New Notes for July
July 29, 2011

The Leading Note’s music collection is constantly expanding as we welcome new titles to our shelves every month.  We identify any books that are new to the shop with a yellow “NEW” tag, so they are easy to pick out from amongst our regular stock.  Every month we will highlight the most interesting new items we have received - please check them out on our website or the next time you are in the shop!

  • A pop-style arrangement of O Canada by Robert Benedict for piano duet.
  • Sebastian Lee’s First Steps for One or Two Cellos, Op. 101 which includes selected studies for the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Cello exams, Grades 1-4.
  • Both piano and vocal selections by British composer John Ireland.
  • For all the jazz guitarists out there, we’ve brought in a book of classic solos of Django Reinhardt.
  • A Christmas choral work by Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez, Navidad Nuestra.  Ramirez’ Misa Criolla has been performed by several groups in Ottawa over the past few years.
  • Zav RT’s Fiddleworks, a progressive series of three volumes for beginning violinists interested in the fiddle tradition.
  • A Complete book is now available in Glory St-Germain’s Ultimate Music Theory series to help theory students prepare for all three levels of the RCM rudiments exams.
  • For church musicians looking for more last verses, we’ve found another volume of 200 Varied Hymn Tune Harmonies by Noel Rawsthorne.
  • A new edition of Samuel Barber songs, released in celebration of his 100th birthday.  This collection of 65 Songs includes the complete contents of the formerly published Collected Songs and Ten Early Songs, plus many previously unpublished early songs and facsimiles of selected manuscripts (including a composition written by a teenaged Barber while at summer camp!).
  • And finally, for the adventurous ethnomusicologists out there, The Maqam Book, a systematic look at the system of scales and modes used in Arab music.


Geraniums in Bloom
July 16, 2011

The Leading Note will be closed this weekend for summer holidays but, if you happen to be walking down Elgin St., stop by our front door to see our geraniums.   Gary predicts they will be in spectacular bloom for the next few days.

In the meantime, here’s some Benjamin Britten:

We will open again Monday, July 25th. 

Happy holidays!

List of Teachers on our Website!
July 15, 2011

Did you know we have a list of local music teachers on our website?

Yes we do!

Click here and choose an instrument from the column on the left.

Are you a teacher? Would you like to have your name on our list? Send us an e-mail with your details (instrument, location, etc.). We will happily advertise your name free of charge.

The solution for that nameless tune you’ve been humming
July 14, 2011

The Leading Note now has a copy of one of those long-neglected treasures of scholastic research, discarded as worthless by ignorant but pretentious academics only to fall into obscurity and forgotten by the collective memory of our culture, following the same fate as the slide rule, the rotary phone, BBS sites, and the definitive biography of the late-great P.D.Q. Bach (which we do, in fact, have on our shelf).  Rejected by a dozen or two publishers before finally hitting the press and hailed subsequently as a work of genius (Andre Previn called it “amazing”), Denys Parsons’ The Directory of Classical Themes solved once-and-for-all the ailment that plagues all who suffer from the insidious earworm, allowing even the musical luddite the power to Name That Tune.

Parsons’ ingenious system allows any person, even one without any knowledge of musical theory, to assess and classify the tune she is humming by its most fundamental of features, namely its up and down motion.  Got a tune stuck in your ear?  The Directory of Classical Themes will identify it for you, immediately removing its mystery and allowing your mind to focus on some other irritating question instead of repeating the God-forsaken melody incessantly while you bathe, eat, sleep and work.

Denys Parsons’ The Directory of Classical Themes: available now without prescription at The Leading Note.

Publisher Profile: G. Henle Verlag
July 13, 2011

We carry music from over 900 publishers at The Leading Note.  Each publisher has a particular specialty and unique products.  Our ongoing Publisher Profiles Series will highlight some of the special artistry unique to our publishers’ product lines.

G. Henle Verlag is one of the most renowned publishers in the world.  Based in Munich Germany and founded in 1948, Henle’s mission is to create editions faithful to the original composer’s intentions as determined by the latest musicological scholarship and research, combined with engraving of the highest quality and bindings built to last.  The publisher has repeatedly been awarded the German  Music Edition Prize.  Henle describes itself with the following words:

The diplomat, politician and industrial magnate Günter Henle (1899-1979) lit upon the right idea at the right time.  On 20 October 1948 he founded his “publishing house for Urtext editions”.  An accomplished pianist himself, he realized that there were scarcely any editions that accurately reproduced the composer’s musical text.  Most editions were marred by unnecessary and often incorrect additions from later editors and arrangers.  Moreover, the outward appearance of the edition often left a lot to be desired.  Soon after founding the publishing house, the great artists of the time began to shower him with enthusiastic praise and recognition.

