovsky attempted suicide during this time as well. Near the end of the year, Nadezhda von Meck, a woman who he never met, became his patron and frequent correspondent. He continued to study abroad in the 1880s.  Tchaikovsky died on November 6, 1893, in St. Petersburg, Russia. (


The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is a part of the ballet The Nutcracker. The Nutcracker was composed in 1891-1892. ( The Nutcracker was originally composed for the celesta, a keyboard bell-like instrument. ( The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is a homophonic piece. The song is constantly crescendo and decrescendo. The main melody repeats as well. The tone color gives off a warm, gentle feeling to it.


Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is very popular. In the beginning of the piece, the music starts out soft with the plucking of strings, and slowly gets louder as the sound of a xylophone comes in with the main melody. As the piece progresses, you can hear strings-most likely violins and cellos-come in and as well as a bassoon or clarinet or bass clarinet.


The song pulls people in, becoming a well known piece. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is in the second act of The Nutcracker play. The song gives the listener the urge to dance to the piece. The song is a must listen to at the holidays.


Notes for piano "Dance of the Dragee Fairy" (from the ballet "The Nutcracker" by P.

I. Tchaikovsky)

Contemporary music:

3 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | W | Y | Z | BUT | B | AT | G | D | E | AND | W | And | To | L | M | H | O | P | R | FROM | T | F | X | H | W | E | YU | I am

Composers (classical music):

A | B | AT | G | D | E | AND | W | And | Y | To | L | M | H | O | P | R | FROM | T | At | F | X | C | H | W | E | YU | I


The ballet consists of two acts, different in content. The main characters are the girl Masha and the Nutcracker doll, who, having defeated the Mouse King and overcome evil witchcraft, turns into a handsome Prince and invites Masha to his magical Land of Sweets.

Fragment of the Dance of the Dragee Fairy (Sugar Fairy):

Notes for piano "Dance of the Dragee Fairy" for ensemble 4 hands

Tchaikovsky Petr. Dance of the Dragee Fairy from the ballet "The Nutcracker" (easy arrangement for 4 hands) - download sheet music

The composer decorated the second act of the ballet with a bright and expressive divertissement. By order of the Dragee Fairy, a table with delicacies appears, dancing begins. Before the viewer passes a series of fabulous images, the creation of which is facilitated by the use of various orchestral timbres.

In the theme of the Spanish dance ("Chocolate"), a trumpet solo with castanets in the middle part sounds, which gives the music a characteristic national flavor.

Arabic dance (“Coffee”) is performed by strings accompanied by a tambourine. In this dance, Tchaikovsky used a Georgian folk musical theme.

A Chinese dance (“Tea”) is performed by a piccolo flute, accompanied by low sounds of a bassoon. This gives the impression of a comic puppet dance.

The fabulous image of the Dragee Fairy is helped to create the crystal sounds of the celesta, an instrument that was commissioned by the composer in France especially for this number.

The graceful and fragile dance of the shepherds is performed by three flutes. It was as if the elegant porcelain figurines that adorned the festive table came to life.

The music of The Nutcracker ballet is widely known, fragments from the ballet are often heard in concerts arranged for piano and other instruments.



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"Dance of the Dragee Fairy" from Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker"

"Dance of the Dragee Fairy"

It is difficult to imagine the New Year period without music from Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker". Whatever fragment you choose, you will almost certainly hit. Whether it's a march, Waltz of snowflakes or Waltz of flowers, Chinese dance or Trepak. But still, the Dance of the Dragee Fairy occupies a special place.

When a crystal melody sounds, you want to slow down your breathing a little and make it quieter. If only by all means to keep the atmosphere of magic and not frighten her away. In one popular advertisement, red and yellow chocolate jelly beans tiptoe to the fireplace at night to catch Santa Claus. This is a foretaste of meeting with the holiday, when the gifts have not yet been opened. Similar feelings are given by the Dance of the Fairy Dragee.

"The Nutcracker" Pyotr Ilyich created almost in agony. In the letters he complains that nothing sensible comes out. And the plot itself seems to the composer frivolous and too childish.

Get rid of the ballet - that's what the classic wanted! It is impossible to get distracted and find inspiration even in France. However, the spring trip of 1891 was fateful, without it, no Dance of the Pellet Fairy would have happened. It was in Paris that Tchaikovsky heard the sound of the instrument that was to become the main character at the upcoming premiere.

“I discovered in Paris a new orchestral instrument with a divinely wonderful sound… I wish it wasn’t shown to anyone”,

- the composer writes to the music publisher Peter Ivanovich Jurgenson, who soon ordered the specified instrument from the capital of France. But Tchaikovsky is relentless:

"For God's sake, keep in mind that no one but me should hear the sounds of this wonderful instrument."

The regime of secrecy was justified: what if Rimsky-Korsakov or Glazunov find out about the instrument! In a word, almost an arms race, but in an orchestra.

On the premiere day of December 1892 years old, St. Petersburg comes to the Mariinsky Theater to see a Christmas performance. Tchaikovsky himself looked at the stage with difficulty: the costumes and scenery seemed clumsy to the composer. He also worried about the music, which critics will react ambiguously. But the former at the premiere remembered the sound of the secret instrument for sure.

The Nutcracker ballet - the history of creation and performances

Closer to the climax of the ballet, the Dance of the Dragee Fairy begins, and the audience is perplexed, because no one has heard such a sound before. In the orchestra pit is a wooden box that looks like a small piano, which makes amazing sounds of crystal chime. It was a heavenly and delicate celesta - a keyboard instrument with metal plates. Celesta became the main character that evening.

Tchaikovsky won the arms race and linked the celesta forever with a halo of celebration and magic.

