Musicnotes.com Blog http://www.musicnotes.com/blog The official blog of Musicnotes.com Fri, 24 Jul 2015 16:39:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 The Best Sheet Music Selections for Developing Your Musical Skills http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/07/24/musical-skills/ http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/07/24/musical-skills/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 16:32:56 +0000 http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/?p=9084 Are you looking to improve your finger dexterity or wrist flexibility? Do you want to increase sight reading speed and accuracy? Maybe you’re working on an overall mastery of scales, syncopation or repeated notes. No matter what musical skills you’re trying to advance, Musicnotes has a wide array of downloadable sheet music to foster and support your growth as a musician. We’ve chosen 8 works well-known for their skill-building and technique-advancing benefits. Take a look at our list below, and suggest any must-play pieces you have in your own musical skills portfolio. Skill-Building Sheet Music for Piano “Hanon’s The Virtoso Pianist“    Charles-Louis Hanon’s “The Virtuoso Pianist” is a staple
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Are you looking to improve your finger dexterity or wrist flexibility? Do you want to increase sight reading speed and accuracy? Maybe you’re working on an overall mastery of scales, syncopation or repeated notes. No matter what musical skills you’re trying to advance, Musicnotes has a wide array of downloadable sheet music to foster and support your growth as a musician.

We’ve chosen 8 works well-known for their skill-building and technique-advancing benefits. Take a look at our list below, and suggest any must-play pieces you have in your own musical skills portfolio.

Skill-Building Sheet Music for Piano

Hanon’s The Virtoso Pianist

Hanon 1  Hanon 60

Charles-Louis Hanon’s “The Virtuoso Pianist” is a staple for piano students as well as those wanting to preserve finger speed, agility, strength and wrist flexibility. The series of 60 exercises is available for instant download through Musicnotes.com as 3 value collections.

Part I of the collection includes exercises 1-20, the “preparatory exercises,” created to devlop finger strength and independence.

Part II, exercises 21-43, Hanon labels “further exercises for the development of a virtuoso technique,” meant to promote mastery of scales and arpeggios.

Part III, “virtuoso exercises for mastering the greatest technical difficulties,” covers scales in thirds and octaves, repeated notes, repeated double notes and more.

Two-Part Inventions” by J.S. Bach

Two-Part Inventions

Widely considered fundamental literature for piano students, the Two-Part Inventions provide 15 succinct contrapuntal exercises composed by Bach specifically for the education of his pupils.

Ascending in order of key, each of the movements stands on its own as an engaging lesson in style and technique.

Purchase Bach’s complete “Two-Part Inventions” as a value collection at Musicnotes.com.

The Well-Tempered Clavier” by J.S. Bach

Well-Tempered

Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier (Das wohltemperirte Klavier) is considered by many pianists to be the “Old Testament” of piano literature. With pairings of Preludes and Fugues for each major and minor key, Bach’s masterwork still serves as one of the most robust tools for piano students.

The entire first volume – 24 Preludes and Fugues, is available for instant download at Musicnotes.com as another value collection.

The Goldberg Variations” by J.S. Bach

Goldberg

Another collection of Bach works, “The Goldberg Variations” has tested the form and mental fortitude of many a pianist. Written for Johann Gottlieb Goldberg in 1741, the variations became widely recognized after the release of Glenn Gould’s landmark 1955 recording.

It’s become somewhat of a right-of-passage to play the  aria and all 30 of its variations in a sitting, which can take nearly an hour and a half from beginning to end. Test your patience and skill today when you download the collection at Musicnotes.com.

The Art of Finger Dexterity” by Carl Czerny

Dexterity

Sometimes referred to as ‘The Father of Modern Piano Technique,” Carl Czerny wrote his 50 etudes, collectively called “The Art of Finger Dexterity,” to help his pupils develop virtuosic finger mechanics. In fact, Czerny’s most famous pupil, Franz Liszt, would on to dedicate his own collection of etudes to Czerny.

Each work  focuses on strengthening hand control, building upon scales and chords in such a way that the piece itself can stand alone musically. Numbered 1 through 50, Czerny’s etudes make fantastic warm-up or stand-alone pieces. Players at various levels of musical skills will enjoy tackling the works and building upon their speed and dexterity.

Musicnotes.com offers “The Art of Finger Dexterity” as 5 value collections of 10 etudes each. Preview etudes 1-10, etudes 11-20, etudes 21-30, etudes 31-40 and etudes 41-50, and start mastering these exercises today.

12 Easy Pieces” by Franz Joseph Haydn

Haydn

The term “easy” is sometimes replaced by “short” when speaking of this collection, containing works written for piano as well as transcriptions of instrumental pieces.

Many would, in fact, consider the these 12 keyboard selections suitable for intermediate pianists. Within the “12 Easy Pieces” collection you’ll find brief 1-page compositions full of emotion and harmonic invention.

Skill-Building Vocal Sheet Music

24 Italian Songs and Arias

Italian

Considered essential material for nearly any beginning vocal student, “24 Italian Songs & Arias” introduces budding vocalists to classical Italian vocal literature.

Curated by our Musicnotes Editions staff, we offer newly typeset editions of the same 24 songs that have been studied by vocal students for centuries, from the early Baroque to the Bel Canto era. A major advantage to our collection of digital editions? You can transpose each piece for medium-high or medium-low voice instantly!

