Sunday, September 28, 2008

Find Tons of Free Piano Music Online


Article Source:

Sheet music can be expensive to purchase on a regular basis. If you want to expand your piano music library without spending a lot of money, download free sheet music from the Internet. A simple Internet search for “free sheet music,” “free piano music” and “piano music online” opens up many avenues for you to explore. Consider even more variations and your website possibilities will overflow.

Many sites offer total access to their piano music library. Others permit limited access to free sheet music. If you desire their full complement of music, you may have to sign up for a membership and pay a fee. However, even limited access to their free resources may give you the music you require.

The best sheet music sites allow you to refine your search for piano tunes. Many have detailed search functions that let you search by artist, genre or period. You can specify Baroque or Impressionist classical music and find what you need quicker. You can perform a search that narrows things down even more, for example, indicating you want “Jazz Christmas Tunes.” You can be as specific as you need to be on a quality piano music website.

When searching for free piano music, you will find music directories that list other sites that can offer piano music. These directories are a valuable resource. With these sites you obtain links to a host of other sites containing a wide variety of music. A good piano music site often has little extras. Some supply the sheet music in a PDF format for download.

Many sites supply free piano music and have accompanying audio files that allow you to listen to songs as you print them. Some incorporate free music lessons and piano tutorials in a digital feed format. You can find lots of free piano music online by joining a music forum. Here you can chat with other musicians and share information about where to find the piano music you need. You will find that others often know about less popular websites that have great databases of free sheet music. You cannot efficiently search every website in cyberspace yourself; why not get help from those who already know where the good ones are?

Another great source for free piano music is university or college online libraries. You can find specific music to download on many of these sites. Many of these also provide links to even more sites that have free sheet music downloads. A university site is a wonderful resource for older collections of piano music as well.

One caveat is to be sure the sites are truly free sites. Don’t be lured into giving out your credit card number as a one-time administration fee or anything like that. While you may access a lot of music, you did pay. You may find you will pay even more if you do not read the fine print and have authorized monthly payments on your card for a membership to a site.
A savvy searcher can find tons of free piano music online. Free piano music from reputable websites can provide you with an endless stream of music for your enjoyment.

About the Author:
Duane Shinn is the author of the popular online newsletter on piano chords, available free at “Exciting Piano Chords & Chord Progressions!”

Friday, September 26, 2008

How To Play From A Fake Book

Article Source:—How-To-Play-From-A-Fake-Book&id=947350

Piano Lesson - How To Play From A Fake Book
By Peter Edvinsson

A fake book can be a source of many inspiring piano exercises. It contains a lot of melodies written in a concise format that includes only the melody and chord names. Let us take a look at how you can use these melodies to become a better pianist!

First of all we will take a look at how melodies are notated in a fake book. Usually you will find the melody of a song in sheet music notation together with chord suggestions above the notes. This economical way of notating makes it possible to fill a fake book with a lot of melodies.

The advantage of this way of notating melodies is that you can have a fake book as a reference book with a lot of melodies at your disposal.

The drawback is that you do not have a written out arrangement of the song for piano. You have to figure out how to play the song by yourself. Actually this can be an advantage that will help you develop as a pianist letting you interpret the song’s performance as you feel is appropriate.

One little melody in a fake book can give you many exercises in different areas of your piano playing  and help you in your development as a musician. Here are a few examples:

1. Learn to play chords together with a melody. For example, play chords with your left hand and melody with your right hand, play bass notes with your left hand and combine melody and chord notes with your right hand, play various combinations of bass notes, chord notes and melody notes with both hands.

2. Learn to find the right chords to use when playing a melody. In a fake book you will find chord suggestions that can easily be supplemented with more chords making the voicings and chord progressions more exciting.

3. Learn to improvise by using the melody as a starting point. This is often called melodic improvisation. You can also use the chords or the fitting scales as a foundation for your improvisation. This is called chordal improvisation and scale improvisation.

4. Learn to play the songs in the piano fake book in different keys thus developing your ability to play by ear and understand the piano keyboard by transposing songs you have learned.