Urtext and Henle are synonymous.  Each Henle edition has to fulfil extremely high standards:

  • authoritative musical text
  • markings for practical use
  • superb engraving
  • preface in three languages (German, English, French)
  • critical commentary
  • durability (paper, binding)

We are happy to carry many of Henle’s publications.  Their editions are especially popular with pianists and string players for whom Henle has many excellent scores.

The quality of Henle’s engravings has always been one of the criteria that sets the publisher apart.  It was also one of the last publishing houses still using traditional hand-engraving methods.  The following material from Henle’s website describes this process:

Henle’s Urtext Editions are not only noted for the scholarly accuracy of their text but also for the clear, razor-sharp appearance of the musical text as well as the excellent printing. Up until 2000 G. Henle Publishers’ editions were engraved by hand. Nowadays the musical text is set using a computer.  Following the complete digitization of its entire library, Henle began selling individually the original hand-engraved plates from their catalogue in 2011 as collectors’ items.

The most important steps in the engraving process are as follows:

1. The engraver generally starts with a manuscript put together by the editor, which must first of all be marked up with page and line breaks. It is at this point that the most practical page turns have to be determined.
2. The second stage involves defining the distance between the staves and etching the staff lines into the metal plate using a five-pronged stylus. The space between the staves varies in accordance with the pitch ambitus of the music. A good engraver will find just the right visual balance. Once this has been done, the notes are spaced out horizontally according to their length. In so doing, the engraver sketches out the position and intervals between the notes on the plate using a steel pen. A practicable page layout greatly aids legibility.
3. Using small steel punches the signs are hammered into the plate one at a time. This is done in mirror image so that the page will read from left to right once it has been printed. Bar-lines, note heads and stems, ledger lines, beams, slurs, as well as any other special signs and text signs are hammered in or engraved by hand without any help.

In 2000, Henle began digitizing their entire catalogue of scores and has since been making new editions using computer software.  Henle has been careful to match the new computer-produced style to their old hand-engraved style, keeping the same clef designs, spacing procedures, careful attention to convenient page turns, and the like.

Henle has now completed digitizing its entire back catalogue and has started selling its old hand-engraved plates as collectors’ items.  Each plate is unique and one-of-a-kind.

We have one of these plates at The Leading Note: page 50 of HN264, Chopin’s complete Mazurkas.  The plate is available for sale in a gift package including the Henle edition of Chopin’s Mazurkas.  If you are interested in taking a look at the plate, come by our store.  The gift package sells for $85.

UPDATE: We have now sold the engraving plate but will bring in another soon! Click here to special order this unique gift item. Note that these are provided to us on a random basis by the publisher – so, sorry, you can not make a request for a particular work.

New Summer Hours and Vacation
July 12, 2011

In July and August we will have reduced summer hours to account for the slower season.  We will no longer be open late on Thursdays and Fridays:

  Monday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  Tuesday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  Wednesday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  Friday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  Sunday Closed

We are considering making this change permanent starting in the Fall.  Please let us know how you feel about this change; we value your feedback!  Do you have trouble getting to the store by 6:00 p.m.?  What about Sundays?  Let us know what you think.

Another important detail: the store will be closed from July 18th to the 23rd for summer vacation.  This will delay our usual order cycle by one week.

Update: Based on customers’ feedback, we have made these our new permanent hours.

Easy Sacred Choral Collections
July 11, 2011

At The Leading Note we carry many collections of sacred music for choirs.  We have the famous For Choirs series from Oxford and many interesting collections from Novello and other publishers.  These books are great for experienced choirs with trained musicians in the ranks but they often are not so useful for smaller choirs that can’t handle extensive divisi or which are made up mainly of inexperienced singers.

Many publishers sell collections specifically tailored to the needs of these choirs, including Lorenz, Glory Sound, Hope, Augsburg Fortress, Abingdon Press, and Oxford.  Listed here are a few examples that your choir will find useful.  You can find more books like these by clicking here.

Many of the titles in these collections are also available separately.
(Read more…)

Welcome to our new Blog!
July 9, 2011

Welcome to The Leading Note Print Music Store’s new Blog!  This is an exciting new outreach project for us that we hope will be of interest to the classical music scene in Ottawa and throughout Canada.  Our blog will focus on a variety of topics related to classical music and the print music industry.  We will post news about upcoming events and concerts in the Ottawa area, notices about audition calls and other musical opportunities, information about products and specials in our store, advice for teachers, and general articles about musical matters.

Our entire staff (all seven of us!) will be contributing to the blog and each of us brings a unique perspective and interest to the musical scene.  You can read about our staff here.

Of course, we also have a Facebook page.  Be sure to Like us!

We hope you come back frequently!

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