30 Exercises for the Voice, Op. 11” by Joseph Concone

Voice Exercise

Italy’s Master of Singing and Pianoforte during the 19th century, Guiseppe (Joseph) Concone’s vocal exercises are widely recognized as essential study for any developing vocalist.

His “30 Daily Exercises” contain lessons in Grand Style through various difficulties in vocalization. Our collection contains the works for high voice.

Ready to put your skills to the test? See how many of these challenging piano song recommendations you can play!

Do you have any suggested additions to our list? Are there any skills that you’d like us to focus on in a future blog post? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Learn How to Read Lead Sheets: The Theory Behind Music’s Most Versatile Pages http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/07/16/lead-sheets/ http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/07/16/lead-sheets/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 18:58:38 +0000 http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/?p=9051 If you’ve searched through the Musicnotes.com catalog, you may have noticed pieces scored as “leadsheets.” If you’ve looked at a lead sheet, you may have asked yourself “Where are all the notes!?”  A lead sheet is a type of sheet music arrangement used by many instrumentalists, bands, and even vocalists. They may only be a page or two, but their uses are many! In this blog, we’ll go over some of the advantages of using lead sheets versus traditional piano/vocal/guitar arrangements, discuss what other useful information a lead sheet provides and find out how using a bit of music theory can open up new doors for our playing.  So, what’s
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If you’ve searched through the Musicnotes.com catalog, you may have noticed pieces scored as “leadsheets.” If you’ve looked at a lead sheet, you may have asked yourself “Where are all the notes!?”  A lead sheet is a type of sheet music arrangement used by many instrumentalists, bands, and even vocalists. They may only be a page or two, but their uses are many!

In this blog, we’ll go over some of the advantages of using lead sheets versus traditional piano/vocal/guitar arrangements, discuss what other useful information a lead sheet provides and find out how using a bit of music theory can open up new doors for our playing.

 So, what’s in a lead sheet anyway?

Lead sheets, also sometimes called “fake sheets,” typically contain only the partial lyrics, chord symbols and the melody line of a song, and they are rarely more than one page in length. Additionally, lead sheets may not have any lyrics at all, and instead may simply display the notes for the vocal line. Many lead sheets are created  specifically for songs that don’t contain lyrics.

When a lead sheet does contain lyrics, most will detail the words for the song’s main melody or “hook” as a guide. A vocalist may simply learn the remaining words and sing the key, knowing they’ll be all set for the chorus and memorable parts when they come around.

This same method is also seen in instrumental lead sheets where only the main “lick” may be written out. The instrumentalist must rely on his or her own musical knowledge to perform the rest.

Let’s look at an example!

We’ll get groovy with the 1-page arrangement for Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man,” a lead sheet for instrument and chords. You’ll notice right away that there isn’t much here, yet the entire song truly is represented on this one page.

Watermelon

© 1962 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

The score begins with the chords F7 and C11 alternating for the first 8 measures. The actual notes from measures 1-4 in the treble clef show us the rhythm that underlines the chord change.

When we get to measure 5 and the repeat we are shown the notes for the melody, which plays while the chord changes in the rhythm notated in measures 1-4 keep on playing.

© 1962 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

© 1962 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

At measure 9 we see the melody return with a slight modification from the iteration before it. Since the notes are different, it too is written out to let us know. The next four measures (9-12) conclude and we are brought to the “B” section of the song which plays from measures 13 to the end and the repeat. Notice the chord above the measures change to C7 at measure 13 and to Bb7 at 14.

© 1962 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

© 1962 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

© 1962 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

© 1962 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Many lead sheets are also written without a designated key signature. This doesn’t mean that they should be played in C Major. Instead, this allows the notes and chords written to tell us the harmony.

Looking at the chords shown in this piece, we have F7, C11, Bb7, and C7. Next, let’s consider each note for each of these chords. Even if you are not familiar with chords with 7s and 11s in them, we can still determine lots of information!

As all of these chords are major, we know that they are built upon a Major Triad (1-3-5).

F7 contains the notes F (root), A (the major third), C (the fifth), and finally Eb (the flat-seventh).

Likewise, C7 builds the chord in a very similar way but beginning on C (the bass/root), E (the major third), G (the fifth) and Bb (the flat-seventh).

A chord like C11 is just a 7th chord with the 11th also voiced. This chord will have the same notes as C7 but also contain a D way up on top and would look like the figure when notated on a Treble staff:

05c11NEW

Can you figure out the notes which are in the Bb7 chord?

Figuring out the chord tones is a great way to come up with a tonal map. This map will be the beginning of your guide when vamping, improvising and soloing over the chord changes!

 But maybe you want to play in the another key?

Many times, instant transpositions of your favorite lead sheets will already be available from Musicnotes.com. However, even without a key signature or transposition we can still easily change the chords while maintaining the overall intervals of the song. All it requires is a little music theory.

To do so, we’ll first need to figure out the scale degrees.

For this example, F7 is the first chord of the scale, otherwise called the tonic. Let’s take a moment to look at the F Major scale. For reference, a major scale can be determined by using this formula of steps:

Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half

(Refer to our “How to Read Sheet Music” primer for a review of major scales.)

So, the notes in the F Major scale would be F, G, A, Bb, C, D, and E.

