Archive for the 'General' Category

How to Read a Fake Book

By Kevin Harper

History of Fake Books and Lead Sheets

Imagine this: you’re a famous jazz player; you’re busy on the road going from gig to gig. One day you come up with a great tune and want to write it down and orchestrate it for your ensemble, but orchestration takes a long time. So instead, you write down the melody and then write out the general chords and any potential rhythms. When you read it during the gig (for the first time no doubt!) you and your bandmates have a general outline of what needs to happen – everything else is improvised. Because improvisations are different everytime, writing down the “correct” way of playing any tune in the old days was impossible.

As jazz grew in popularity, everyone wanted to hear all the popular songs, but the problem was that many of these tunes were hard to find or unpublished. Eventually, lead sheets were circulated from band to band and that became the standard way of notating tunes.

The original fake book, known as The Real Book, contained illegally reproduced, copyrighted songs. It was meant to be used as a textbook of standard jazz tunes. The publishers wanted to pawn off the tunes in the book as “real” versions of the songs. However, legal battles ensued, so any other future books had to have a different name. Thus, the term fake book was born from The Real Book. It also has a double-meaning in that the performer is “faking” his way through the song because the arrangement is not the same as the original version.

Continue reading ‘How to Read a Fake Book’

Digital Print Publishing: Interview with Arranger John Gibson

John Gibson - Digital Print Publisher, arranger, and clarinetist

John Gibson – Digital Print Publisher, arranger, and clarinetist

John Gibson was born in Dallas, Texas, where he began taking clarinet lessons with Oakley Pittman, director of bands at Southern Methodist University and principal clarinetist with the Dallas Symphony. After John and his family moved to Denver, Colorado, he studied with the retired principal clarinetist of the Denver Symphony, Val (Tiny) Henrich. He continued his studies with David Etheridge, Jerry Neil Smith, and John McGrosso at the University of Colorado, from where he received a degree in music education and a masters of music performance.  While in college, John discovered his interest in arranging, taking classes in that topic whenever possible. 

Although not always working in the music business, John never stopped playing. While clarinet has been his principal instrument, he also played oboe in orchestras for about eight years, as well as flute and saxophone in other venues.

John has been supplying woodwind players with interesting, well-crafted arrangements since 1998 and has arranged hundreds of pieces ranging from solos to duets to large woodwind ensembles, which have been performed all over the world and reviewed in international woodwind magazines. Continue reading ‘Digital Print Publishing: Interview with Arranger John Gibson’

Organ Fun Facts

By Jacy Burroughs

1. The concept of the organ dates back to an instrument called the hydraulis, invented in Ancient Greece in the 3rd Century BCE. A hydraulis was a mechanical instrument in which the wind pressure is regulated by water pressure. By the 7th Century AD, bellows replaced water pressure to supply the organ with wind.

Ancient Greek Hydraulis

Ancient Greek Hydraulis

Continue reading ‘Organ Fun Facts’

Announcing Our First Digital Print Publishing Contest

Did you know you can sell digital copies of your arrangements and original scores through Sheet Music Plus? Our Digital Print Publishing program allows you to upload PDFs and audio samples, input important marketing information, and set your own price (min. $1.99). Visitors can easily find your music using our advanced search engine, which receives over 3 million visits a year.  It’s quick, easy, and FREE!

 

Start uploading today and you’ll automatically be entered in our first Digital Print Publishing Contest, happening July 1-31, 2014, with three categories of winners:

1. Best-selling new upload ($300 award and promotional highlight).

2. Highest cumulative sales for new uploads ($100 award).

3. Editor’s pick for best new upload ($100 award).

Titles must be NEW UPLOADS, submitted after 9:00am PST, June 11, 2014. All titles must be submitted by June 22, 2014, 11:59pm PST, in order to be live by July 1. Titles uploaded after this time will not be included in the contest.

Sign in to Digital Print Publishing

Good luck!

10 Fun Facts About the Saxophone

By Carolyn Walter

A relatively new-kid-on-the block as instruments go, the saxophone was invented less than 200 years ago! Here is a short sampling of facts about this versatile instrument:

1. While typically constructed of brass, the saxophone is actually a member of the woodwind family.  The sax earns this classification because of the way sound is produced: a player’s embouchure creates an airtight seal over the mouthpiece, vibrating a single reed in the manner of a clarinet.  Brass instruments, by contrast, are played by buzzing one’s lips on the rim of the mouthpiece.