As is well known, in the very first production of The Nutcracker (1892), after all the repetitive and battles with mice, as well as overcoming the snow-covered forest, Clara and the prince found themselves in the realm of sweets - Confiturenburg, where fountains of currant syrup and lemonade beat, and They were greeted by the Dragee Fairy (the mistress of Confiturenburg), Prince Whooping cough (her cavalier), as well as various sweets - sweets, petit fours, macaroons, etc. Hoffmann had a similar magical land, where Konfetenburg (-hausen) appears, and Dumas père (where there is Varenenburg).

In the end, it was the Dragee Fairy and Prince Whooping Cough who closed the ballet - at the end they performed the pas de deux. It is danced by Masha and the Nutcracker Prince in modern Russian productions.

However, neither Hoffmann nor Dumas have any Fairy Dragees. Where did she come from and why does she have such a name? Why weren't some von Warenenburg sisters greeted Clara and the prince, as in Dumas' arrangement, for example?

The Nutcracker and its author: facts not too well known, but remarkable

One of the aspects of the answer is obvious - we just needed a spectacular, including a duet, number for a foreign ballerina-star and a partner, because before that there was not a single classical dance in the performance (the first act is mainly pantomime, the second is a divertissement from characteristic dances). This number did not correlate in any way with the plot, and this was one of the points for which the first "Nutcracker" was criticized, and which, among other things, prevented Lev Ivanov and Pyotr Tchaikovsky from fully relating the music and choreography.

At the premiere, the Dragee Fairy was danced by Italian Antonietta Del'Era. The public was looking forward to her release - she had already come to Russia at the end of 1886-1887, and her dances received many laudatory reviews. Then, however, she limited herself to the scenes of private theaters, but the second entry - immediately to the Mariinsky Theater - seriously provoked the St. Petersburg balletomanes.

Del'Era was a virtuoso ballerina who was remembered for her 16th fouette (at that time no one else did on the national stage), as well as for her pointe technique - she could stand on the toe of one foot in attitude for many seconds with virtually no support from her partner .

Antonietta Del'Era

That is, at first glance, there is no special meaning. More precisely, it is purely practical - you just had to bring in a star ballerina to demonstrate her brilliant technical capabilities, which has already been done more than once in relation to other Italian ballerinas, who were much stronger in technical terms than domestic ballerinas. Not particularly at the same time correlating the invented choreography with the music and the plot. The solution is rather artificial.

But why give the heroine the name Dragee? Firstly, obviously in order to continue the “sweet” logic of the second act. Second…

On January 30, 1934, the very first performance of The Nutcracker in the West took place at the Sadler's Wells Theater in London. According to the poster, Sugar Plum Fairy danced in the pas de deux - that is, literally translated, the Sugar Plum Fairy (danced by Alicia Markova). And to this day in many Western productions (USA, UK) you will see this name on the posters. That is, the Fairy Dragee was renamed in the West. Or not? And what about plums?

Sugar Plum (sugar plum) is an obsolete term used in 17-19century in English precisely to refer to what we call “draggers” - small round (or oval) sweets. And these sweets could not necessarily be plum - just in ancient times they were quite large and resembled the shape and size of a plum.

Therefore, there are no discrepancies between our Dragee Fairy and its American-English counterpart - we are talking about dragee, not plums.

But the term Sugar Plum is not limited to sweet undertones and has many other meanings. In addition to the actual “sugar plum” and “jelly beans”, these are:

  • Flattery. There was such an expression: “Your mouth is full of sugar plums”, meaning the flattery of the interlocutor.
  • Bribe. The expression “To fill someone else's mouth with sugar plum” meant “to give a bribe”.
  • In the 18th century, Sugar Plum was a slang term for 100 pounds. a lot of money. Someone who was rich was called a "plum".
  • Later, in the 19th century, "sugar plum" denoted a particularly desirable thing, a prize, a place of work or a successful appointment.
  • Finally, seeing the dragee fairy dancing meant a happy dream.

Thus, in Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem "The Night Before Christmas" there are lines:

The children were nestled all snug in their beds translate: The children were carefully placed in their beds while visions of sugar plums danced in their thoughts.

Literary translation:

…Children in their beds are like birds in a nest.
Close your eyes. Lie down on pillows.
They dream of sweets…

So, we can conclude that sugar plum in particular is a kind of generalized synonym for something desired.

The presence of a fairy in a ballet was not something special for those times - what are only 6 fairies in Sleeping Beauty staged 2 years before The Nutcracker. But exactly what the creators of The Nutcracker had in mind when introducing this character into the ballet will remain a mystery, unless one finds some exact, documentary evidence of the authors of the libretto (either Marius Petipa, or Ivan Vsevolozhsky, or both) about their idea.

One could probably say that this is a symbol of Clara’s (Marie) happy dream, if not for one “but” - neither the libretto of the original production, nor both choreographers’ plans, nor the violin tutors, nor the well-known descriptions of Ivanov’s first production contain an indication to the fact that Clara is sleeping, and the journey to Confiturenburg is a dream. That is, as in Hoffmann, reality intertwined with the fictional world there.

The Dragee Fairy disappeared from Russian productions in 1924 (not entirely, but more on that separately), when Lev Ivanov's original left the stage. At 19In 1919, Alexander Gorsky staged his The Nutcracker at the Bolshoi Theatre. His main character was again called Clara, and her party combined both the party of little Clara and the classical dances of the Dragee Fairy from Ivanov's original production. It was Clara who danced the adagio with the Nutcracker (which, in turn, was joined by the part of Prince Whooping Cough), and then the variations. That is, Gorsky became the first choreographer who led Clara through the entire performance.

As for the name Masha, it appears for the first time in The Nutcracker by Fyodor Lopukhov 1929 years old

A fairy tale told at night

But the Sugar Plum Fairy has taken root in Anglo-Saxon productions.

Learn more