06fMaj

If we count ‘F’ as 1 and continue on, we can imagine the numbers 2 through 7 over the proceeding notes. We know that C11 is the next chord in the song. Which number corresponds with ‘C’ in our Major scale? If you said 5, you’re right! This leaves only one other chord which isn’t a ‘C’ or an ‘F’ chord in the song: the Bb chord. Looking at our guide, you’ll notice that Bb is the 4th note in the scale.

These scale degrees are usually shown in Roman Numerals utilizing upper case letters for major chords and lower case letters for minor chords. We must remember to include the quality of the chord as well when using our scale degree system.

For example, ‘F7’ becomes ‘I7’, ‘C11’ becomes ‘V11’ and ‘Bb7’ becomes ‘IV7’.

Let’s say we wanted to start the song on an ‘A’ chord. If we think of A major as the I chord, we can figure out the other chords for our IV and V positions by simply making a Scale degree guide as we had done with F Major.

A Major: A, B, C♯, D, E, F♯, G♯

Very quickly we can learn that ‘D’ is the ‘IV’ and E is the ‘V.’ To play ‘Watermelon Man’ beginning in ‘A,’ we would use the chords A7, E11, E7, and D7!

In addition to trasposing the chords, one could quickly re-key the melody notes by adding the accidentals of their desired key (to a limit, of course).

As you may have learned, lead sheets can be quite usual and should be included in any musician’s portfolio (and not only because they’re super light-weight.) Shop the best selection of professionally notated, instantly downloadable lead sheets at musicnotes.com, and get practicing!

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Musicnotes’ Annual Honor Flight Drive Soars Again http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/07/13/honor-flight-drive/ http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/07/13/honor-flight-drive/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 15:40:58 +0000 http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/?p=9046 MADISON, WI — July 13, 2015 — More than a dozen military veterans will be honored with a trip to their respective war memorials, thanks to the help of Musicnotes customers who purchased patriotic sheet music between Memorial Day and Independence Day this year. The annual six-week Musicnotes Honor Flight donation drive provides $1 from every patriotic download to local chapters of the Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s war veterans through tours to Washington D.C. memorials. Exceeding previous years’ sales and reaching this year’s goal, 2015 proved to be the most rewarding drive yet. A total of $8,200 will be divided equally between the Badger
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MADISON, WI — July 13, 2015 —

More than a dozen military veterans will be honored with a trip to their respective war memorials, thanks to the help of Musicnotes customers who purchased patriotic sheet music between Memorial Day and Independence Day this year. The annual six-week Musicnotes Honor Flight donation drive provides $1 from every patriotic download to local chapters of the Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s war veterans through tours to Washington D.C. memorials.

Exceeding previous years’ sales and reaching this year’s goal, 2015 proved to be the most rewarding drive yet. A total of $8,200 will be divided equally between the Badger Honor Flight in Madison, Wis. and the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight in Milwaukee. The cost of the trip is about $600 per veteran, and all expenses are paid for those who so honorably served our country.

Stars & Stripes Honor Flight in Milwaukee reached out to us to share the good news. “We are humbled and overwhelmed by this fantastic donation… Thanks to Tim and the entire staff of Musicnotes for helping us fly so many more heroes! You are our heroes, too!”

Musicnotes has held the annual Honor Flight donation drive since 2011, when Musicnotes Chairman Tim Reiland presented the idea after witnessing an Honor Flight homecoming .

Since the drive’s inception, Musicnotes is proud to have donated nearly $35,000 to such a deserving cause. “Our team is very proud to be associated with the Honor Flight program, which is very meaningful and important to our staff and employees” Reiland said.

For more information about and/or to contribute to your local honor flight program, visit http://www.honorflight.org.

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Song suggestions for vocal auditions, special events and even karaoke! http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/07/09/takelessons-vocal-auditions/ http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/07/09/takelessons-vocal-auditions/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 17:21:11 +0000 http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/?p=9012 We’re always on the hunt for new additions to our own repertoires, from vocal auditions and gig/performance songs to fun solos and duets for our impromptu company karaoke nights! Our friends at TakeLessons.com have put together a comprehensive guide of 400+ Songs to Sing for Every Occasion, complete with song suggestions, vocal practice tips, how to choose what to sing and more. There’s a ton of great content to explore in the guide. Molly R., a vocal instructor in Hayward, CA, offers her suggestions for what songs NOT to sing for a musical theatre audition.  Musical coach Heather L. shares her top 10 songs for sight singing practice (download sheet
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We’re always on the hunt for new additions to our own repertoires, from vocal auditions and gig/performance songs to fun solos and duets for our impromptu company karaoke nights! Our friends at TakeLessons.com have put together a comprehensive guide of 400+ Songs to Sing for Every Occasion, complete with song suggestions, vocal practice tips, how to choose what to sing and more.

There’s a ton of great content to explore in the guide. Molly R., a vocal instructor in Hayward, CA, offers her suggestions for what songs NOT to sing for a musical theatre audition.  Musical coach Heather L. shares her top 10 songs for sight singing practice (download sheet music for each at Musicnotes.com, of course!), and Berklee grad Liz T. lists great duets for beginners and provides tips on how to shine while singing duets (shop all vocal duet sheet music now).

We’ve recommended TakeLessons as a great resource for helping to choose a piano teacher, but did you know you can also use TakeLessons.com to browse local vocal and musical theatre coaches, as well as instructors focusing on guitar, drums, violin, bassoon, trumpet, violin, music theory… even kazoo? TakeLessons specializes in connecting teachers with students and students with teachers for a wide array of academic, artistic and athletic fields of study. Many of these teachers, like those listed above, contributed to the 400+ Songs to Sing list.

