The Excitement of Editing Debussy’s Works: Interview with Bärenreiter Editor Douglas Woodfull-Harris

Douglas Woodfull-Harris has been working at Bärenreiter as an editor for orchestral and chamber music for more than 25 years and has overseen the production of countless editions. In 2018 we will commemorate Claude Debussy’s death 100 years ago. Among the editions which Woodfull-Harris has personally edited are Debussy’s La Mer, Afternoon of a Faun, his Cello Sonata and String Quartet, Images for piano, Syrinx for Flute, and most recently the Rhapsodie Première for Orchestra with Solo Clarinet (coming in December 2017).

Claude Debussy, c. 1908

Douglas Woodfull-Harris

Why Debussy? What made you turn to his works?

Douglas Woodfull-Harris (DWH): From conversations with musicians I knew that the existing editions had problems such as discrepancies between score and parts of orchestral works. Orchestras had their correction lists and made do with what they had but scholarly-critical editions were badly needed. Also, I simply enjoy the music.

The first work by Debussy which you edited was his cello sonata. How did you proceed?

DWH: Of course, I gathered together all relevant sources as I always do. During this process I investigated a private collection in Winterthur (Switzerland) which nobody appears to have looked into, and there I found sketches to the Cello Sonata.

Now, the final note in measure 18 of the 2nd movement is the lowest note on the cello, a C. In the autograph score, the first edition, and all other published editions a “circle” or “zero” appears above the note (*see example below). This circle today is understood to indicate that the note should be played as an open string. I asked myself why an experienced composer like Debussy would mark a note in such a way that can only be played as the open C string. It simply didn’t make sense to me. The marking seemed redundant. But is it possible Debussy meant something else? Continue reading ‘The Excitement of Editing Debussy’s Works: Interview with Bärenreiter Editor Douglas Woodfull-Harris’

Music Degree Options: What’s Right For You?

Guest post by Kate Samano, Content Editor from University of Florida School of Music

For students interested in pursuing a career in music, there can be some confusion about which degree is right for them. Many degrees sound the same but can be very different from each other. It’s important to understand these differences – arts or fine arts, music or music education – before making the decision to pursue a particular path. Continue reading ‘Music Degree Options: What’s Right For You?’

Celebrating 150 Years of Edition Peters Green

Originally posted on www.editionpeters.com.

Hidden behind the iconic green covers of Edition Peters lies a story that is fascinating, complex, at times heartbreakingly tragic, but overwhelmingly inspirational. This year Edition Peters proudly celebrates 150 years of the green cover series and here is a short version of our story.

Continue reading ‘Celebrating 150 Years of Edition Peters Green’

How to Get Testimonials from Your Music Students

Guest blog post by Doug Hanvey, author of Piano Lab Blog

Testimonials and Online Reviews = A “Real Reason to Believe”

In these days of overhyped marketing of nearly every product and service – and yes, that sometimes includes music lessons! – it is more important than ever to communicate why your prospective students should have what marketing experts call a “real reason to believe” in you and your studio.

The best way to communicate a “real reason to believe” is via testimonials from current or former students/parents.

Of course, testimonials now include online Google reviews, Yelp reviews, etc. Testimonials and online reviews are effective because they are based on the actual experience of a student/parent. They are thus more believable to prospective students/parents than anything you personally say about yourself and your teaching. Continue reading ‘How to Get Testimonials from Your Music Students’

The Magic of Music: 8 Musical Phenomena Explained

Beethoven said, “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” He was right! Music awakens the senses and makes thoughts and feelings come alive. It unites cultures, countries, and individuals. Music is timeless and borderless. There is a mystery associated with it, though.

Even the great composers of old did not understand why songs get stuck in our head. Most people today do not know why we get chills when listening to music; and more importantly, why on earth do we love listening to sad songs? Scientists have come up with a few theories as to why these phenomena happen. The infographic from TakeLessons below discusses the answers to these questions and more.

 

 

 

 

Play It Again: A New Piano Book Aimed at Returning Players

Did you used to play the piano? Would you like to play again? Aimed at returning players who have spent some time away from the keyboard, Play It Again: Piano by Melanie Spanswick gives you the confidence to revisit this fulfilling pastime and go beyond what you previously thought you could achieve. This book is designed to get your fingers speeding comfortably across the keys once again.

Continue reading ‘Play It Again: A New Piano Book Aimed at Returning Players’

Frédéric Chopin and the Chopin National Edition

Who is Frédéric Chopin?