Actually you can use a song in a fake book as the basis for your development as a pianist if your goal is to be a good piano player in the area of improvised piano music. Let us take an example from a fake book. You have a song of your choice in front of you with melody, chord suggestions and nothing more. What can you do to use this song as a starting point for a piano practice session?

We suppose that the song starts with the chord C-major and then in the next bar you will find the chord F-major. Here are some suggestions on what to practice drawn from these two bars of music.

1. Work on chord voicings. Practice playing C-major triads with your left hand in the three inversions. That means that you play the chord C-major with the three notes involved, C, E and G, in three combinations, that is, CEG, EGC or GCE. Do the same with the chord F-major. Practice also to move from C to F in various combinations.

2. Work on playing the melody in different ways. Single right hand notes, playing right hand octaves, playing the melody with your left hand and chords with your right hand and more.

3. Work on adding more chords. For example, taking the C-chord to F could go via Gm7 and C7 thus creating the following chord sequence, C, Gm7, C7, F. Much can be done to spice the song by adding more chords to the ones in the fake book.

4. Add notes to the chords you use in your song. A C-major chord can easily be substituted with a Cmaj7 chord or a Cmaj9 and you can find more interesting chords if you focus on one chord at a time. Of course you can work on playing these new chords in different combinations and inversions too.

5. Use the song as a foundation for improvisation. Learn a melody passage by heart. Play this passage over and over again with small changes in the melody thus practicing melodic improvisation. Or use the chords. The chord C-major suggests two major scales to use when improvising. You can use a C-major scale or a C-major pentatonic scale for example.

To sum up you can use one single song in a fake book as the basis for piano exercises in many areas of your development as a pianist and at the same time you build up a repertoire with popular melodies for your own benefit and the enjoyment of other people.

Peter Edvinsson is a pianist, composer and music teacher. He invites you to download your   free piano sheet music at

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Learn to Play Fur Elise



In this piano lesson you will learn to read easy keyboard tablature. Piano tab notation is easy to read even if you do not know how to read sheet music. You will also learn to play an easy piano version of Fur Elise by Beethoven.

To know how to read and play piano sheet music is a great asset. It is worth developing this skill as you have a nearly unlimited amount of piano sheet music titles to play.

When you try to learn piano sheet music I suggest that you take time to learn just a few notes at a time. Learn the placement of the notes on the sheet music staff and also where to play them on your piano.

Meanwhile you can learn to read the easier piano tab notation.

Piano tabs or keyboard tablature is an easy way to learn melodies and other types of piano music. We will use a common way to describe how you are to play the keys on your piano.

Sheet music notation shows the notes to play but not how to play them on your instrument. Tablature on the other hand shows the keys to play on your piano.

To read the piano tabs you have to learn the note names of the white keys on your piano. First we will take a look at the note c at the middle of the piano keyboard. It is called middle c or sometimes c4.

The black keys on the keyboard are organized in groups consisting of two or three black keys. Middle c is immediately to the left of two black keys at the middle of the keyboard.

As we mentioned before middle c is sometimes called c4 as it is in the fourth octave of a piano or a grand. Octave means eight and you have played eight notes if you start with c and play the white keys until you come to the next c.

The following notes to the right of c is d e f g a b and then you have the next c. This c is subsequently called c5 as it is in the fifth octave of a piano. On a smaller type of keyboard with fewer keys you will still use c4 to show middle c.

The c note to the left of middle c is called c3. All notes to the left of two black keys are c notes in different octaves.

The easy piano tabs we will use to play Fur Elise has the following rules:

1. The white keys are indicated with lowercase letters. An example: c d e f g a b

2. The black keys are shown by uppercase letters. For example, A D-major chord is written d F a. The uppercase letter F shows that the note is the black key to the right of f.