Looking for more vocal audition suggestions and tips? Check out these popular past posts from the Musicnotes Blog:

 

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More Musical Jokes: 12 Laugh-Worthy Quips http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/07/05/musical-jokes/ http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/07/05/musical-jokes/#comments Sun, 05 Jul 2015 15:49:51 +0000 http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/?p=9008 If laughter is the best medicine and music is the aspirin of the soul, then these 12 MORE musical jokes should be enough to cure whatever ails you. If they’re not quite enough, check out our first joke post and keep the musical funnies rolling right along. From totally laughable, to downright groan-worthy, take a look at our latest favorite musical jokes recently overheard around Musicnotes headquarters. Fair warning: easily offended vocalists, violists or percussionists may want to skip the last three. 1. Q: What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft? A: A flat Minor. 2. Q: What do you get when you put
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If laughter is the best medicine and music is the aspirin of the soul, then these 12 MORE musical jokes should be enough to cure whatever ails you. If they’re not quite enough, check out our first joke post and keep the musical funnies rolling right along.

From totally laughable, to downright groan-worthy, take a look at our latest favorite musical jokes recently overheard around Musicnotes headquarters. Fair warning: easily offended vocalists, violists or percussionists may want to skip the last three.

1.

150701jokes02

Q: What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?

A: A flat Minor.

2.

150701jokes04

Q: What do you get when you put a dimished chord together with an augmented chord?

A: A demented chord.

3.

150701jokes05

Q: What happens when you play Beethoven backwards?

A: He decomposes.

4.

150701jokes06

Q: What message did Bach have on his answering machine?

A: “The phone is Baroque, please call Bach later.”

5.

150701jokes07

Q: Why did the pianist keep banging his head against the keys?

A: He was playing be ear.

6.

150701jokes08

Q: What raised the musician’s car insurance?

A: Accidentals.

7.

150701jokes09

Q: Should you write music on an empty stomach or on a full stomach?

A: Neither, you should write it on paper.

8.

150701jokes10

Q: What was Beethoven’s favorite fruit?

A: Ba-na-na-nah! (Sung to the tune of the opening to Beethoven’s 5th.)

9.

150701jokes11

Q: What do you get when 20 violinists start playing at the same time, but play different songs?

A: A senseless act of violins.

10.

Joke Vocal

Q: How can you tell when a singer is at your door?

A: They can’t find the key, and they never know when to come in.

11.

Joke Viola

Q: What do a viola and lawsuit have in common?

A: Everyone’s relieved when the case is closed.

12.

150701jokes03

Q: What do you call someone who hangs out with musicians?

A: A drummer.

 

Do you have any favorite musical jokes to share? Share your (family friendly) musings in the comments section below!

 

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Q&A with Singer, Songwriter, and Refreshing ‘Pop’timist Mikey Wax http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/06/25/mikey-wax/ http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/06/25/mikey-wax/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 15:38:49 +0000 http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/?p=8986 Music is many things to many people. A single song can turn a gloomy day brighter, which is why we sometimes refer to positive, inspiring artists like Mikey Wax as ‘pop’-timists. Just try to listen to and/or play his latest hit, “You Lift Me Up,” without feeling… uplifted. We had the opportunity to ask the pop and social media star a few questions about how he approaches songwriting, his live performance and professional tips and his run-in with a certain cheese-state MVP (we are headquartered in Wisconsin, after all). As you could venture to guess, Mikey was gracious enough to share his insights & experience. And so, without further delay,
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Music is many things to many people. A single song can turn a gloomy day brighter, which is why we sometimes refer to positive, inspiring artists like Mikey Wax as ‘pop’-timists. Just try to listen to and/or play his latest hit, “You Lift Me Up,” without feeling… uplifted.

We had the opportunity to ask the pop and social media star a few questions about how he approaches songwriting, his live performance and professional tips and his run-in with a certain cheese-state MVP (we are headquartered in Wisconsin, after all). As you could venture to guess, Mikey was gracious enough to share his insights & experience. And so, without further delay, get to know the man who’s known for bringing smiles to fans’ faces near and far: Mikey Wax!

Musicnotes: We love how your songs impart instant positive energy. Do you have any tips for evoking a particular “feeling” in songwriting?

Mikey Wax: Thanks! I’d say it’s about letting your guard down and allowing your inner thoughts/feelings to translate. If the writer feels the sound is expressing what he or she feels inside, then that’s all that matters.

You’ve been known to play guitar and piano simultaneously. When it comes to songwriting, which instrument do you prefer to write with any why? Could you walk us through your creative process?

MW: Yep! Playing simultaneously is fun and usually something unique not many people have seen before. I started playing piano much earlier than guitar, so piano is my go-to instrument for writing and performing. However, because I’m not as accomplished on guitar, it actually allows me to experiment in a way that I can’t on piano because of how well I know the keys. Guitar gives me a certain freedom to invent chords and patterns I might not otherwise. I think writing on instruments you don’t know too well can open up creativity.

You Lift Me Up” is your most recent single to be featured in TV spots and promos (and the sheet music is one of our current favorites). How do you decide what projects to license your work to? 