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) was a Polish French composer and pianist of the Romantic period, who was best known for his solo pieces for piano and his piano concerti. Although he wrote little else but piano works, he ranks as one of music’s greatest tone poets. It was clear that his love for music developed from a very young age. Young Chopin studied piano with Wojciech Zywny and gave his first concert when he was 8, and rather quickly outdistanced his teachers. By the age of 16, he had composed several piano pieces in different styles, and his parents enrolled him in the Warsaw Conservatory of Music.  Chopin only gave 30 public performances in 30 years of concertizing. While seriously ill with tuberculosis, he managed to complete the 24 Preludes, Op.28. He has composed 20 nocturnes, 25 preludes, 17 waltzes, 15 polonaises, 58 mazurkas and 27 etudes.

What is the Chopin National Edition?

Continue reading ‘Frédéric Chopin and the Chopin National Edition’

Forge Your Educational Path to Success as a Music Teacher: Licenses, Degrees and More

Guest post by Audrey Allen, Assistant Content Editor from University of Florida.

Becoming a Licensed Music Teacher

Skilled musicians who want to share their passion for music often find teaching to be a rewarding career path. Some of these musicians offer private lessons in their own studio or teach at a private music school, and may have no formal academic training. You can expand your opportunities for a successful teaching career vastly, however, through formal education.

Continue reading ‘Forge Your Educational Path to Success as a Music Teacher: Licenses, Degrees and More’

Resources for Conductors from Meredith Music

Meredith Music Publications, an award-winning publisher of percussion performance music and method books, was established in 1979. Their conducting resources provides a wide variety of titles ranging from beginner to professional levels. For conductors interested in improving their skills and exploring their knowledge, these publications provide an excellent resource.

The Interpretive Wind Band Conductor  

By John Knight

The Interpretive Wind Band Conductor will help conductors make the creative leap from simply reading notes to insightful musical interpretation. In addition to a long list of topics on conducting and interpretation, it includes in-depth analysis of six masterworks for band, and provides solutions for conducting irregular and non-metrical problems inherent in contemporary music.

“Thank you for your brilliant interpretive analysis of my ‘La Fiesta Mexicana.’ It is obvious that you have studied the score very closely and know the music even better than I do! Great advice and insights for the conductor to know for the execution and interpretation of my music.”

H. Owen Reed, composer

Continue reading ‘Resources for Conductors from Meredith Music’

10 Things You Should Know About the Guzheng

If you’re wondering what this harp-table looking instrument is, you’re in the right place. The Guzheng, also known as the Chinese zither, is a wood plucking instrument that can have 21 or more strings.

 

1. Guzheng players wear fake nails.

No, not the ones you can get from the nail salon. These fake nails are actually called finger picks and they’re usually made out of turtle shell. Guzheng players use a cloth tape that was made to tape the picks on the top of their right hand fingers. Not all of them, only the first four. As one increases in level, they would also wear the finger picks on their left hand too. These not only protect your fingers from blistering, but also make sure that the sound comes out bright and not muffled when the string is plucked. Continue reading ’10 Things You Should Know About the Guzheng’

Series Spotlight: Teaching Music through Performance

Teaching Music through Performance is a best-selling series of books and CDs that are theoretical, practical, and analytical. Written, researched, and compiled by scholars with a wealth of teaching and conducting experience, this series enables conductors,  educators, and students to move beyond the printed page toward full musical awareness. Sheet Music Plus had the opportunity to learn from the publisher what inspired the creation of the series.

1. When was the Teaching Music through Performance series developed?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first edition of Volume 1 was for band and was released at the Midwest Clinic in 1997. This year, 2017 is the 20th anniversary of the series.  The Teaching Music through Performance series now includes 26 volumes, 16 for band, three for jazz, three for orchestra, and four for choir. In addition, each volume has accompanying CDs.

Continue reading ‘Series Spotlight: Teaching Music through Performance’

New Piano Method Books from Stephen Chatman: Mix & Match

Originally posted on In Tune: ECS Publishing Group Blog and News.

Galaxy Music recently welcomed the new Mix and Match performance method series from dynamic duo, Stephen Chatman and Tara Wohlberg. The series is designed as a rare, innovative mix-and-match complement to any standard piano method book. We sat down with composer Stephen Chatman to learn more about the vision behind Mix and Match.

Continue reading ‘New Piano Method Books from Stephen Chatman: Mix & Match’

The Elder Statesman of the Cello World

Director Ty Kim and Cellist Lynn Harrell

Lynn Harrell – A Cellist’s Life is an extraordinary documentary feature film that chronicles the 60-year journey in music of renowned classical cellist Lynn Harrell who has performed around the world as a soloist with every major symphony orchestra. We learn about Lynn’s devastating childhood when he lost both parents (one to cancer, the other in a fatal car crash) to establishing a career as a virtuoso cellist collaborating with the most legendary musicians in history spanning multiple generations. The film includes fresh interviews with iconic musicians of the day such as the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinists Itzhak Perlman and Anne-Sophie Mutter, and Oscar-winning composers John Williams and André Previn. Lynn Harrell, a multiple Grammy-award winner, shares his personal revelations about universal themes such as overcoming tragedy, finding a higher purpose in art, what it means to grow old, and the power of music to change lives. His story will captivate and inspire.

Continue reading ‘The Elder Statesman of the Cello World’

Method Spotlight: Piano Junior

Request your free copy today!

From Hans-Günter Heumann and Schott Music comes a new piano method, Piano Junior. In this creative and interactive piano course, children will join PJ the robot and Mozart the dog in discovering how much fun playing the piano can be! The online resources, including audio and video recordings and interactive extras, bring the method to life for today’s tech savvy kids. Discover more about this method’s approach in our interview with the author, below, and request your free copy today!* Continue reading ‘Method Spotlight: Piano Junior’

ABRSM Exams: Inspiring Musical Achievement

ABRSM’s graded music exams are recognised and respected around the world.  Find out more about what’s involved and how these assessments can support your music teaching or learning.

ABRSM’s mission is to inspire musical achievement and our graded music exams are a big part of that. These world-leading assessments have the authority of four Royal Schools of Music in the UK, and have been supporting and motivating students around the world since 1889.

Our graded music exams are available at eight levels – Grades 1 to 8 – for a wide range of classical instruments and for singers. You can also do exams in Jazz, Music Theory and Practical Musicianship.  Students of any age can take these exams and you can start with any grade or skip grades if you want to.

What happens in an ABRSM exam? Continue reading ‘ABRSM Exams: Inspiring Musical Achievement’

Trinity College London: Excellence in Music Assessment

Trinity College London provides recognised and respected qualifications across a unique spectrum of communicative skills- from music, drama and arts activities to English language-at all levels. Trinity has been providing assessments around the world since 1877 and in the USA, Trinity College examinations have been taking place since the 1930s helping to support learners to develop their skills and achieve their goals.

Every year Trinity College London supports the music education of thousands of students across the world with assessments across a wide compass including popular, jazz, contemporary and classical music. As an international exam board with a rich heritage of academic rigour and a positive, supportive approach to assessment, we aim to take a lead role in reflecting and contributing to the evolution of music education. Continue reading ‘Trinity College London: Excellence in Music Assessment’

“At the Piano” – lends colour to the Henle catalogue!

At the Piano” is a new series perfect for piano students and those returning to the piano from renowned Urtext sheet music publisher, G. Henle. Each volume in “At the Piano” features original pieces by one composer, including Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy and many more! The works in each volume are organized in progressive order of difficulty and contain fingerings and practical tips on technique and interpretation. Click the link below for more information on this exciting new series!

Source: “At the Piano” – lends colour to the Henle catalogue!

Shop At the Piano on Sheet Music Plus

 

Publisher Spotlight: Walton

Walton Music serves the choral community by publishing works by noted composers such as Eric Whitacre and Ola Gjeilo, and promoting both new compositions and the preservation of classics such as Vivaldi’s Gloria. Editions in the Walton catalog number in the thousands. Susan LaBarr, Editor of Walton Music, gave Sheet Music Plus insight into what makes their catalog so special and what’s new and exciting in 2017.

Continue reading ‘Publisher Spotlight: Walton’

Series Spotlight: Jazz Piano Solos

The Jazz Piano Solos Series has proven wildly popular among pianists. Each volume features a collection of 20-24 exciting new piano solo arrangements with chord symbols of the songs, which helped define a particular jazz style. The difficulty of the arrangements varies somewhat, and though they can be quite challenging at times, they are always eminently playable. Pianists possessing an intermediate ability or better will find the majority of the selections well within their reach. For the more challenging arrangements a little extra practice may be needed, but it’s time well spent. The series, which is published by Hal Leonard, currently has 47 volumes, including jazzy arrangements of Disney tunes, pop standards and Gospel music, with more in production!

We asked Jeff Schroedl, Hal Leonard’s Executive Vice President, about the inspiration behind the series: Continue reading ‘Series Spotlight: Jazz Piano Solos’

Publisher Spotlight: G. Schirmer

If you’re a classically trained musician, you know the G. Schirmer publications.  Even if that name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, you would recognize the iconic yellow cover with the green border and type. That’s because they have been used by teachers and students for decades. So what makes the G. Schirmer editions so timeless? Sheet Music Plus interviewed Rick Walters, Vice President of Classical and Vocal Publications at the Hal Leonard Corporation to find out. Continue reading ‘Publisher Spotlight: G. Schirmer’

Method Spotlight: Bastien New Traditions

From the family that wrote the ever popular Bastien Piano Basics method comes a new, all-in-one series designed for today’s students. Sheet Music Plus had the opportunity to interview Lisa Bastien to find out what makes Bastien New Traditions so unique!