3. The octave to play is showed with a number after the letter. The note c4 means, play middle c. The following notes will not have a number until it is time to change octave. Here is a C-major arpeggio: c4 e g c5

It is time to play the first notes of Fur Elise. It is written as an easy melody for your right hand:

e5 D e D e b4 d5 c a4 c e a b e G b c5

e4 e5 D e D e b4 d5 c a4 c e a b e c5 b4 a

I suggest that you memorize the melody one line at a time. Now we will come to a new part of the melody. If it had been a pop song it would be called the bridge:

b c5 d e g4 f5 e d f4 e5 d c e4 d5 c b4

We finish by playing the first part again:

e5 D e D e b4 d5 c a4 c e a b e G b c5

e4 e5 D e D e b4 d5 c a4 c e a b e c5 b4 a

This is a simplified version of the first part of Fur Elise with an easy form of the most common piano tabs on the Internet. You can learn more about piano tab notation on Wikipedia. Search for keyboard tablature. These piano tabs are an introduction to the little more advanced tablature system on the Internet.

Peter Edvinsson invites you to download your piano tabs and free piano sheet music at

Article Source:

Monday, September 22, 2008

K213: Glass Piano by Schimmel

K213: Glass Piano by Schimmel:
"Schimmel has created perhaps the world’s first glass piano. Named K213 for the moment, this shimmering glass piece is definitely not made to be handled by children, bulls and the extremely clumsy. As fragile as this creation might be, the piano is not merely a replica of a grand piano but is an actual working piano and produces beautiful music, when played by the right fingers, and has great sound quality. The K213 obviously deserves a place in the home of a great pianist and its keys deserve to be caressed by only the most talented of hands. It would be difficult to let your eyes linger on this piece, the K213 costs $124,780."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Learn to Play Happy Birthday to You

Piano Tabs - Learn to Play Happy Birthday to You
By []Peter Edvinsson

Piano tab notation will help you learn melodies without knowing sheet music. In this piano lesson you will learn to read easy piano tabs. You will also learn to play Happy Birthday To You!

If you do not know how to read piano sheet music I suggest that you try to learn it. If you start with very easy melodies with just a few notes you will not get too frustrated. Learn the names of the keys of your piano. Also, learn the names of the notes as they appear on an easy music sheet, focusing on just a few at a time.

To read sheet music well you have to have the patience and devote time to practicing. This practice time will pay off as you will have an immense amount of sheet music waiting to be played. Until you have mastered the art of playing sheet music you can use piano tabs to help you play melodies.

With the help of piano tablature you can easily learn melodies, chords and other music on your piano. Tabs cannot replace sheet music but you can notate much musical information even with this type of notation.

What is piano tablature?

Piano tab notation is an established system for reading and writing music. Actually there are several systems, some with numbers and others with letters but we will use a simplified form of the most common system on the net.

Sheet music notation shows the actual notes to play but not how to play them on your piano. This task you have to perform yourself. Piano tablature on the other hand is a way of showing which keys to play on your piano. When you have learned the system you will find it easy to play melodies. But, first you have to learn the note names.

The note names

We will use the note names on the piano as the basis for the notation. You will have to learn the names of the notes on the white keys of your piano. The first note we will learn is the middle c. It is easy to understand that the middle c is at the middle of the piano but exactly where?

You have probably noticed that the black keys on your piano or keyboard are organized in groups. You will find groups with two and with three black keys all over the keyboard.

If you take a look at the two black keys at the middle of your piano you will find middle c immediately to the left of these black keys. This middle c is sometimes called c4. The number 4 shows that it is the c in the fourth octave.

What is an octave?

Octave means eight and if you play the note c and the following notes until you come to the next c you have played eight notes. This c note is to the left of the next two black keys one octave higher.

The notes after middle c are d e f g a b and then comes c again. When you play these notes from c to the next c you have played a c-major scale. The next c is sometimes called c5 as it is in the next octave which is the fifth octave of a piano keyboard. The c in the octave to the left of middle c is called c3.

Now we will take a closer look at the piano tablature we will use in the song Happy Birthday To You.

The rules

In this article we will use a simplified version of the piano tabs you will find on the Internet. Here are the rules:

1. Lowercase letters show the white keys. That is, c d e f g a b.

2. Uppercase letters show the black keys. The note C means that you shall play the black key to the right of c. This note is written as c# in traditional sheet music language.

3. A number after a note name shows in which octave to play the note. The note c4 means middle c. The following notes to play will not have a number until you change octave.

Happy Birthday To You

Now it is time for you to read the piano tabs to Happy Birthday To You! I will write down the lyrics, one line at a time with the corresponding piano tabs below. It is written in the key of F-major.

