I recently came across a new notation music programme: Musescore. Traditionally creators of music scores have either had to use Finale or Sibelius (or a well sharpened pencil, eraser and manuscript paper).
But there is now a new player on the scene, and the big attraction is the cost of the product: It’s free!
I have been trying this out, and to be honest considering the non-existent price tag, it’s an excellent tool to get started with. Considering all the aspiring musicians and music students at colleges out there, there is a ready made market for Musescore. The brutal fact is that most people who cannot afford it will somehow source a pirated, illegal version of Finale or Sibelius, so there is now a free entry level alternative, so to speak. Whether that will stop people from downloading pirated versions of Sibelius and Finale is another question, but competition can only be a good thing for the market place.
My question would be how long the $0 pice tag can be sustained, and if there will be a price increase at some point, if the market can really support three notation programmes, as, let’s face, music notation software is a very niche market.
We have great news for all you Radiohead fans out there. We now offer the complete sheet music from Radiohead’s The King of Limbs. The album was recorded in Los Angeles and first released in February of 2011 to positive reviews. It scored 80 out of a possible 100 points on the Metacritic website, though it failed to reach the number one spot in any of the countries it was released in (the No.2 position in Australian charts being its top placing). The album title apparently refers to an ancient oak tree in the Savernake Forest, and the album is rumoured to have been recorded in Drew Barrymore’s house.
Along with our series about Classical Tunes You Didn’t Realise You Knew, we are going to start a series looking at Great Jazz Tracks (and albums).
Today we are taking a look a Take Five, which is often wrongly attributed to have been written by Dave Brubeck. In fact it was Brubeck’s alto saxophonist, Paul Desmond, who wrote the track. The story goes that Desmond and the drummer in the band, Joe Morello, used to go through a warm-up routine before gigs, which entailed Morello playing a beat in 5/4 time to which Desmond started developing two themes.
After some time of doing this, Desmond approached Brubeck because he wanted to turn the two seemingly disparate themes into one song. Brubeck suggested using one theme as the main melody and the other as the bridge. If you listen to Take Five you can clearly here how it is made up two separate sections. And thus Take Five was born.
But the story of course does not end there. The piece was used on the album Time Out, which was release in 1959, and featured the then standard line-up of the Dave Brubeck Quartet with Desmond on alto sax, Brubeck on piano, Eugene Wright on double bass and Joe Morello on drums. The idea behind Time Out was to write pieces that did not use the traditional time signature of 4/4, i.e. four steady beats (or “four to the floor”, if you like your drum’n'bass and techno). The result is an album that, especially at the time, was highly experimental: no-one had ever really tried this sort of thing. The record company, Columbia, in fact thought it too advanced and refused to release the album, fearing terrible sales. Brubeck had to intervene to convince the label bosses to finally release Time Out, and amazingly, the album became a hit (in those day jazz still played a part in the consciousness of the general public).
Take Five obviously takes its title from its time-siganture, which is in 5/4. Why is 5/4 so odd? Well it is the musical equivalent of walking with a limp. The number 5 is not nice and symmetrical, unlike 4, so it can feel as though you have an extra beat in the bar. Check out our Take Five sheet music so you can see and hear exactly what is going on. To write pieces in 5/4 that actually work well and flow (rather than sounding contrived and limping) is therefore actually really tricky. In the Pop/Rock world Sting is someone who has suceeded at this. His tune Seven Days is also in 5/4.
Most pieces in 5/4 actually subdivide the bar into a set of 3 beats followed by 2 beats (3+2), or 2 beats followed by 3 beats (2+3). In take Five’s case its 3+2, so if you are counting along with the intro you would count:
1 2 3 1 2
Try it – this really works.
The funny thing is to initiated ears you can hear how Joe Morello actually struggles a bit during his solo in 5/4 – you can feel how to the whole group playing in 5/4 is still such a new thing.
Take Five went on to almost become a signature tune for jazz, with the Album Time Out always featuring at the very top of the all time top jazz album sales charts. I also doubt there is a single concert that Brubeck has played since Take Five was first released without being able to play it. Every time I have seen him play he’s certainly played it, and almost always towards the end of the gig.
After Desmond’s very sad and early death of lung cancer in 1977 he left all the future proceeds of Take Five to the Red Cross.
Below is a recording of Take Five taken from a concert in Germany in 1966:
Adele is the discovery of last year, and she has quickly become a mainstay of the pop/rock world. Coming from a working class backbround, she was appaled at the tax bill she had to pay after the success of her first album, 19. In an interview with Q Magazine she (rather hilariously) stated:
“I went to state school, I’m mortified to have to pay 50%. Trains are always late, most state schools are shit and I’ve gotta give you, like, four million quid? Are you having a laugh? When I got my tax bill in from [her album] 19 I was ready to go and buy a gun and randomly open fire.”
Apparently Adele recently stated that she had turned down many invitations to play big festivals this summer, as then she would miss out having pints with her friends in the park. Good on you girl, we say. But maybe it was to not have to pay even more tax? Anyway, as you can’t see her in concert right now, you can enjoy playing her tunes. Here is our Adele repertoire here at Great Scores:
Thanks to our friends at Faber Music we will have even more exciting sheet music releases over the coming months. Our catalogue has now grown to over 48,000 arrangements, and to think that we launched with barely over 1,000 arrangement over 7 years ago. Crazy.
Anyway, today’s posting is about Elbow’s The Seldom Seen Kid, which won the 2008 Mercury Music Prize.
Thanks to our latest publishing deal (and we are constantly looking for even more) we can bring you the sheet music to all but one tune from that album.
The version is for solo piano – we will do a separate video with me playing this and going through the various bits at some point in the future. I have included different solos that Ben plays, as the studio version solo is different form the live version he plays – so both are included in the transcription, as well as a version that works best for solo piano.
Welcome to the third instalment of Tunes you didn’t realise you knew. Today we will be looking at the music from the Hovis advertisement. For those of you who live outside of the UK, Hovis is a big British bread company. Yes, jolly foreigner, in the UK many people love sliced and packed bread made on an industrial scale (mind you, it ain’t my cup of tea!)
Anyway, I digress, back to the music. The music used in the ad is actually the 2nd movement (Largo) of Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World”, Op. 95, B. 178 by the Czech composer Antonín Dvo?ák. It is usually referred to as The New World Symphony.
Dvorak (Dvo?ák) was staying in the United States from 1892 to 1895, and the US was then (more than now) referred to as The New World (i.e. the world that Columbus discovered, hence “New” World). It is said that in the 2nd movement Dvorak was trying to portray the feeling of home-sickness, something which the music did so successfully that the main theme was later set to lyrics and turned into the song Going Home.
So, what important tid-bits should we know about Dvorak (pronounced D-vor-jak or D-vor-zhahk)?
Q: Was he a one-hit classical wonder?
A: No, but The New World Symphony is by far his best known.
Q: What do I need to know about this piece?
A: Morning Mood is taken from Edvard Grieg’s “Peer Gynt Suite I, Opus 46″. Peer Gynt is a play by Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen, with music composed by Edvard Grieg. The music contained in the play was so powerful, it soon took on a life of its own and Grieg selected eight pieces of the incidental score to form two separate Suites: Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 (Opus 46), and Peer Gynt Suite No. 2 (Opus 55).
Q: Are other pieces from the Peer Gynt Suite well known?
A: Yes, in fact almost all of them are known individually, the 2nd most well-known piece is probably In The Hall Of The Mountain King, which has also been used in many movies and commercials.