1. What was the inspiration behind the Bastien family developing a new method?

We were inspired to develop Bastien New Traditions by our students and their needs in today’s world. My mom (Jane), Lori and I are first and foremost full time passionate piano teachers. It became clear to us that the learning environment has changed and that a different approach to teaching piano was needed to effectively engage today’s students.

2. What makes this method unique from other methods? 

Bastien New Traditions is different in a number of ways that make it a captivating and dynamic way to teach.  It’s an ALL IN ONE Piano Course that takes the solid, time tested 50+ years of Bastien pedagogy and presents it in a fresh, modern way. Here are some of the unique features that teachers, students and parents are enjoying:

  • All In One: From the very beginning, Bastien New Traditions was designed and developed as an All In One method. Each book includes lesson, technic, theory and performance pages that are fully integrated for a streamlined, comprehensive, easy-to-use approach.
  • Teacher’s Choice: We give the teacher two options to start new students: Primer A is entirely pre-reading, while Primer B begins immediately with notation. This gives the teacher the flexibility to choose how to begin depending on the child’s age and ability.
  • IPS Technology: IPS (Interactive Practice Studio) is a free practice app that students love and can’t wait to use! It can be downloaded onto any device with the purchase of a book. It acts as a practice partner or musical metronome, provides beautiful accompaniments for the pieces, allows the students to record themselves, provides answers to the theory exercises and so much more!
  • Captivating music and accompaniments: Bastien New Traditions features outstanding solo pieces and duet accompaniments, an excellent variety of different musical styles and an abundance of familiar melodies to inspire students.
  • Integrated Pages: The integrated pages capture multiple musical elements all in one place.  For instance, when each note is introduced, the student writes the note on the staff, recognizes the note and then plays and hears the note — all on the same page. The multi-sensory aspect of Bastien New Traditions is extremely effective in helping students to learn, make connections and commit concepts to memory.
  • Short Theory Exercises: We have included short theory exercises on many of the pages that can be completed during the lesson. Theory is an important part of every lesson and the student sees how it relates to the music.
  • Inviting Pages: The pages are beautifully organized and clutter-free, with stunning watercolor illustrations.

3. What age range is this method designed for? 

The flexibility in the method means it can work for all students ages 5 and up. If I get a younger student, I always start with Primer A because it is an entire book of pre-reading. If I get an older student who seems ready to begin right away on the staff, I begin with Primer B.

4. Was this method tested on beginners before publication?

Yes! We have successfully taught and tested Bastien New Traditions over the past few years, and we are now thrilled to share this new method with you!

Shop the whole Bastien New Traditions series at Sheet Music Plus.

Publisher Spotlight: Schott Music

Founded by Bernhard Schott in Mainz in 1770, the Schott Music group today ranks among the leading music and media publishers in the world with branches in major international markets in 10 countries. Among the companies of the Schott group are not only traditional publishing houses, but also two internationally renowned record labels, Wergo and Intuition, distributing contemporary, jazz and world music on CD. Continue reading ‘Publisher Spotlight: Schott Music’

Publisher Spotlight: Boosey & Hawkes

Boosey & Hawkes is the largest specialist classical music publishing company in the world, with offices in New York, London and Berlin. Their impressive catalog contains some of the most popular composers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Learn what else makes Boosey & Hawkes unique from other publishers in our interview below.

Q: When was Boosey & Hawkes founded?

Boosey & Hawkes was formed in 1930 when two long established London companies joined forces rather than continuing to compete. Boosey & Company had been founded in the 1760s when John Boosey opened a music lending library, expanding with pioneering inexpensive editions of the classics and acquiring the rights to works by Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi. Its rival, Hawkes & Son, was set up by William Henry Hawkes in 1865, concentrating on band and orchestral music publishing and the manufacture of instruments. The company directors at the time of the merger, Leslie Boosey and Ralph Hawkes, soon established Boosey & Hawkes on the international publishing scene, signing composers including Continue reading ‘Publisher Spotlight: Boosey & Hawkes’