The chords to play if someone wants to accompany you are written in brackets before the appropriate syllable. If you already know how to play chords with your left hand you can try to play them yourself as you play the melody with your right hand.

Happy (F)Birthday to (C7)you, happy birthday to (F)you

c4 c d c f e c c d c g f

The number 4 after the first c shows that you are to play the notes in the fourth octave until you find a new octave indication.

Happy (F)birthday, dear (Bb)”Liza”

c c c5 a4 f e d

(Bb)Happy (F)birthday (C7)to (F)you

A A a f g f

Remember, uppercase A is the black note to the right of a.

Remember, the note A is the black key to the right of a.

I suggest that you memorize the melody one line at a time so you do not have to rely on the tab notation. These piano tabs are an introduction to the little more advanced tablature system on the Internet.

Peter Edvinsson invites you to download your []free piano sheet music and piano tabs at

Article Source:—Learn-to-Play-Happy-Birthday-to-You&id=1228131

Great article about barbershop harmony

Great article about barbershop harmony

I attest, this article in the Saturday Evening Post completely captures the joy of barbershop harmony.

Great personal connection for me, too. In Wisconsin a few years ago I was coached by Todd Wilson, father of Taylor, and several times I've seen Rick Spencer perform - he's from my district of the barbershop harmony society.

(btw, a confession - my kid sister Amy sings in a much more competitive chorus in Sweet Adelines (Pride of Baltimore) than my chorus! And on their annual show this weekend, the featured quartet is Old School, which debuted at this year's international competition and placed fifth in the world - after being penalized for blowing a major note in one song. Some serious good songitude there.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Last of Steinway piano-making family dies



NEW YORK (AFP) — Henry Ziegler Steinway, the last member of the family to have had a role in running the legendary piano-making business, has died, reports said Friday. He was 93.

His daughter, Susan Steinway, told The New York Times that he had passed away Thursday at his home in New York.

Henry Ziegler Steinway was the great-grandson of Heinrich Engelhard Steinway who emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1850 and founded the firm Steinway & Sons in 1853.

The company went on to make the family a fortune as it introduced innovative techniques to the instrument which were swiftly adopted by piano-makers worldwide.

By the beginning of the 20th century the New York-based company had produced some 6,500 pianos, mostly grand pianos, which were 80 percent handmade, and were highly praised by such composers as Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt.

But the company suffered when the Great Depression hit in 1929, and again after World War II because of its German origins. And it hit further obstacles with competition from Japanese giants such as Yamaha.

Henry Ziegler Steinway joined the family business in 1937 after studying at Harvard. He became chairman of the company in 1955, but was forced to sell the company to the television channel CBS in 1972 for 23 million dollars.

He remained as a consultant though, even after retiring and after the company later changed hands again in 1985, and 1995.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Opera for Piano


DANIEL ABRAMS, who has been hailed throughout Europe and the Americas (Alan Rich wrote of his Town Hall debut in 1957: he must henceforth be taken into account when lists of pianists most likely to succeed are being compiled) will be presenting a concert of music from his "Opera For Piano" series in New York City on Wednesday, Oct. 15th.

Included will be the American premier of his Musical Portraits from Wagner's 'Ring' (a 45-minute work). He feels that in his lifetime of music making, this is his most important contribution to music, and that "Opera For Piano" (please see Abrams' statement below) will be a great addition to the performing pianist's repertoire. Marta Argerich recently heard some of Abrams' music performed in Europe and requested its inclusion in her Lugano Piano Festival.

To give you some idea of Abrams' rare abilities as a musician and pianist, the following is from a review he received from "The NY Herald Tribune" when he presented the complete cycle of Mozart piano sonatas at the Kaufman Y:

Mr. Abrams, as has been noted before, is born to the piano; he cannot help but make beautiful sounds and he brings to whatever he tackles not only musicianship, technique and interpretative prowess, but a very special kind of intellectual radiance that quite sets him apart. In short, the five sonatas heard contained a veritable galaxy of refinements - indeed, the sort of refinements that seem slowly to be creeping out of contemporary piano playing.