MW: Thanks so much! Many times I’ll get notified via my manager or music supervisor friends about shows or promos that are looking for a certain type of song (high energy, positive message, etc). I think that opened up the door for “You Lift Me Up.” It’s always cool to hear the song being used in a show or commercial, and introducing my music to new fans.

 You’ve now released 3 full albums and a number of EPs. (Ed. note: Check out sheet music for “Only One” and “Bottle of Jack” from Mikey’s latest self-titled album.) Would you be able to give us a little insight into how you construct an album? Do you go in with a theme in mind, or does the theme take shape once you start recording songs?

MW: I think it’s a combination of both, but the end product is usually not what you had intended at first. The theme sort of takes shape once the recording gets closer to finished, and you realize how it’s fully going to sound, and how lyrically and musically all the songs tie together.

You’ve toured with some similarly fantastic musicians over the years (Andy Grammer and Howie Day to name a couple). Is there anyone you’d hope to do a show with in the future?

MW: Hmm…I’d love to open for Ed Sheehan, Coldplay, John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, to name a few!

 Do you have any performance preparation or rituals you do before a live show? Likewise, are there any performance tricks or pointers you can share with aspiring singer-songwriters?

MW: I don’t have many rituals, I just try to stay as relaxed (but not too relaxed), stress free, and focused as possible. Some of my rituals which I guess fall under “performance tricks” are: I always do vocal warm ups to get connected, and usually some kind of small exercise to get the energy flowing.

What, would you say, is the most important bit of professional advice you’d pass along to fans who are aspiring professional musicians?

MW: A musician once compared becoming a musician to going on a diet. To lose weight you have to eat healthy and exercise. To be a professional musician you have to keep writing songs and playing shows. Hah. I don’t know any other way to become better and more professional than to keep working at it!

You’ve just wrapped up a headlining tour and your self-titled album continues to inspire veteran and new fans alike. What’s next?

MW: I just want to keep finding ways to introduce my music to new fans, keep writing, and keep touring. Onwards and upwards.

Finally, being that we are headquartered in Wisconsin, we have to ask about the (Green Bay Packers quarterback) Aaron Rodgers connection. He’s a big fan of yours, have you two met?

MW: Yes! Aaron stumbled upon my music a few years ago, and he’s been a loyal supporter since. We finally met in person last summer when he came to my show at Hotel Cafe in LA. Such a great guy!

We’re so thankful to Mikey Wax for taking the time to answer our questions. Be sure to check out Mikey’s YouTube page and shop for uplifting Mikey Wax sheet music here.

 

 

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Deconstructing Electronic Dance Music: Our Top 10 Stripped-Down EDM Covers http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/06/19/edm-covers/ http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/06/19/edm-covers/#comments Fri, 19 Jun 2015 19:51:31 +0000 http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/?p=8971 Today we’re talking about EDM (Electronic Dance Music). Maybe you’re already aware of the latest buzzed-about genre, which uses electronic soundscapes to create the anthems that dominate the radio airwaves, nightclubs and endless energy drink adverts. EDM is super-accessible, popular and not without its critics who argue there’s limited song-craft, little soul, and diminished musicality. From synth-pop to disco, electronic-inspired songs have been around for more than three decades, so with that in mind we’ve decided to put the latest pop EDM tracks to the test by stripping them back to their purest musical form, and the results might surprise you. Click on a title below to see official sheet
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Today we’re talking about EDM (Electronic Dance Music). Maybe you’re already aware of the latest buzzed-about genre, which uses electronic soundscapes to create the anthems that dominate the radio airwaves, nightclubs and endless energy drink adverts. EDM is super-accessible, popular and not without its critics who argue there’s limited song-craft, little soul, and diminished musicality.

From synth-pop to disco, electronic-inspired songs have been around for more than three decades, so with that in mind we’ve decided to put the latest pop EDM tracks to the test by stripping them back to their purest musical form, and the results might surprise you. Click on a title below to see official sheet music for the original song or browse a great selection of EDM sheet music arranged for pianists and vocalists here.

Energize those musical muscles because here’s the 10 hottest EDM covers that weren’t just designed for a nightclub at 2 a.m.

#1 “Wake Me Up” by Avicii

You’ll no doubt recognize our first choice, it’s Spotify’s most-streamed song. 19-year-old Jegz shares his adaption with us.

#2. “Clarity” by Zedd

Composer Evan Duffy has amassed quite a following on YouTube, and rightly so. He gets the dynamics just right.

#3. “Titanium” by David Guetta

An inspired choice from YouTubers Hermann & Alex.

#4. “Lights” by Ellie Goulding

More piano sparkle from Harvard University’s Kristina Hu.

#5. “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites” by Skrillex

A highly energetic piano cover from Evan Duffy.

#6. “Levels” by Avicii

You’ll no doubt recognize this one from the airwaves. Charis provides a delightful piano rendition for us.

#7. “Barbra Streisand” by Duck Sauce

#8. “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia

We couldn’t mention Piano covers without The Piano Guys. Here’s there desert-dwelling dance-tastic version.

#9. “Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff” by Deadmau5

#10. “Language” by Porter Robinson

We enjoyed Evan’s earlier efforts so much that we had to feature his version of “Language.” We’re sure you’ll agree it’s a worthy sign-off for our journey into EDM piano.

Which one was your favorite? Did we miss it? Share with us in the comments section below!