Method Spotlight: Basics in Rhythm

It goes without saying that rhythm training is essential to all musicians, yet it can still be a struggle for some students. Garwood Whaley, President and Founder of Meredith Music Publishing, developed a method to solve all your rhythm woes. Sheet Music Plus had the opportunity to interview Garwood Whaley, creator of the Basics in Rhythm method, and find out what makes it so successful! Continue reading ‘Method Spotlight: Basics in Rhythm’

Sheet Music from 2017 Grammy Winners

Adele

Adele was the big winner at the 59th Grammy Awards, taking home five Grammys. Her album, 25, won Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. She won Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Hello”. Continue reading ‘Sheet Music from 2017 Grammy Winners’

Publisher Spotlight: Hope Publishing

Contributed by Steve Shorney, Vice President – Hope Publishing

Hope is proud to celebrate its 125th anniversary this year!  We were founded in 1892 in Chicago, Illinois.  The company was formed in an effort to provide songbooks for hymn singing at Methodist evangelical meetings. The founders of the company christened the name Hope Publishing Company from their motto, “all we have is hope” which defined their feelings when starting the fledgling business. The Shorney family has been running Hope Publishing from its beginning and the current owners, John, Scott and Steve Shorney, are the fourth generation of family management.

Hymns and hymnals are still an important part of Hope’s product mix but in the sixties we aggressively branched out into other products to serve the church market.  Now a large part of our publishing is committed to choral, handbell, piano, organ and instrumental products.  We remain committed to the sacred market. Continue reading ‘Publisher Spotlight: Hope Publishing’

10 Interesting Facts About Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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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 na…

Source: 10 Interesting Facts About Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

New Lent and Easter Cantatas and Anthems for 2017

Discover new and poignant choral cantatas and anthems appropriate for the Lent and Easter seasons from Beckenhorst Press, Brookfield Press, Hope, Lorenz, Shawnee Press and SoundForth.

Cantatas

Come to the Cross and Remember by Pepper Choplin

Iconic imagery of the Easter story is paired with a beautiful melodic figure that weaves throughout the entire work to help present and guide the audience through this work. The music by Pepper Choplin, accompanied by Michael Lawrence’s stunning orchestration, powerfully represents the high and low moments of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Additional choruses and hymns illumine the journey, including the haunting “Go to Dark Gethsemane,” the spine-tingling “Judas,” the mournful “Surely He Has Borne Our Griefs,” the transportive “You Will Be with Me in Paradise,” and the majestically triumphant “Every Knee Should Bow.”

Psalm 23: A Journey with the Shepherd by Pepper Choplin

“Psalm 23 holds a special place in the lives of believers.  We often read or say it from memory at significant services and times of challenge.  Through this cantata, I wanted choir and audience to truly experience this most beloved psalm:

to feel the peace of the still waters,

to be comforted through shadow of death,

to express gratitude for the bountiful table of blessings

and to celebrate the mercy which follows through all the days of our lives.

The music is dramatic with an artistic flair, but written with the church and community choir in mind.”

Pepper Choplin

Sacred Places: Pilgrimage of Promise by Joseph Martin

“I have always been inspired by the early American folk hymn tradition. I grew up in North Carolina where these time-honored texts and tunes are very much a part of the church music experience. In SACRED PLACES I have tried to capture some of that rustic spirit and tell the timeless story of Christ’s ministry and passion. The focus of the cantata is on the places where Jesus performed some of his important miracles and where he experienced other significant moments in his final days. The River Jordan, The Wedding at Cana, The Pool of Bethesda, The holy city of Jerusalem, the upper room, the Garden of Gethsemane, Calvary and the Garden of Resurrection.

The narration is based on scripture and helps move the work forward. Two endings are provided, one intended for use during Holy Week and a more joyful triumphant conclusion for churches performing the work after Easter. The orchestrations by Brant Adams are filled with an abundance of creativity and provide a colorful soundtrack for the work. With SACRED PLACES I have tried to create something interesting, yet approachable, so that choirs of any size and level of accomplishment can embrace the work with confidence.”

Joseph Martin

Lamentations of the Lamb by John Purifoy

“Pamela Stewart’s poignant and insightful lyrics made composing ‘Lamentations of the Lamb’ a true journey experiencing Christ’s final week of betrayal, suffering and sacrifice for us as believers.  It is always our hope as writers and composers that these emotions resonate in the music for both singers, instrumentalists and worshipers alike.  The blending of Old Testament prophecy, historical hymn texts and newly written lyrics also made setting the music an artistic reward.”

John Purifoy

 

Hope in the Shadows by Joel Raney and Lloyd Larson

Retracing Christ’s final days and journey to the cross, this new musical for Lent and Holy Week includes a mixture of traditional and contemporary hymns and songs set in a variety of styles. Arranged for SATB choir with narrator(s), and options to include soloists and congregation, plus a 5-piece instrumental ensemble, scored by Ed Hogan, this 38-minute program focuses on our Savior’s sacrifice and the hope in the shadows to which we cling.