The concert, at the Mannes College of Music, 150 West 85th St (between Columbus & Amsterdam Avenues) is on Wednesday, October 15th at 8 pm. There is no charge and seating begins at 7:30 pm.

It promises to be a glorious evening of music making and the re-discovery of a truly great pianist!

More about Abrams:

The following is by Daniel Abrams about "Opera For Piano":

All the music in the series "Opera For Piano" was written because I love opera and wanted to play some of this wonderful music on the piano. It is written in the styles of the various composers to preserve the passions and styles of the operas, perhaps as if the music had been written for the piano, but not as virtuoso pieces as was Liszt's goal.

In the first three works - variations on arias - the story is not of paramount importance. However, in the "Portraits on Wagner's 'Ring,'" because Wagner used musical motifs for each character and dramatic "happening," some knowledge of the storyline of this nearly sixteen hour series of four operas is certainly helpful, but not essential in listening to the music on its own.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Music should be a part of every child's life

Music should be a part of every child's life:
"The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Sunday, September 14, 2008

Re: Playing's the thing, Sept. 3.

As the director of Ottawa's Yamaha Music School, I congratulate Grania Litwin for her article as it makes parents aware of the importance of music education in children's lives.

I do disagree with the statement that 'whatever instrument the child chooses isn't important.' I find this very misleading for parents who are deciding whether to register their children in music lessons.

When someone depresses a piano key, it produces a pleasant sound that is in tune and at pitch. The reward is instantaneous. An immediate sense of accomplishment is evident. None of these characteristics are present in the instruments stated in this article. For other instruments, first you must learn to create the sound, and only then can you begin to make music.

Piano is the most visual instrument: the concepts of pitch and reading are much easier to convey to a music student on a piano.

It is also the best instrument on which to learn harmony, and one on which a musician can play both melody and harmony at the same time. There is by far more music written for piano than any other instrument.

A parent should be made aware of the advantages and disadvantages when choosing an instrument for their child. A student who is entering university for a music degree in any instrument other than piano still has to show proficiency in piano at quite a high level. Learning to play the piano gives a tremendous advantage to play any other instrument.

It is my strong belief that music should be a part of every child's life. The piano is the king of all instruments."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Piano Playing Tips - How To Make The Most Of Your Practice Time



One of the most important piano playing tips is to set aside separate times for piano practice and piano performance. Both practice and performance time are used to improve piano playing, but in different ways.

At least ninety percent of playing time should be practice time. This is time to thoughtfully and carefully learn. Every practice session should have a goal, such as learning specific sections of a piece, notes, memory, or just building familiarity. All of this practice playing should be done with a slow comfortable tempo that makes the piece easy to play. The aim of practice time is to learn to play as accurately as possible.

When performing a piece for an audience or as practice performance, musicians should play to the best of their ability but without stopping to correct errors. It is important to perform pieces often to see how well they go! After a performance, use practice time to go over the sections that need improvement.

Here are some piano playing tips to use in structured piano practice time:
Before starting to play, do several minutes of full arm, shoulder, hand and finger stretches.

Move each arm in big circles, starting from the shoulders. Bend over from the waist and stretch arms to the floor. Shake out the hands, and massage each finger. Do any stretches that feel good! Playing will improve as tension is let go.

Always play as accurately as possible during practice time.

Slow the tempo down to obtain note accuracy. Analyze what is needed for better accuracy. Do short sections need to be repeated, or played one hand at a time?

Stand up and stretch the arms, shoulders and hands every 5-10 minutes between playing sessions.

Unmusical playing is created by discomfort sitting at the piano. Stretching and shaking out at regular intervals during practice sessions will help to break out of habitual posture problems.

Do not use the damper pedal during practice sessions.

If used incorrectly, the damper pedal will cover up both good and bad playing. Habitual use of the damper pedal ruins music. If a piece is practiced at first without the damper pedal, the arms and hands will discover the coordination needed to shape musical lines. The pedal should be added once a piece is very familiar.

Do not reach for notes with the fingers.

Use the arm to move the hand over top of the keys. This can be difficult if the arms are being held rigidly. Use lots of stretching exercises between playing to discover how arm and shoulder tension can be released. Feel the full weight of the arm transferring through the hands and fingers into the keys.

Use the metronome almost always during practice time.

Using the metronome during piano practice is one of the most important piano playing tips a player can use to improve music making. It is important to set the metronome to a comfortable tempo, so that there is not a frantic, panicked feeling in the music. When sections of a piece need to be repeated, the metronome can be used to count rests between repeats. As a piece is learned and can be played through accurately, the metronome should be set at an easy tempo to repeat, settle in and relax.

Following these piano playing tips and separating structured piano practice time and performance time will greatly improve a player's skills.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Meet Charles Kester, Piano Entertainer

By Rick Runion
The Ledger

Published: Saturday, September 6, 2008 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 6, 2008 at 10:55 p.m.

Charles Kester, 73, has been playing piano since he was 8 years old and stills plays every day for his own enjoyment.


CHARLES KESTER has been playing the piano since he was 8. Now he's 73.

" I love music, that's all there is to it"

Kester, who was born in Yeddo Indiana in 1935, is the subject of this month's "Ageless Aging" series. Through this special project, Ledger videographer Rick Runion provides a look at older adults who have gifts and dreams they refuse to give up.

Kester has been married to Linda for 54 years and has two children, son Larry Kester of Lake Wales and daughter Jane Stringfellow of Winter Haven.

Kester worked for the railroad for 43 years and starting as a telegraph operator.

The Kesters started spending the winters in Polk County in the 1990s and moved here full-time in 2002.

Kester doesn't read music but plays by ear. He has his own system of writing cords symbols, which helps him remember the key of the music he plays.

In the 1950s, Kester and his fellow musicians in Indiana began playing nursing homes and found out senior adults liked the same music he liked and says he is "not much up on the new music". Some 50 years later Kester is still playing senior facilities and does not charge for his performances.

"My pay is they come up afterward, or you can go and shake their hand and (they) tell you they enjoyed it. That to me is the reason I do it".

He passes out song books and calls his act "Sing along with Charlie".

His audiences sing along with the songs of the 1930s and 1940s.

"They call out numbers and away we go".

He says that even Alzheimer patients remember words to songs when they can't remember a lot of things: "That's one of the good things".

Kesters even throws in jokes, "so it's more of a show than it is straight music all the way.

"If you can make them smile or sing along with you, that's what I was meant to do, I really feel that."

This story appeared in print on page D1.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pleasant little piano piece may be Beethoven's last work

Joyce Morgan
September 5, 2008

beethoven IS THIS Beethoven's last work for piano? The Sydney musicologist Peter McCallum believes it is.

The 32 bars of handwritten musical notation caught his eye when he was studying the composer's last sketchbook in Berlin a couple of years ago. But it has required some detective work to determine what the great composer - whose handwriting was famously chaotic - intended.

"I didn't know it was a piano piece until I actually sat down and tried to write it out," says McCallum. "Beethoven almost never used clefs or key signatures so you have to think about it … but once you do crack the code it's clear."

McCallum, who is associate professor in musicology at the University of Sydney and the Herald's classical music critic, believes the piece was written about October 1826, just a few months before the composer died in March 1827.

"Beethoven always jotted down ideas, it was almost compulsive," he says. "The amount of paper he covered in the last three years of his life was quite amazing. There are a lot of little ideas that crop up that don't go anywhere. But this was more than a little idea. It actually has a right hand and a left hand and it's got phrasing marks and staccato marks in a few places. So it's quite clear it was a complete piece."

Now the pianist Stephanie McCallum has used her husband's transcription to make the first recording of the piece. Bagatelle in F minor is just 54 seconds long and is the final piece on her CD Fur Elise, Bagatelles For Piano By Ludwig Van Beethoven.

Although most of Beethoven's sketchbooks have been studied in detail, the final sketchbook - housed in Berlin's State Library - has attracted little attention.

Although his later works are often seen as spiritual, the fragment has a different quality, says Peter McCallum. "It's slightly melancholy. But it's a pleasant little thing and it's quite easy to play. What I like about it is that a child could enjoy playing it. We could give Fur Elise a rest for a while."