Archive for the 'General' Category



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.

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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’

Overshadowed Female Composers: Celebrating Music by Women Composers

In honor of Women’s History Month, we would like to recognize five important historical female composers who did not receive the recognition of their more famous male family members, although it was deserved. Prior to 1900, it was not uncommon to see women performing music. In fact, it was a requirement of all accomplished young ladies to play the keyboard. While performing music was encouraged, creating music was not, which is why we hear so little music by female composers before the twentieth century.

Bach-Anna-Magdalena-01Anna Magdalena Bach (1701-1760) was the second wife of Johann Sebastian Bach. She was a professional vocalist, although not much is documented of her career. We know that she met her husband when he was the Capellmeister (a music director) in the German city of Cöthen and that she continued to sing professionally after they were married. Anna Magdalena Bach played an important role in her husband’s work, transcribing much of her husband’s music. Recent research by musicologists has suggested that several of J.S. Bach’s compositions were actually composed by his wife, including the famous Six Cello Suites.

 

Continue reading ‘Overshadowed Female Composers: Celebrating Music by Women Composers’

Sheet Music Plus – Randall Faber Interview (Faber Piano Adventures)

PIANO ADVENTURES – RANDALL AND NANCY FABER INTERVIEW

 

In 2013, Sheet Music Plus attended the Music Teacher’s Association of California Convention . After his keynote address and masterclass, we had the opportunity to interview Randall Faber, co-author of the Faber Piano Adventures Series. In the video, Randall provides his expert advice to teachers and answers some questions sent in from members of our Easy Rebates Program for Music Teachers. Please enjoy, you can read a transcript of the interview below:

Continue reading ‘Sheet Music Plus – Randall Faber Interview (Faber Piano Adventures)’

10 Outstanding Resources for Jazz Musicians

By Zachariah Friesen

Teachers, students, professionals and dreamers, welcome to the jazz reference mecca. This is comprised of some of the great literary resources, DVDs and method books for the aspiring jazz musician. Learn the keys of success from people who have success in the profession. With these must-have resources, you’ll be jamming, gigging and living the jazz life in no time.

1. How To Listen To Jazz by Jerry Coker – To play jazz you must learn how to hear jazz. The great Jerry Coker beautifully explains how to train your ear and what to listen for in jazz music.

How To Listen To Jazz by Jerry Coker

How To Listen To Jazz by Jerry Coker

Continue reading ’10 Outstanding Resources for Jazz Musicians’

Holiday Gift Ideas for Musicians

If you’re like me, the most stressful part of the holidays is finding the perfect gift for all my friends and loved ones. As so many of us here are musicians, we thought we’d share some gift ideas for musicians we’d love to see under our Christmas trees this year! We hope they’ll help you find just the right gift for the musicians in your life.

Constructing Melodic Jazz Improvisation – $24.95

If you’re familiar with the sounds of jazz greats like Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, JJ Johnson or Miles Davis, it’s likely that you were spellbound by their amazing improvisational solos. This book contains a very thorough method with which to acquire a solid foundation for growing your improvisational skills. The best part  about this book that it contains a play along CD to practice improvisation over a wide variety of chord changes. This is a perfect gift for the budding jazz musician.

Constructing Melodic Jazz Improvisation

Constructing Melodic Jazz Improvisation

Brendan
Trombonist and Assistant Marketing Manager

Circle of Fifths Watch – $49.95

Grappling for gift ideas for your musically inclined loved ones? Your family and friends will be impressed by the thoughtfulness of this creative gift that represents their musical side. This watch is the perfect gift for the enthusiastic musician. Also available for men and with a chromatic face. Plus, every musician needs to be on time and know their scales!

Circle of Fifths Watch

Circle of Fifths Watch

Jacy
Hornist and Customer Service Representative

Continue reading ‘Holiday Gift Ideas for Musicians’

10 Must-Read Books to Help You Succeed in the Music Industry

By Zachariah Friesen

Whether you or one of your kids is embarking on a journey into the world of music, there is help to guide you along the way. These great resources will give you tips on how the music industry works, how you fit into it and how to survive. Intrigue, information and experience – the learning starts now!

1. The Music Lesson (A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music) By Victor Wooten

The Music Lesson

The Music Lesson

“…Every movement, phrase, and chord has its own meaning. All you have to do is find the song inside.”

Continue reading ’10 Must-Read Books to Help You Succeed in the Music Industry’


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

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