 

 

 

Anthems

Christ Is Risen, Alleluia! by Jay Althouse

This exuberant Easter anthem opens with a joyous, hymn-like melody, harmonized in a straightforward manner. This leads to a statement of the majestic hymn “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” in a comfortable key, making it ideal for having the congregation join in. Returning to the original melody for a powerful conclusion makes this an accessible, uplifting musical presentation for Easter Sunday.

 

 

 

I Am Bound for the Promised Land! by Craig Courtney

bound_promised_land

A march-like ritornello begins Craig Courtney’s new arrangement of I Am Bound for the Promised Land and, although that motive can be heard throughout the piece, he counters that with contrast and variety in the 4-hand accompaniment and a variety of articulation in the voices. Snare drum, triangle and cymbals add to the dramatic effect.

 

 

 

 

I’ll Fly Away by Craig Courtney

Craig Courtney’s arrangement of I’ll Fly Away begins as a seemingly traditional treatment of the Brumley gospel tune but, as the piece goes on, it veers into different territory. Chock full of text painting, polyphony and a tipping of the hat to Gershwin, it becomes a journey of joy. The 4-hand accompaniment is creatively sophisticated. This would be the perfect choice for a choir festival or as a final piece in a concert that will “bring the house down”.

 

 

 

Anthems of Love by Dan Forrest

Anthems of Love is Dan Forrest’s setting of an ethereal Susan Boersma text based on Zephaniah 3:17, where God sings over His children with joy. The music portrays the idea of “celestial music” surrounding our praise, as God Himself joins in our songs of praise to Him. The combination of text and music is strikingly beautiful.

 

 

 

 

A Mighty Fortress by Dan Forrest

Dan Forrest’s new setting of A Mighty Fortress is just in time for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation being celebrated around the world in 2017. His setting opens with a evocation of the blows of Luther’s hammer, and then works its way through music history, while not becoming overly difficult. It has numerous instrumental accompaniment options available, for maximum flexibility.

 

 

 

Pie Jesu by Joseph Martin

Joseph Martin beautifully set this Latin text with an optional English translation along with an original melody that is nothing short of breath-taking. Equally functional as it is beautiful, this anthem is equally applicable in a worship service or concert setting. The optional violin part provides another layer of musical tenderness that will live with the choir and audience well after the performance ends.

 

 

 

How Can It Be? by Jay Rouse

Jay Rouse’s arrangement of this 2015 Contemporary Christian song of the year is an authentic and powerful choral representation of this stirring worship song. With an expressive solo and driving instrumental accompaniment, this anthem provides a compelling opportunity for congregation participation.

 

 

 

 

Agnus Dei with How Great Thou Art by Michael W. Smith & Stuart K. Hine

This Michael W. Smith “classic” is ideal for any worship occasion and especially communion services reflecting on Jesus, the Lamb of God. The inclusion of a portion of “How Great Thou Art” expands and reinforces this anthem of praise to the Lord God Almighty.

 

 

 

 

 

Come People of the Risen King with Rejoice, the Lord Is King by Stuart Townend, Keith & Kristyn Getty

This dynamic hymn setting calls for the church of Christ, both young and old, to rejoice in the risen King. A verse of the Charles Wesley hymn “Rejoice, the Lord Is King!” is seamlessly woven into the fabric and heightens the impact of this celebration of Christ our Lord and King.

10 Fun Facts about Beethoven

by Jacy Burroughs

beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is arguably one of the most well-known composers of all time. From his deafness and notoriously angry look to the movie dog who got his name from howling at the famous first four notes of the Fifth Symphony, Beethoven is still recognizable in today’s culture. His music and life are incredibly complex and this post barely brushes the surface, but hopefully you will learn something new and interesting.

1. No one knows for sure Beethoven’s date of birth. He was baptized on December 17, 1770. In that era and region where Beethoven was born, it was the tradition of the Catholic Church to baptize the day after birth. Therefore, most scholars accept December 16 as Beethoven’s birthday.

