Christmas is Here at The Leading Note!
December 1, 2015

The official countdown is on – Christmas is fast approaching! This Christmas season, give the best gift of all, the gift of music! The Leading Note is the perfect place to find gifts for the musicians in your life – including yourself. We have a wide selection of gift items to fill your holiday home galore!


Mug - Black With Red Notes BurstWhat better way to start the morning with a burst of music (and coffee of course).
Check out our collection of music-themed mugs and glasses.


Fuzzy Socks - G Clef RedKeep your feet warm and festive with these plush fuzzy knit socks. We have socks of many different colours and patterns.

(Read more…)

New Christmas Music Now In Stock
October 28, 2014

Stop by soon to check out these new Christmas music titles, just received at The Leading Note!  Our entire selection of music for the holidays is now on display.  Here are some old and new favourites to keep your days merry and bright!

Classical Christmas CarolsNew arrangements of Christmas Carols in the setting of classical favourites by Cindy Berry.

Also of note are similar classical arrangements by Carolyne Taylor.

Classical Christmas Jazz for Solo PianoFeeling jazzy?  Craig Curry has put together a selection of “spicy” settings of Christmas Jazz for Solo Piano.

Other jazzy favourites include arrangements by Christopher Norton and Martha Mier.

The Christmas Variations: 8 Classic Carols Settings for Piano DuetFor piano duet, we have The Christmas Variations, arrangements of classic carols by one of our favourite arrangers for piano, Phillip Keveren.

(Read more…)

Translations of Choral Repertoire
November 13, 2013

Translations and Annotations of Choral Repertoire
Vol. 2: Sacred German Texts

Translations and Annotations of Choral Repertoire, Vol. 2: Sacred German TextsThe Leading Note is pleased to carry this useful anthology of translations that will aid any choral director who performs repertoire from the Germanic tradition. Included here are English translations and historical notes of German texts used by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Buxtehude and more. Also included are Martin Luther’s hymns and an essay on the German Bible. Three other volumes in this series are also available: Sacred Latin Texts; French & Italian Texts; and Hebrew Texts. This series is a fantastic resource for directors of concert choirs when preparing program notes or for church musicians who are looking for musical selections suitable for particular seasons or liturgical needs.

Canadian Music History at The Leading Note
August 8, 2013

The bookshelves at The Leading Note are always getting more full. We recently added a few new books to our shelves that tell the stories of major Canadian musical institutions. One of these, The National Arts Centre, is very close to home—only a few blocks away. Other books cover opera, musical theatre and choral music. Read on for more information.

Art and Politics: The History of the National Arts Centre

Sarah Jennings

Art and Politics is the story of the creation and first four decades of one of Canada’s pre-eminent cultural organizations. While it documents the history of the country’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa, it also describes the arts in Canada from the 1960s to the present… Written in a documentary style, moving from episode to episode, the story is enriched by the personal memories of those who participated in the making of the NAC, including the leading artists, managers, officials, and politicians who were involved.

We also have two new books that narrate the history of the theatrical musical productions in Toronto, both opera and music theatre: (Read more…)

Books from the Bard Music Festival
July 8, 2013

We are pleased to announce that The Leading Note now carries books in the Bard Music Festival Series.


Founded in 1990, the Bard Music Festival is an annual series of concerts and lectures held at Bard College in Annadale-on-Hudson, New York. Each year’s event focuses on the life and work of a single composer. Lectures are presented that give insight into the circumstances, experiences, cultural scene and political climate that informed the composer’s artistic output. Concerts accompanying these lectures provide attendees with a thorough exposure to the selected composer’s work.

Background: The festival is, at its core, a symposium for musicologists; the trend in this scholarly discipline, promoted by the American Musicological Society since the 1970s, is to focus on the cultural circumstances of music more than the theoretical aspects of its composition. This task was taken up by the Society for Music Theory, established in 1977, and marks the separation of musicology and music theory as separate academic disciplines.

Following the festival, Princeton University Press publishes a book featuring the essays presented that year. Each book gets a standardized title: “[Composer name] and His World” (To date the festival has not featured the work of a woman; perhaps it is about time!).

There are currently 22 books in the series and The Leading Note has 11 of these in stock (as of this writing).

The composers featured include: Bartok, Beethoven, Berg, Brahms, Copland, Debussy, Dvorak, Elgar, Haydn, Ives, Janacek, Liszt, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Prokofiev, Saint-Saens, Schoenberg, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Richard Strauss, Stavinsky, and Wagner.

The Bard Music Festival Series offers serious music fans in-depth exposure to the worlds of composers. The collection of essays in each book is quite eclectic, offering engaging chapters for readers new to the composer and for serious fans looking for more scholarly analysis. Come check out our selection in store. Makes a great gift for your favourite music fan!

Learning to Improvise
September 8, 2012

While learning to improvise has long been a requisite technique for both jazz musicians and organists, renewed interest for the art in the classical tradition has resulted in some interesting new publications lately. The study of improvisation in a jazz style is well covered in the literature and we have numerous books that deal with this specific topic and jazz theory in general that are well worth a look, but we also have a few other books with unique approaches especially tailored to classical musicians. Here are a few examples.

Pattern Play

Akiko & Forrest Kinney’s Pattern Play Series is a progressive improvisation method for pianists published by Frederick Harris, the Toronto company that publishes the books of the Royal Conservatory of Music. In Pattern Play, short musical fragments called “patterns” are provided as a foundation on which the student can begin to improvise. For beginner students, the teacher can play the pattern; more advanced students can play the pattern in one hand while improvising with the other. Each “pattern” is complemented by a “vacation” (or several) that provides a musical alternative from the pattern to create more variety. Suggested variations on the pattern and vacation are also included. Students are instructed to use particular scales for their melodic improvisations. (Read more…)

Children’s Books & Urtext Music Puzzles!
November 23, 2011

We now have two music puzzles from Henle Verlag in stock.  The puzzles show reproductions of manuscrips of Haydn’s Variations in F Minor or Mozart’s Variation on Ah, vous dirais-je maman.  They make great Christmas gifts for your musical friends!

We also have many music-themed children’s books to encourage more singing and less yelling at bedtime, including:

Come check out our extensive selection of gifts for your musical family and friends.

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.