2.  Despite the previous statement that saxes are usually made of brass, there are exceptions. Continue reading ’10 Fun Facts About the Saxophone’

Musical Characteristics and Performance Practice of the Classical Period

By Jacy Burroughs

The Classical period of music had its advent in Italian music of the early eighteenth century and extended into the early nineteenth century. Some musicologists mark the end of the Classical period around 1815, at the end of Beethoven’s compositional middle period. However, the Classical period truly overlaps with both the Baroque and Romantic periods. Characteristics of and performance considerations for Classical period music are outlined below.

Continue reading ‘Musical Characteristics and Performance Practice of the Classical Period’

10 Need-to-Know Facts About the Clarinet

By Carolyn Walter

1. The clarinet has unique acoustics.

Among the canon of typical modern orchestral woodwinds, clarinets are the only reed instruments with cylindrical bores; meaning that the empty space inside the instrument remains the same diameter through the whole length of the tube.  Related reed instruments including saxophones, oboes, English horns and bassoons are all conical-bored; they are  narrow at the top end, widening out to a much larger bell opening.  The sound of a conical instrument, like a sax or bassoon is composed, of both odd and even harmonics, which is why normal fingerings overblow one octave higher for these instruments. As the clarinet is basically a cylindrical pipe closed on only one end (the mouthpiece as it is being played), the wavelength produced changes, and the even-numbered harmonics will not be present in the sound.  This means that lowest notes on your clarinet will overblow at the twelfth – a low E becomes a middle-register B natural when the register key is applied, etc.

2. Each register of the clarinet’s range has its own name.

Continue reading ’10 Need-to-Know Facts About the Clarinet’

A Brief Guide to Baroque Performance Practice

By Jacy Burroughs

The Baroque period is defined as the advent of opera to the death of Bach, which was roughly 1600-1750. Each period of classical music is characterized by its own styles, techniques, and musical characteristics. While most people do not have the option to play on historically accurate instruments, it is still important to work toward historically informed performance by studying the musical style of that time. Several important characteristics of Baroque music are outlined below.

Continue reading ‘A Brief Guide to Baroque Performance Practice’

Ten Facts About Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

by Jacy Burroughs

Bach_Carl_Philipp_Emanuel_(small)


1. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was the second surviving son of Johann Sebastian and Maria Barbara Bach (Sebastian’s first wife). This year we celebrate the 300th anniversary of his birth. He was born on March 8, 2014.

2. Emanuel never had any music teacher besides his father. There is no evidence that he studied any instrument other than keyboard.

3. Between 1731 and 1738, Emanuel studied law, first at the University of Leipzig and then at the University of Frankfurt an der Oder. At this time, law was a very typical subject of study for university students. Unlike today, the study of law was considered to be more of a general education than a vocational course of study. Sebastian Bach was determined to give all his sons the university education that he lacked to defend them against society’s prejudices that musicians were simple servants.

While enrolled in school at the University of Frankfurt an der Oder, Emanuel supported himself by teaching keyboard lessons, and composing for or directing public concerts and ceremonies. It was during his years at university that Emanuel’s compositional career accelerated. Continue reading ‘Ten Facts About Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’

Musical Jokes: A Compilation of Sheet Music Plus Favorites

What better way for musicians to celebrate April Fools’ Day than to share some music humor? Here are some of our favorites.

Woodwinds

What’s the definition of a minor second?
Two piccolos playing in unison.

Flute players spend half their time tuning their instrument and the other half playing out of tune.

What’s the difference between an oboe and an onion?
No one cries when you chop up an oboe.

What’s the definition of a nerd?
Someone who owns his own alto clarinet.

What is “perfect pitch?”
When you lob a clarinet into a dumpster without hitting the rim.

What’s the purpose of the bell on a bass clarinet?
Storing the ashes from the rest of the instrument.

What’s the difference between a bassoon and a trampoline?
You take off your shoes when you jump on the trampoline.

What’s the difference between a lawn mower and a soprano saxophone?
The neighbors are upset if you borrow a lawn mower and don’t return it.

How many alto sax players does it take to change a light bulb?
Five: one to handle the bulb and four to contemplate how David Sanborn would’ve done it.

If you were lost in the woods, who would you trust for directions: an in-tune tenor sax player, an out-of-tune tenor sax player or the Tooth Fairy? Continue reading ‘Musical Jokes: A Compilation of Sheet Music Plus Favorites’


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