2. Beethoven’s father wanted to pass his son off as a child prodigy so he lied about young Beethoven’s age at his first public performance. For a good portion of Beethoven’s life, he believed he was born in 1772 instead of 1770. Continue reading ’10 Fun Facts about Beethoven’

Publisher Spotlight: Bärenreiter

baer_240pixelBärenreiter is a renowned German publisher. Founded in 1923, during an era in which there was a burgeoning interest in early music, Bärenreiter quickly developed its reputation for using musicological research to inform editorial decisions. Their editions are preferred by many musicians worldwide. So what is it about Bärenreiter publications that makes them so popular? Our interview with Bärenreiter staff, below, will answer that question and more! Continue reading ‘Publisher Spotlight: Bärenreiter’

Fitness for Musicians

As a musician, you know how important technique and theory are to musical mastery. But in between all of the practicing, auditioning, and gigging, it’s also important to pay attention to your overall health!

Think about it: as a vocalist, can you remember the last time you ran of out breath while singing a long phrase? Pianists, woodwind, and brass players, have you ever felt sore after a long practice session? Here’s where staying fit and healthy comes into play.

If fitness isn’t already part of your routine, take some tips from the infographic below about the best exercises and stretches for musicians, courtesy of TakeLessons.com.

10-essential-fitness-exercises-for-musicians

Top Christmas Chamber Music Arrangements

by Jacy Burroughs

The Christmas season is one of the busiest times for musicians, with church gigs, themed concerts and holiday parties galore! With the thousands of arrangements out there, it can be difficult to decide what to play. That’s why Sheet Music Plus has come up with this brief guide of our most popular Christmas arrangements to help you get started. The following arrangements are great for both professional musicians and students.  Pros can easily sightread these at a gig and students, with a little more preparation, can have some festive pieces for their holiday concerts. Continue reading ‘Top Christmas Chamber Music Arrangements’

Mechanical Rights FAQs

We get a lot of questions about mechanical rights. You need different rights to arrange, perform and distribute recordings of copyrighted songs (generally anything published after 1923). Our friends at EasySongLicensing.com have provided us with this helpful introductory guide to explain mechanical rights – the rights to distribute audio-only recordings.

What is a mechanical license?

Whenever you record a song you did not write in the first place and want to distribute an audio-only product such as CDs, vinyl, digital downloads or interactive audio streaming, you will need to secure a mechanical song license to legally distribute (regardless of intent to sell, give away or promote). This is made possible by contacting the song‘s copyright holder(s), following the correct filing and registration steps, while paying the proper royalties owed for each music media format you are planning to release. EasySongLicensing.com provides the most efficient and affordable path to accomplish this quickly with expert guidance every step of the way.

Continue reading ‘Mechanical Rights FAQs’

Introducing ArrangeMe: Legally Create and Sell Arrangements for over 1000 Copyrighted Songs

Start creating the arrangements you’ve been dreaming of. Arrange over 1000 hot copyrighted songs.

Sheet Music Plus is excited to announce ArrangeMe, a groundbreaking program that allows arrangers to create and sell arrangements of copyrighted music exclusively on Sheet Music Plus through the digital self-publishing platform SMP Press. Sheet Music Plus worked with music publisher Hal Leonard to provide SMP Press users with over 1000 songs, from Broadway showstoppers to award-winning hits. It’s free and easy to participate. Sheet Music Plus, together with Hal Leonard, handles payments to copyright holders so arrangers have more time to create. Continue reading ‘Introducing ArrangeMe: Legally Create and Sell Arrangements for over 1000 Copyrighted Songs’

Spring School Choral Concert Winning Programs!

This spring, Sheet Music Plus held a school choral program contest, in which choir directors at the elementary, middle, high school and college levels were encouraged to submit the repertoire list for their schools’ spring choral concerts. The choral programs were judged based on originality, thematic content and age appropriateness. The winners received a $200 gift certificate to Sheet Music Plus. They shared the inspiration behind their creative programming with us. Congratulations, winners!

Elementary Winner
DeLeigh
Iron Forge Elementary School
Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania
Theme: “The Iron Forge Construction . . . Through Music of Course!”

“I was working down the hall one day last spring when I heard a very loud “bang, bang” Continue reading ‘Spring School Choral Concert Winning Programs!’

Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Dynamics, Articulations and Tempo

So you may be thinking to yourself, “I know how to read and play notes and rhythms, but how do I make it sound more interesting?” That’s where dynamics, articulations and tempo come in. Dynamics tell you how soft or loud the music should be played; articulations tell you how short, long or strong a note should be played, and tempo tells you how slow or fast to play the music. Most sheet music will have more than just the notes and rhythms; it will have symbols and terms for dynamics, articulations and tempo as well. It is like learning a whole new language. We’ve outlined the basics to help get you started.