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How to Play Guitar Tabs: Learn to Read Tab Notation & Play Your Favorite Songs! http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/06/10/how-to-play-guitar-tabs/ http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/06/10/how-to-play-guitar-tabs/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 20:31:24 +0000 http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/?p=8938 Have you always wanted to play guitar, but are unsure about where to start? Guitar tabs offer beginning and experienced musicians alike a quick guide to playing their favorite songs. In this article we’ll explain the basics of how to play guitar tabs, give pointers on reading tab notation, and get you started on the right note with a FREE song and symbol guide! What is Tab? Tablature (or tab) is a type of sheet music scoring specifically designed to help guitarists and bassists quickly learn how to play their favorite songs. In addition to helping the reader associate fret positions with the notes on the staff, tablature also provides
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Have you always wanted to play guitar, but are unsure about where to start? Guitar tabs offer beginning and experienced musicians alike a quick guide to playing their favorite songs.

In this article we’ll explain the basics of how to play guitar tabs, give pointers on reading tab notation, and get you started on the right note with a FREE song and symbol guide!

What is Tab?

Tablature (or tab) is a type of sheet music scoring specifically designed to help guitarists and bassists quickly learn how to play their favorite songs. In addition to helping the reader associate fret positions with the notes on the staff, tablature also provides annotation on the way the notes are expressed.

How Does Guitar Tab Work?

You don’t need to know how to play music to use a tablature score. This is part of what makes tablature so accessible. However, a general knowledge of music, rhythm, and sight reading will aid you greatly when using tabs. Click here for a basic overview of music theory.

Let’s first take a look at some tabs! We’ve chosen to use Ben E. King’s ‘Stand By Me‘ scored for guitar tab (of course!). You’ll be able to tell which pieces at Musicnotes.com are scored for guitar tab by the sub-title (Digital Guitar Tab), as well as in the right-hand column under “scorings.”

You may notice right away that the music has two staffs: a standard treble clef on top and another staff with more lines and numbers instead of notes. This staff below the treble clef is the tab. It has that many lines because a tab staff will always have the same number of lines as your instrument has strings. So, a six-string guitar will have six lines and a four-string bass will have four lines.

Tab staff

Just like with the treble clef, a lower line means a lower note. On the tab staff, the bottom line is the lowest (or 6th) string of the guitar. The strings simply proceed higher on the guitar as they do in the tab staff.

As you may have guessed, the number on the line corresponds to the fret (note) to be played. So when you see the first note of ‘Stand By Me’ is a 2 on the middle line you will know to play the 2nd fret on the G string for one eighth note.

Stand By Me Guitar Tab

© 1961 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Likewise, the second note shows a 0 on the 2nd line which tells us to play the open B string for another eighth note. Numbers stacked on top of one another are to be played at the same time as in the fourth note of the song in measure 2.

Tabs are also a great way to learn how to play chords. You’ll notice on some guitar tabs that chord names are written above the measures and chord diagrams provided generally on the first page (like on the tab for ‘Stand by Me‘).

When a chord is written at the start of a measure, it usually implies the overall harmony for any notes actually being shown from that point on.

Guitar tab

© 1961 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

All of the notes played in measures 2 and 3 are in the chord ‘C’ (C Major).

How Do Chord Diagrams Work?

If you want to know just how to play the chord ‘C,’ take a look at the diagrams provided at that start of the song and find the diagram underneath the chord name. This will show the exact frets and strings to play when strumming a full chord.

How to play guitar chords

With a chord diagram, the left-most string is the lowest string of the guitar. The strings ascend as you move left to right just as the frets ascend as you move top to bottom. Notice the ‘O’s above the 1st and 3rd strings. These tell you that the associated string is played open. When you see an ‘X,’ like the one above the 6th string, be sure that this string is not played.

The dots on the remaining strings tell you which frets to hold when you strum the chord. In the above example you’ll play the 3rd fret on the A string, the 2nd fret on the D string, and the 1st fret on the B string, making sure to also strum the two open strings. Doing so will provide you with all the notes need to play the C Major chord.

Sometimes a chord diagram will tell you more than just how to play a chord; it may also tell you how that chord is voiced in the piece. There are many ways to play the same chord on an instrument with a range like a guitar. If things just aren’t quite sounding right when you’re playing along, double check the chord diagrams to make sure you’re using the correct fingering. This can sometimes make a big difference in the feel of a song, especially if you’re going for authenticity.

What Do the Symbols Mean?

Tabs use a variety of symbols to help the player know how and when to add expression to what is being played. We’ll touch on a few of the most common symbols below like slides, pull-offs/hammer-ons and bends:

 Slides

If you see this symbol between two notes in a tab,  it means that you will slide your finger along the fretboard toward the next note instead of stopping the note when the duration is over as normal. Slides may be done up or down the neck and even performed on chords. Sliding provides a simple yet effective way of adding expression when playing.

Pull-off

A Pull-off occurs between two or more descending notes. When you see this written, be sure to pick only the first note and then lift your fingers off the fretboard in succession for each additional note in the pull-off. No additional picking is performed through the rest of a pull-off.

 Hammer-on

Much like a pull-off, a hammer-on occurs between two or more ascending notes. Instead of lifting a finger off a fret you will pick the first note and then “hammer” your next finger down onto the next fret causing the note to sound. No additional picking is performed through the rest of a hammer-on.

A passage may include both a hammer-on and pull-off.

