Archive for the 'General' Category

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…

View original 1,609 more words

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

10 Interesting Facts About Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

by Jacy Burroughs

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791)

Wolfgang-amadeus-mozart_1-revert

1. Mozart was baptized as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. (Imagine trying to learn to write that name!) His first two names, Johannes Chrysostomus, represent his saint’s name, following the tradition of the Catholic Church. This saint’s name was in all likelihood chosen because Mozart’s birthday, January 27th, was the feast day of Saint John Chrysostom. Wolfgangus, or Wolfgang in German, means Continue reading ’10 Interesting Facts About Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’

Top 5 New Cantatas for Lent and Easter

1. The Easter Story by Thomas Fettke & Thomas Grassi
SATB
Performance Time: 35 minutes

Cantata_Easter_Story

The Easter Story combines a profound narrative by Ken Bible with musical selections from Tom Fettke and Thomas Grassi. Fettke and Grassi have drawn upon several folk music sources, including hymns from The Sacred Harp and The Columbian Harmony, and spirituals, carols and songs from English, Irish and Hebrew traditions. The narrative is steeped in scripture, helping to relive the events in Jerusalem leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection.

This cantata recommends using two narrators, but can be performed with one. It is beautiful whether accompanied by piano or orchestra. Continue reading ‘Top 5 New Cantatas for Lent and Easter’

Top Ten Holiday Gift Ideas for Musicians

1. Alfred’s Teach Yourself to Play Ukulele, Complete Pack – $49.99

Ukulele_starter_packThis great gift idea is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to play an instrument but doesn’t know how to get started. It comes with everything needed to start jamming away immediately, including the most important part – the instrument!  Ukuleles are fun and easy to play, and this pack comes with a high-quality Firebrand wood ukulele complete with carrying case and extra set of strings. Also included is Alfred’s Teach Yourself to Play Ukulele Course (book, CD & DVD), the bestselling instructional series for beginners of all ages. The course covers everything from basic fundamentals (such as how to hold the instrument) to songs in various musical styles – you can be your own teacher and learn at your own pace.

Homer
E-Commerce Content Manager and Violinist
Continue reading ‘Top Ten Holiday Gift Ideas for Musicians’

Where did Christmas Carols come from?

by Jacy Burroughs

Carol_Book

Today, we primarily associate the word “carol” with Christmas. However, the tradition of singing carols did not begin with Christianity, but actually with the pagan practices of celebrating the seasons. Songs were written and performed for each of the four seasons. However, only the tradition of singing during the winter has survived, not as a pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice, but as a Christian celebration of Christmas. Continue reading ‘Where did Christmas Carols come from?’

Ten Great New Music Titles to Celebrate the Holidays

Our holiday new releases spice up traditional favorites with unique arrangements. Featuring everything from choir to instrumental to band and easy to advanced piano, there is something for nearly everyone!

1. Sing-A-Long: Best of Christmas
Voice and Piano

Featuring 20 Christmas tunes, Sing-A-Long: Best of Christmas comes with a piano part and eight pull-out lyric sheets. This unique collection includes Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” which until recently, couldn’t be printed in any collections other than the songbook for the musical, due to copyright constraints. This Christmas collection is essential for caroling or sing-a-longs by the fire.

19980559 Continue reading ‘Ten Great New Music Titles to Celebrate the Holidays’

Classical Music Program for Halloween

by Jacy Burroughs

There are a plethora of classical pieces appropriate for Halloween. The best known are arguably Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain and Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King. Here are my suggestions for a slightly less typical, yet spooky program. They are also great pieces to listen to and get you in the mood for a night of tricks and treats!

1. Isle of the Dead, 29, Sergei Rachmaninoff – 1908

Rachmaninoff was inspired to compose Isle of the Dead after he saw a black-and-white reproduction of Arnold Böcklin’s painting by the same name in Paris in 1907. The image is of a boat bearing a coffin to a fortress on a mysterious island. Rachmaninoff’s musical interpretation begins with the sound of oars in the water, represented by an irregular 5/8 meter. The urgency of the music increases as the boat approaches the island. Then, the Dies irae – the Gregorian Chant from the Mass for the Dead – takes over. Briefly, there is a struggle with music that sounds full of life, but the Dies irae theme is stronger. At the end, the piece comes full circle, returning to the relentless sound of rowing oars.

Continue reading ‘Classical Music Program for Halloween’

What is an Urtext Edition?

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 English word, which means they have the same definition.

So we’ve established what the word Urtext means, but what in the world does it have to do with music? Publishers use the term to refer to old editions of music, particularly those that have the music written in the hand of the composer, or with annotations and guidelines in the composer’s own words. Continue reading ‘What is an Urtext Edition?’

Transcribing Your Songs

While most classical and jazz works are written down before they are performed, songs in other genres are often worked out through a series of improvisations in which each instrument develops their own part. Because of this, it can be difficult for the songwriter to go back and write out the song later on. This process is called transcribing; the finished product is called a transcription.

WHY TRANSCRIBE?

Why would songwriters want to write out their own songs once they’re finished? There are many great reasons, including:

  • Memory guide. When you’ve got lots of music memorized and under your fingertips, it’s easy to get mixed up and forget the details of every song. Transcribing gives you a quick reference point if you’re drawing a blank before a gig or recording session.
  • New band members. Does your band personnel change frequently? Are you a solo artist who hires musicians on a per-gig basis? You could waste valuable rehearsal or studio time teaching new players your songs, OR you could have transcriptions in hand for them to read from—better yet, email PDFs ahead of time so they come in prepared and ready to play!
  • Auxiliary instruments. Haven’t you always really imagined that synth patch as a bunch of trumpets? Or the guitar line to be a violin section? Musicians from the classical and jazz worlds are used to reading their parts and would rather not have you teach them by rote while the clock is running. So, if you have a group of trumpet players ready to play that synth part, you need to have their music clearly notated.
  • Pass it around. The best flattery a songwriter can receive is another musician wanting to play their music. Your music will get played more often, in farther locales, and with greater accuracy, if you take the time to transcribe and notate it. Services like Digital Print Publishing provide a forum for musicians around the world to easily share PDF transcriptions of their songs—and earn money doing it!

GETTING STARTED

So, how do you transcribe your songs? There are many helpful resources, both electronic and interpersonal, but the best place to start is with your own ears and a piece of paper. Continue reading ‘Transcribing Your Songs’


About Take Note:

Thought-provoking articles by musicians for musicians, music lovers or those that want to learn more about it!

Shop at:

Sheet Music Plus

FREE Newsletter:

Get exclusive discounts and coupons
Sign Up Today →

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 342 other followers

Twitter Updates


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 342 other followers

%d bloggers like this: