Ralph Peer Biography Contest

Music for the Masses. Win Your Ralph Peer Biography + A Musicnotes Gift Card!

Are you a fan of blues, folk, R&B, country or rock music? Chances are, you’re more familiar with the work of Ralph Peer than you might have known.  Barry Mazor’s new biography of the legendary music publisher and label A&R visionary takes a close look at just how influential and radically innovative Peer was, during a time in which music traditionally divided rather than united. Read a bit about Ralph Peer’s influence, and then enter for your chance to win your own copy of Mazor’s book, along with a $25 Gift Card, in the contest below! (Update: This contest has now closed. Congratulations to our winners, Jordana, Melissa and Joerg,
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Vice President Charles Dawes

Music Hits and Politics: It Was ‘All in the Game’ for One VP

There’s certainly no lack of discussion about music’s role in politics. From Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 3,” whose title “Bonaparte” was rescinded following Napoleon’s emperor declaration, to Pete Seeger’s “We Shall Overcome” and the counterculture movements of the 1960s and 70s, music, as with other forms of art, has not shied from politically charged commentary. However, for next week’s Election Day, we at Musicnotes have been fascinated by the story of a politico’s non-partisan musical ties. Mr. Charles Dawes served as the 30th Vice President of the United States, he won the Nobel Peace Prize, and the self-taught pianist wrote a signature tune that just happened to become a cross-generational music
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The history of Canon in D

Beyond the Aisle with Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”

Perhaps the most influential eight bars of music ever written, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” is instantly recognizable even to classical music rookies. With wedding season in full swing here at MNHQ, we thought we’d take a closer look at the story behind the nuptial favorite. Johann Pachelbel was somewhat of a mid-Baroque era superstar, credited with helping to develop the chorale prelude and fugue. His languid contrapuntal melodies were wildly popular throughout Europe, and he was a highly revered and sought-after teacher/mentor. Oh, and Pachelbel also was a close friend of the Bach family… yes, that Bach family. As is the case today, musical trends rose and fell out of fashion. Our friend Johann’s corales
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armed service songs

Memorial Day Music Class: The History of Armed Service Songs

Here in the US, we celebrate Memorial Day the final Monday in May to honor Americans who have died while in military service. Traditional festivities include parades, picnics and programs paying tribute to those who gave their lives in service to our country. Of course, these events are the perfect opportunity to feature the armed service songs from each military branch: “Anchors Aweigh” for the U.S. Navy, “The Caissons Go Rolling Along” for the U.S. Army,  “The Wild Blue Yonder” for the U.S. Air Force,  “The Marines’ Hymn” for the U.S. Marine Corps and “Semper Paratus” for the U.S. Coast Guard. Each of these armed service songs has a rich
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Classical music influenced by nature

Classical Music Influenced by Mother Nature

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and we’re sure you have all your sheet music at-the-ready to celebrate the special ladies in your life. We thought we’d take the opportunity to explore the classical musical influences of another sort of maternal figure… mother nature. From the obvious, like birds chirping and raindrops falling, to the more abstract, like the sound of river water swiftly rushing over a rocky bed, natural sounds and patterns have influenced classical composers throughout history. Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” for example, pulls inspiration from each of nature’s stages to create a 4-concerto work that’s become a beloved Baroque repertoire staple. (Download our sheet music
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Download Academy Award Nominated Sheet Music

Lights, Camera, Sheet Music! Play Academy Awards Best Song Nominees

The red carpet is rolled out, the statues are polished, the performers are booked and our ‘Gravity‘ and ‘The Book Thief‘ sheet music is at-the-ready. I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to curl up with a mug of cocoa (its still harshly arctic here in Wisconsin) tomorrow night and celebrate recent big-screen thespian and melodic pursuits. In preparation for the main event, we’ve culled some  Academy Awards Best Song trivia. Take our Best Song challenge at the end to test your motion picture musical knowledge!

music for a rainy night

Slow Jazz Songs for a Rainy Night

Most people don’t like rain, but you’ve gotta admit: it creates a certain mood. Jazz also creates a certain mood. Put them together and what have you got? A time-machine back to the 1960s, and a ticket to becoming a lounge singer in a slinky dress, or a down-on-his-luck private investigator, or seeing Oscar Peterson perform live! Here, you’ll find a couple of our favorite slow jazz songs to help teleport you back in time. If you’re really committed to completing the transformation, put on Rainy Mood in the background and pour your favorite drink to enjoy while listening to, or even playing, these tunes!

Choose Your Own Sheet Music

Play the Castaway in our Desert Island of Sheet Music.

Looking out my office window into the snowy Wisconsin landscape, enduring yet another day of sub-zero high temps, I begin daydreaming about transporting from this bitter (albeit beautiful) climate to a place of sand, surf and a superb portfolio of sheet music. So goes a similar scene on the classic BBC Radio 4 program “Desert Island Discs,” only each week’s ‘castaway’ is to choose eight recordings of music (gramophones when the show first broadcast on January 27, 1942). Host and guest then discuss the list, playing excerpts of the songs and explaining why they were included. The tools with which to listen to your choices would be provided upon arrival
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Olympics

What’s In an Anthem? Get Ready for the Sochi Olympics with National Anthem Sheet Music!

Uganda’s is the shortest at 8 bars, while Uruguay’s is one of the longest at 105. Austria’s “Bundeshymne” has been dubiously attributed to Mozart,  and Haydn’s work is the anthem of Germany (although “Einigkeit Und Recht Und Freiheit” has only been officially so since 1922). As the world turns its attention on Sochi, we can look forward to hearing a spectrum of national anthems in the coming weeks. With 15 sports forming 98 events, there are nearly 100 opportunities to musically salute the gold medal winner’s native flag. And there’s little doubt home-based Olympics celebrations, no matter where on the globe that happens to land, will feature patriotic songs of
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