 Bend

Bend in Guitar Tab

A bend occurs when a note is picked and then the fretting hand is used to bend the string and slightly raise the pitch. How far and long the string is bent can be just as important as any note in a song. Typically, a bend will be described as being a ¼ or ½, letting you know just how far to raise the pitch. A subtype of a bend is the release bend, which requires the string to be returned to the ‘unbent’ position after the bend.

There are many symbols that may be included in a tab. For a more extensive collection of tab symbol meaning, we recommend checking out this article from our friends at Songsterr.

More Things to Look Out For

 Capo

A capo is a tool used by guitarist to quickly alter the key which sounds from the guitar. A capo will raise the key but not change the fingering in which chords are performed, making it a quick way to transpose a song. For an example, let’s take a look at Jeff Buckley’s guitar tab version of ‘Hallelujah.’

Capo on guitar tab

Take a look at the top left of the score for the note “Capo V.” This means that a capo is placed across the fifth fret of the guitar. You will play the chords with the same fingering as you would without the capo, but now the fifth fret is considered “0,” zero, and is effectively the beginning of the guitar’s frets.

As seen in the fourth measure of this song, the chord played has the same fingering as Em but the notes actually sound an Am chord due to the Capo V position.

capo on guitar tab

© 1995 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 Tuning

Tuning is very important to note when playing tab, as the song may not always be written for standard tuning. Alternate tuning can also change the fingering of chords. However, like a capo, tuning is sometimes used to achieve an overall change in pitch without changing fingerings.

For example, please take a look at Jimi Hendrix’s guitar tab version of ‘Crash Landing.’ Note that the tuning is described as “down a ½ step,” followed by a guide to show what each strings destination should be. In this example all strings are detuned down one half-tone. This leaves all chords with same relative sound.

Guitar Tuning

 

Even though the chord at measure 5 is described as B7, the actual notes that sound are the notes of a Bb7 chord due to our detuned guitar. However, because all strings have been tuned the same distance, for the sake of playability, we can use the implied chord names when displaying the harmony.

tuning guitar tab

© 1975 Experience Hendrix LLC

Transcription

Although a guitar tab arrangement may seem to be just what is played on the album, these scores are not specifically published to represent a recording. When searching out a tab which is specific to a recording, please look for  ‘Guitar TAB Transcription’ under “Notation” in the Musicnotes guitar tab catalog. For example, check out Queen’s guitar tab transcription version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’

Start Playing Guitar Tab!

Now all that’s left to do is start playing tab. We hope the above instructions have inspired you to learn to play guitar tab. And, to help you along on your musical journey, we’ve put together a couple tools.

First, print your copy of our FREE “Common Guitar TAB Symbols” guide, which includes the symbols we covered above and more. Then, download and print FREE easy guitar tab for “Skip To My Lou,” and start practicing your guitar tab playing skills. Simply enter the $0 item to your cart, then proceed through the checkout process.

When you feel comfortable with that piece, be sure to check out all of the easy guitar tab offerings at Musicnotes.com. You’ll find simplified versions of tab notation for rock essentials, modern top-40 hits, country classics and more, all ready to buy, download and print instantly!

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Songs of Summer: Top 10 Cool Sheet Music Picks for Hot Days http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/06/05/songs-of-summer-2/ http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/06/05/songs-of-summer-2/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 19:58:39 +0000 http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/?p=8929 “Big cheers and cold beers, we’re in the clear because summer’s here.” While those words could easily come from a pop-country song they’ve got us thinking about one thing and one thing only, that’s right, you guessed it: Summer! Finally, it’s that time of year – for those of us north of the Equator, where we prepare ourselves to the let the latest summer jam become a constant earworm. What will be 2015’s summer ear worm of choice? We’ll let the airwaves, your subconscious and the endless array of YouTube covers decide, and come August we’ll all have ourselves a deserving winner. However, August is a while away and we
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“Big cheers and cold beers, we’re in the clear because summer’s here.” While those words could easily come from a pop-country song they’ve got us thinking about one thing and one thing only, that’s right, you guessed it: Summer!

Finally, it’s that time of year – for those of us north of the Equator, where we prepare ourselves to the let the latest summer jam become a constant earworm. What will be 2015’s summer ear worm of choice? We’ll let the airwaves, your subconscious and the endless array of YouTube covers decide, and come August we’ll all have ourselves a deserving winner.

However, August is a while away and we love a summer jam, especially one that’s fun to play no matter what your instrument of choice. So with that in mind we’ve curated a selection of summer-themed songs to get you prepared, and we’ve got all the bases covered. From California classics to modern day beach anthems, let these jams warm your soul as we leap into the summer sunshine.

#1 “Summer in the City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful

Number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1966, “Summer in the City” is the only song on our list to include a Volkswagen Beetle horn.

#2 “In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry

In the Summertime” took Mungo Jerry lead singer Ray Dorset just 10 minutes to compose, and it went on to sit atop the UK Singles Chart for seven weeks in 1970.

#3 “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys

When it comes to summer jams, you can’t go wrong with The Beach Boys. With amazing vocal harmonies and what Brian Wilson referred to as a “pocket symphony” of instruments, “Good Vibrations‘” 1966 release broke new ground in musical composition and sound recording technology.

#4 “Summer” by Calvin Harris

Ah, fleeting summer love. Calvin Harris’ “Summer” was one of 2014’s top songs of summer jams, exploring the phenomena of May-September romance.

