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Q&A with Inspired, Dynamic Composer/Pianist Helen Jane Long

While you may not immediately recognize Helen Jane Long‘s name, chances are you’ve heard her inventive, versatile compositions for television and movie scores (including programs on BBC and Discovery Channel), her commercial work for brands like British Airways and Volkswagen, or you may be one of the scores of contemporary-classical music fans who’ve discovered Long’s stunning original compositions from her bestselling solo albums. Long just released her fourth original solo album, ‘Identity,’ earlier this year, and is currently on tour with her string section, The London Players. Upcoming dates include engagements in Chicago on November 4th and at the San Francisco Herbst Theatre on November 16th. (Hurry! A limited number
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Three Piano Songs That Are Nearly Impossible to Play

The question of “What piano songs are the most difficult to play?” has inspired friendly arguments among music lovers, likely for as long as piano songs have been composed. The issue of what, exactly, makes a piece of music “difficult” to play is difficult to define. For example, a song which is ten hours in length is going to be “difficult” regardless of the complexity of the song itself. Then there is the question of entertainment value. If a song is not pleasant to hear, then pianists will have little interest in playing it simply to take on the challenge. Therefore, the only true way to determine which piano songs
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Musicnotes Song Spotlight

Introducing Musicnotes Song Spotlight: Musical Inspiration, Delivered On-Demand

While almost everyone can appreciate music in its completed form, we musicians respect and honor all the individual components that go into creating the art of music. From scores and arrangements to lyrics to performances, we know that a song isn’t only about the finished product, but that the some of its parts create an invaluable experience that has the ability to uplift, encourage, move and inspire. This is why we’re so proud to announce our NEW Song Spotlight video series. Musicnotes Song Spotlight videos were created to provide music lovers an inspiring, personalized ‘behind the curtain’ look at the art of writing music, speaking to the writing process and
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The History of Sheet Music

Take a Quick Trip Through The History of Sheet Music – A Fun Infographic

Just like any language, musical notation has evolved over time. The stave, clefs, notes, accidentals, dynamics and other building blocks that we today recognize as notation didn’t always exist. Similarly, it wasn’t always as easy as downloading the sheet music you want in the key you need from anywhere. (Yes, those were dark times, indeed.) From stone to sheets to iPads, the portability of sheet music certainly has improved in the past 5000 years or so. Take a look at other ways notation, sheet music and sheet music publishing have advanced from ancient Mesopotamian beginnings to today. Click here for a printable PDF version. Click here to view the infographic
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Contrafactum: What’s That?

A lesser-known musical term, contrafactum, refers to a song in which the melody is similar or even identical to another song yet contains different lyrics. One of the most popular examples of contrafacta are “What Child is This” and “Greensleeves.” While the lyrics convey very different meanings, the melody remains the same for both. There are several reasons for why a composer would choose to repeat one melody across two different pieces. Often times, the composer has chosen to reuse the melody from another piece because it brings together the beginning and end of a show. For example, “Come to Me,” also known as “Fantine’s Death,” is sung in the first
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Choosing the Perfect Audition Piece for You

Tips on how to do well at an audition are more or less universal, but the perfect audition piece is not. (Check out our Updated: 40+ Songs for Stage and Show Auditions blog post.) Each individual musician is different just as every performance of a piece varies ever so slightly from the one previous. There is no “one-size-fits-all” audition piece. Not saying it wouldn’t be nice, but it just doesn’t exist. There isn’t a perfected audition piece that will work for everyone the same. There is, however, a uniquely perfect audition piece for you. Musicnotes.com is here to help guide you through three basic steps to take when selecting the
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Lauren Daigle

Q&A with Song Spotlight Performer, Lauren Daigle!

In October we traveled to Ocean Way Studios in Nashville to record CCM pop/rock sensation, Lauren Daigle for our Song Spotlight series. Watch her performance of “Trust in You” and read the Q&A below for even more musical inspiration. Lauren Daigle graciously took time out of her whirlwind schedule and musical appearances to answer a few of Musicnotes’ most pressing questions, including what inspires her as a writer, how she feels about others playing her songs and her performance tips. Take a read below! Musicnotes: You’ve said your dream is to write music that helps and inspires people. Where do you pull that inspiration from?  Lauren Daigle: The inspiration behind this album came from new seasons of
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Ask a Music Publisher

What YOU Should Know About Music Publishing, with Sean Flahaven of Warner/Chappell Music

Downloading sheet music to play instantly is easy as can be, right? Did you know that before a song makes its way to the huge Musicnotes.com catalogue, joining more than 300,000 other instantly available works, it first takes a journey through a legal process, a proofing process and a technological process? Today, we’re going to focus on the legal part of sheet music publishing with our first-ever Ask a Music Publisher post, with guest expert Sean Flahaven of Warner/Chappell Music. In addition to writing and performing music, there are so many other musical fields that allow you and I to enjoy playing the songs we love. In the most simplistic
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10 Signs Your Bandmate Might be Crushing on You

Cupid’s arrow can strike anywhere, even in the rehearsal room. Have you noticed a little extra attention being thrown your way by a fellow bandmate? Do you think he or she might be interested in harmonizing outside of the band room? Check out our top 10 signs your bandmate has a crush on you below! #10 Your brass-playing beau or boo may also turn down the ick-factor by using the far more charming term ‘water key.’ #9 You’ve most likely built up your tubaist muscles already, why not give someone else the opportunity? #8 If your crush-er is a timpanist, that ‘glance’ might be more of an extended gaaaaaze. #7 Not familiar
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Benefits of Playing Music Infographic

Learn The Many Ways That Music Benefits Your Mind – Fun Animated Infographic

As musicians, we appreciate a vast array of music benefits that come from playing and practicing. For some of us, music helps to relax us. For others, it helps to pep us up! Sitting down at the piano or picking up our violin can offer a fun diversion, or it can challenge you in unique ways. Aside from the general pleasure we get out of practicing and performing, learning and playing music has proven benefits when it comes to mental, cognitive and emotional health as well. For example, did you know that playing music increases memory, coordination, and can actually alter your brain’s structure? School students who study music are
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