Archive for the 'General' Category

10 Facts about Mahler

Sheet Music Plus:

This year we celebrate the 155th anniversary of Mahler’s birth.

Originally posted on Take Note:

By Zachariah Friesen

Mahler

As a young aspiring trombone player, exploring the world of Gustav Mahler, I listened to his 5th Symphony at least 20 times before I understood any of it. One night, after returning from an audition in Los Angeles, I listened to his 5th Symphony on repeat all the way back to San Francisco. At about 2am, and the 3rd repeat of the symphony I was finally able to wrap my head around it. The next hour listening to that symphony was truly one of the most enjoyable moments of my life. Here are some things that I’ve learned about Mahler that you may not have known:

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Organ Fun Facts

Sheet Music Plus:

Thought we’d share this again because organs are just so cool. And time is running out to Save 20% on Organ Solos and Duets!

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Originally posted on Take Note:

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

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10 Fun Facts About Claude Debussy

by Jacy Burroughs

Debussy circa 1908

Debussy circa 1908

1. Achille-Claude Debussy was born on August 22, 1862. He began piano lessons at the age of seven. In 1871, he started to study with Marie Mauté de Fleurville, who claimed to have been a pupil of Chopin’s, although there is no evidence to corroborate her story. Regardless, Debussy was obviously talented and he entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1872, where he would remain for 11 years.

2. Debussy’s parents hoped that he would be a piano virtuoso, but he never placed higher than fourth in any competitions. Continue reading ’10 Fun Facts About Claude Debussy’

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’


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