#5 “Soak Up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow

Public service announcement: over-exposure to UV rays is hazardous to your health. Playing Sheryl Crow’s 2002 hit single “Soak Up the Sun,” however, is sure to put you in a good mood.

#6 “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Ray

As for the other end of the emotional spectrum, “Summertime Sadness” reminds us that the season isn’t all beach balls and fruity drinks.

#7 “Midnight City” by M83

Just a really fun song to play, French EDM group M83’s “Midnight City” has been used everywhere from Euro football matches to TV shows.

#8 “The Boys of Summer” by Don Henley

The oft-covered 1984 hit “The Boys of Summer” won The Eagles’ vocalist Don Henley a Grammy for Best Male Vocal Rock Performance.

#9 “Beachin’” by Jake Owen

Yes, the title of Jake Owen’s 2014 #1 single is a play on words… and its chill out, hang out vibe is, in fact, pretty beachin’ if you ask us.

#10 “All Summer Long” by Kid Rock

Sampling two classic rock favorites, Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” and Lynyrd Skynryd, Kid Rock’s 2008 single had songs of summer fans around the world “singing ‘Sweet Home Alabama‘ all summer long.”

More songs of summer themed sheet music to warm your musical soul:

Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams

Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran

Hot in the City” by Billy Idol

Walkin’ on the Sun” by Smashmouth

This is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan

Hot Summer” by Hot Stuff

The Heat is On” by Glenn Fry

Sunrise” by Norah Jones

Long Hot Summer” by Keith Urban

Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line

Did we miss your favorite summer jam? Share your must-play song of summer in the comments section below!

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New Pop Choral Sheet Music from Faber Music (UK) Now at Musicnotes http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/06/02/new-choral-sheet-music/ http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/2015/06/02/new-choral-sheet-music/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 18:11:55 +0000 http://www.musicnotes.com/blog/?p=8915 by Jonathan Miller, Director of Choral Catalog We heard what you want. While you’re browsing the titles below, take advantage of full-page preview of every choral score in the Musicnotes catalog! Faber Music, a British firm based in London, is one of the world’s leading sheet-music publishers. They excel in both classical and popular music. Through our strong relationship with Faber, Musicnotes is now able to bring you some of the finest choral settings of popular music by artists such as Queen, ABBA, The Rolling Stones, and Bruno Mars, as well as hits from the musicals Chicago and Grease. Browse any of these titles or artists at the Musicnotes choral
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by Jonathan Miller, Director of Choral Catalog

We heard what you want.

While you’re browsing the titles below, take advantage of full-page preview of every choral score in the Musicnotes catalog!


Faber Music, a British firm based in London, is one of the world’s leading sheet-music publishers. They excel in both classical and popular music. Through our strong relationship with Faber, Musicnotes is now able to bring you some of the finest choral settings of popular music by artists such as Queen, ABBA, The Rolling Stones, and Bruno Mars, as well as hits from the musicals Chicago and Grease. Browse any of these titles or artists at the Musicnotes choral sheet music store and start rehearsing these right away with immediate delivery to your printer.

In particular, I wanted to let you know about some choral settings that at present are only available digitally at Musicnotes. Get them now, and you’ll be ready to jump-start your summer or fall programs. From Faber’s acclaimed series called Choir Rocks!, these are all for SA, SAA or SAB choir with piano; one score allows for performance by any of these ensembles. The piano parts are straightforward so that an amateur pianist can handle them perfectly well.

The superb arrangers at Faber have created these recently so that you, your ensemble, and your audiences can enjoy them with no delay. The ranges are moderate so that (recently) changed voices can handle them, and the other voice parts provide strong melody and good harmony so that everyone has interesting parts to sing.

Just the Way You Are for SA, SAA or SAB Choir + Piano
Also available for TTBB a cappella.

(Originally performed by Bruno Mars)
This song made history by bouncing back from falling out of the top three and reaching #1 again—the first song ever to do that. Remember the YouTube video with the cassette tape morphing into sweet and funny pictures on the table? This arrangement by Ben Parry gives just the right touch of three-part harmony to the texture.
Just the Way You Are SA Choral Sheet Music

Many of Horror (When We Collide) for SA, SAA or SAB Choir + Piano
(Originally performed by Matt Cardle)
When Matt Cardle won the X Factor competition with his cover of Biffy Clyro’s song, the cover single sold almost 170,000 copies in two days. This is a skillful SAB arrangement with moderate ranges, easily single by choirs from middle school on up.
Many of Horror (When We Collide) choral sheet music

Hollywood for SA or SAB Choir + Piano
(Originally performed by Michael Bublé)
“Hollywood is dead; you can find it in yourself.” This song has wonderful energy and a surprisingly uplifting message. I especially like the amount of the song where the altos have the melody; I was a boy alto, and we need good parts too!
Hollywood choral sheet music

Wild Horses for SA or SAB Choir + Piano
(Originally performed by Susan Boyle)
This searingly beautiful ballad by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones was covered famously by Susan Boyle. The choral arrangement surrounds the melody with haunting harmonies, and the piano part is sensitive and faithful to the original. Sure to release a tear—this song is well worth your programming.
Wild Horses choral sheet music

Over the months to come, we’ll also be adding songs by Eva Cassidy, Stevie Wonder, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Jerome Kern. Feel free to contact me directly if you have questions about these or any of our other choral titles.

Keep coming back to the Musicnotes choral store, and happy summer shopping!

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