by Jacy Burroughs
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791)
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’
Published January 21, 2015
General , Top 10 Tips & Facts
Tags: cantata, Choir, choir music, choral music, choral sheet music, church music, Easter music, Joel Raney, Joseph M. Martin, Lloyd Larson, Pepper Choplin, sacred choral music, Thomas Fettke, worship music
1. The Easter Story by Thomas Fettke & Thomas Grassi
Performance Time: 35 minutes
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’
Published November 19, 2014
General , Top 10 Tips & Facts
Tags: Christmas gifts, Daniel Ho Ukulele, Disney, Finale SongWriter, gifts, gifts for musicians, holiday gifts, Jamey Aebersold, metronome, Teach Yourself to Play Ukulele, tuner, ukulele
1. Alfred’s Teach Yourself to Play Ukulele, Complete Pack – $49.99
This 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.
E-Commerce Content Manager and Violinist
Continue reading ‘Top Ten Holiday Gift Ideas for Musicians’
by Jacy Burroughs
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?’
Published November 5, 2014
Tags: Chanukah, Christmas, Christmas carols, Christmas music, Christmas sheet music, Christmas tunes, Holiday music, Holidays, Jewish, Jewish music, Jim Brickman, Mannheim Steamroller
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.
Continue reading ‘Ten Great New Music Titles to Celebrate the Holidays’
Published October 31, 2014
Tags: Camille Saint-Saëns, classical, dead, Halloween, Halloween music, Hector Berlioz, Isle of the Dead, macabre, orchestra, Sergei Rachmaninoff, spooky
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’
Published October 24, 2014
Tags: Baerenreiter Verlag, Breitkopf and Haertel, Classical music, classical Urtext Editions, Edition Peters, G. Henle, music editions, Urtext, Urtext Editions, Wiener Verlag
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?’
Published October 1, 2014
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 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!
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’
Composer, arranger and pianist Miranda Wong
Miranda Wong is a wedding pianist and pop piano teacher in Hong Kong. She composes and arranges over hundreds of pieces for piano. She mainly writes music for weddings and Christmas and easy arrangements for children and jazz exercises. Her original wedding music and arrangements of classical music are widely used in wedding ceremonies in many countries, especially her Romantic Wedding March, Romantic Amazing Grace, and Traditional Canon in D.
Ms. Wong recently released her first piano book and album called “True Love” for simple piano music.
Miranda Wong is a top-selling self-publisher through Digital Print Publishing, a program that allows composers and arrangers the opportunity to upload their music for free to www.sheetmusicplus.com and earn royalties. Composers world-wide have achieved success with this program. Ms. Wong, a resident of Hong Kong, has had her music played at weddings all over the world. In the following interview, she gives insight into arranging and Digital Print Publishing. Continue reading ‘Top selling Digital Print Publisher Miranda Wong gives insight into her success.’