Tuesday, June 9, 2009

- A brief history of sheet music

Going leftfield for a minute. I'm no musician but my brother remains an aspiring guitarist so I thought I'd post this one for him. For those of you who don’t know, sheet music is the hand-written or printed form of musical notation; the medium is typically paper, although access to musical notation has in recent years also included presentation on computer screens. Usage of the expression sheet is intended to distinguish music on paper from its audio presentation, which would arise from a sound recording or live performance. In everyday use, sheet music can refer to the print publication of commercial music in conjunction with the release of a new film, show, recorded album, or other special or popular event involving music.

Sheet music can be used as a record of or a means to perform a piece of music. Even though it doesn’t take the place of the sound of a performed work, sheet music can be used to create a recital and to expound aspects of the music that may not be palpable from mere listening. Authoritative musical information regarding a piece can be gained by studying the printed outlines of compositions that the composer might have retained, as well as the final signature score and individual markings on proofs and printed scores.

The Comprehension of, for example, piano sheet music requires an extraordinary form of literacy: the ability to read musical notation. I'm in awe of anyone who can do this. On the other hand, the capability to read or write music is not a prerequisite to compose music. In fact, many composers, take Captain Beefheart and Mark Edward Smith as two prime examples, have been capable of producing music without the capacity themselves to interpret or inscribe in musical notation, so long as an amanuensis of some sort is available. Examples include the sightless 18th century composer John Stanley and the 20th-century composers and lyricists Lionel Bart, Irving Berlin and even Sir Paul McCartney.

Ok, so now for the reason why I'm posting. The Pianosheetmusic website is offering a load of free sheet music downloads, including free sheet music and free guitar tabs, so take a look.

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