Continue reading ‘Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Dynamics, Articulations and Tempo’

Every Student Succeeds Act: What It Means for Music Educators

On December 9, 2015 Congress voted in favor of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). It is the seventh reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), originally passed in 1965, which is the national education law that commits to equal opportunities for all students. In the new law, music is mentioned as a separate, stand alone subject for the first time in ESEA’s history. This is a major win for music education as ESSA provides opportunities to expand access to music education nationwide. Continue reading ‘Every Student Succeeds Act: What It Means for Music Educators’

10 Interesting Facts About Johann Sebastian Bach

Happy 331st Birthday, Bach!

Take Note

by Jacy Burroughs

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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.

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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 wa…

Source: Overshadowed Female Composers: Celebrating Music by Women Composers

Ten Facts About Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Happy 302nd Birthday, C.P.E. Bach!

Take Note

by Jacy Burroughs

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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, 1714.

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…

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Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Rhythms

Rhythm is one of the most important elements of the musical language, arguably even more so than melody and harmony. Try this: without singing, clap the rhythm of “Happy Birthday.” I bet you could ask someone what you are clapping and they would be able to guess “Happy Birthday.” Now try singing “Happy Birthday” without rhythm. I don’t mean with the wrong rhythm; I mean completely without any duration or strong and weak beats. You can’t do it. That is why rhythm is so essential to the musical language.

Continue reading ‘Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Rhythms’

How to Read a Fake Book

Do you want to learn how to play hundreds of your favorite songs? Try Fake Books! They are compilations of hundreds of songs in lead sheet notation. Lead sheet notation provides the melody, lyrics and chords for each song. Learn more about Fake Books with this great resource, “How to Read a Fake Book.”

Save 20% on Fake Books at Sheet Music Plus through March 8, 2016.

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Source: How to Read a Fake Book

Sheet Music Plus Interviews Morty Manus, co-author of Alfred’s Basic Piano Library

by Jacy Burroughs

Piano teachers, have you ever wondered about the creative process that goes into developing a piano method? In September 2015, I had the privilege of interviewing Morty Manus, former president of Alfred Music Publishing and co-author of the popular piano method series Alfred’s Basic Piano Library. He and his wife, Iris, shared with me the story of how the popular piano method series Alfred’s Basic Piano Library was born.

I was deeply saddened to hear of Morty’s passing early in 2016. He was so charming and full of life just a few short months earlier. How lucky I was to have participated in this interview and, with the support of Alfred Music’s fine recording studio staff, publish these videos in honor of him. The interview is separated into thirteen chapters, each of which is summarized below.

In memoriam: Morty Manus (1926-2016)

Continue reading ‘Sheet Music Plus Interviews Morty Manus, co-author of Alfred’s Basic Piano Library’

10 Interesting Facts About Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Happy 260th Birthday, Mozart!

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Take Note

by Jacy Burroughs

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

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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

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Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Notes

Sheet music, the written form of music notes, may appear very complex to the untrained eye. While reading music is like learning a whole new language, it is actually much less complicated than you may think. This article will discuss how to read music notes. Check out our article “Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Rhythms” for information on music note values, time signatures, counting rhythm and more. Continue reading ‘Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Notes’

Learn How to Read Sheet Music: List of Basic Musical Symbols

Being sheet music enthusiasts, we wanted to provide some help to those music enthusiasts who are just learning how to play or have played by ear for years and would like to learn how to read sheet music notation. We’ve created this tutorial for you, starting with the basic listing of music symbols. Topics covered include the musical staff, clefs, position of notes on the staff, key signatures, time signatures, basic note lengths, and bar lines. A future article will include stylistic markings, like accents, dynamics and tempo markings. For a more in depth discussion on reading music notation, check out our blog posts “Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Notes” and “Learn How to Read Sheet Music: Rhythms“.

Continue reading ‘Learn How to Read Sheet Music: List of Basic Musical Symbols’

Teaching Pianists to Sight-Read Successfully.

This is a great article on learning how to sight-read from our friends at Alfred Music Publishing. Written with the pianist in mind, it does have implications for all instrumentalists. You can buy Alfred’s Premier Piano Course discussed here as well as many of your favorite piano method series.

 

10 Facts About Franz Joseph Haydn

Haydn isn’t always the most celebrated composer. He’s often overshadowed by his Classical era counterparts, Mozart and Beethoven. However, he was an interesting guy and had a great sense of humor. Here are some fun facts, some of which are hopefully new to you.

Take Note

By Zachariah Friesen

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1. Franz Joseph Haydn was an Austrian born composer who spent his life as a court musician somewhat secluded from the rest of the musical world, but nonetheless was one of the most celebrated composers of his time and is equally revered today.

2. That other Haydn, Michael Haydn also a prolific composer, was indeed related to Franz Joseph Haydn. They were brothers.

3. Haydn was famous for his pranks. While

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10 Facts about Mahler

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

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

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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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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