Archive for the 'General' Category

What is an Urtext Edition?

Originally posted on Take Note:

by Kevin Harper

We’ve all seen the term “Urtext Edition” when shopping for sheet music. But what does that mean? How is it different from other sheet music? Let’s begin with the definition of “Urtext”.

Germans famously love to combine separate words into one long word. In this case, we have the German words Ur and Text. The oldest city in the world was the city of Ur in modern-day Iraq. This word became part of the German language, meaning original, ancient, or great. For example, Great-grandfather in German is Urgrossvater. In the case of the popular German beer Pilsner Urquell, Urquell means “old source” or “old recipe.” (Quell means source.) Germans use Ur to describe something that is not only very old, but also respected and distinguished.

The meaning of Text in German is easy to figure out. It is a cognate of our…

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10 Interesting Facts About Aaron Copland

by Jacy Burroughs

Aaron Copland in 1970

Aaron Copland in 1970

1. Aaron Copland (November 14, 1900 – December 2, 1990) was born in Brooklyn, New York to a Jewish family. He was the youngest of five children. While his father had no musical inclination, his mother sang and played the piano and sent her children to music lessons. Copland’s sister Laurine gave him his first piano lessons. She attended the Metropolitan Opera School and would bring home libretti for Aaron to study.

2. When Copland was eleven, he wrote his first notated melody, seven bars of an opera he called Zenatello.
Continue reading ’10 Interesting Facts About Aaron Copland’

10 tips for staying in shape (on your instrument) over the summer

Originally posted on Take Note:

By Jacy Burroughs

 1. Practice in the morning. If you are on break from school, designate a time in the morning for practicing. That way, you can make sure you at least get some practicing in at the beginning of your day. We all know that if we wait to practice later in the day, we may end up making plans, going out, being too tired and making other excuses not to practice.

2. Set a goal. Whether you are a beginner, a high school student preparing for seating auditions or a college student getting ready for a fall recital, the list of goals you can set for yourself is endless! Maybe you want to get better at sight-reading, learn a new song, work through a particular etude book, memorize a piece – make a goal to achieve by the end of the summer. Set interim goals…

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10 Facts You Should Know About Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

by Jacy BurroughsTchaikovsky

1. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (the traditional Western spelling) was born in 1840 in Votkinsk, Russia. He began taking piano lessons in 1845; however, formal music education was not available in Russian schools at this time so his parents never considered that he might pursue a career in music. Instead, they prepared him for a life of civil service; he began his formal education at the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in 1850, which he attended for nine years.

Continue reading ’10 Facts You Should Know About Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’

10 Interesting Facts About Johannes Brahms

by Jacy Burroughs

Brahms

1. Johannes Brahms was born on May 7, 1833. His father was a town musician who played a variety of instruments, mostly horn and double bass.

2. Brahms began playing piano at the age of 7. By the time he was a teenager, he was helping the family financially by performing in inns, brothels, taverns and along the city docks. Brahms is also believed to have begun composing early in his life, but destroyed his early compositions. He did not become famous as a composer until April and May of 1853, when he was on a concert tour as accompanist to the Hungarian violinist Eduard Reményi.

3. In 1853, Brahms met Robert Schumann. Schumann was so impressed with Brahms’ compositions that he wrote an article in his Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, praising the young composer’s genius and heralding him as the one who could overthrow the New German School of Liszt and Wagner.

Continue reading ’10 Interesting Facts About Johannes Brahms’

Playing in a Pit Orchestra: Anecdotes and Advice from a Percussionist

by Ryan Blauvelt

Places. Lights up. Downbeat. It’s the order of things for playing in a pit orchestra for musical theater productions.  The culmination of many hours of rehearsals, score study, listening sessions, and custom edits in order to bring together cast, crew, and of course musicians for a couple weeks of “showtime!”

It’s spring and that means musical theatre productions.  Playing musicals is something I’m pretty good at, especially when it comes to last minute notice.  I’ve been hooked on playing musicals ever since getting picked to play drum set in my high school’s first musical production, “Guys and Dolls”. It was a lot of pressure being in the driver’s seat for a music ensemble. Also, being depended on by actors and actresses for steady tempos, sharp hits, and joke reinforcement adds another layer of complexity.  But I loved the thrill of learning so much music very quickly and making quick changes to fine-tune my contribution to a well-performed show. Continue reading ‘Playing in a Pit Orchestra: Anecdotes and Advice from a Percussionist’

10 Interesting Facts about Dave Brubeck

by Jacy Burroughs

Dave Brubeck in 1954

Dave Brubeck in 1954

In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month, I decided to write a post about one of the jazz greats. I am not a jazz musician and unfortunately, my classical music education barely scraped the surface of jazz. However, the question of “Who to write about?” was an easy choice, because I share an alma mater with the legendary Dave Brubeck. We both went to University of the Pacific, formerly College of the Pacific. I even had the chance to meet him my freshman year, well, more like run into him…literally. I was coming out of a class and there he was, right in front of me. Dave Brubeck. I must have looked shocked and embarrassed and he just smiled and asked, “How are you?” I will never forget that smile. He must have been 86 then. Continue reading ’10 Interesting Facts about Dave Brubeck’

10 Interesting Facts About Johann Sebastian Bach

by Jacy Burroughs

Johann_Sebastian_Bach

1. Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 21, 1685 in Eisenach, Germany in the province of Thuringia. His father, Johann Ambrosius, was a town musician. During this period, music was a trade just like metalwork or shoe making. And for the Bachs, music was the family business, stretching back several generations. Continue reading ’10 Interesting Facts About Johann Sebastian Bach’

How to Read a Fake Book

Originally posted on Take Note:

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…

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Publishing Models for the Independent Composer

New Music GatheringOn January 15, 2015 during the New Music Gathering at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Sheet Music Plus CEO Jenny Silva gave a presentation on publishing models for the independent composer.  Her presentation, available as a PDF by clicking on the link below, discusses the various methods through which composers may publish their music and the advantages and disadvantages to each.  It is a must read for any composer, new or seasoned, wishing to gain more exposure for his/her work.

New Music Gathering_v2


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