• SHAR Blog
  • SHAR Blog
  • SHAR Blog

Are You Ready to Play Irish Fiddle on St. Patrick's Day?

Posted by James Engman on Feb 23, 2017 3:18:01 PM

 

Have you ever been to an Irish pub or special gathering where a small circle of people pulled out their various instruments and just started playing, without pause, energetic and mythical sounding sets of tunes that just turn and turn into the night? The group may be as small as two people, or as large as a small orchestra, and while some people may be close friends, others are total strangers. What they all have in common are their memorization of dozens, sometimes hundreds of tunes, all shared in a common ancestry - not hereditary, but simply musical. If you play a stringed instrument and haven't been a part of what is most often called Irish session music, you absolutely must, and this St. Patrick's Day is a great opportunity. If you are hooked on Celtic fiddling, a tune book and some advice will help you in becoming one of that timeless circle of musicians.

Read More

Topics: Sheet Music, For Fun, Fiddle, Ensemble Playing, Irish Fiddle

Christmas Sheet music For Strings - Part Three: Solos with Audio Accompaniment

Posted by James Engman on Nov 30, 2016 6:14:51 PM

Let's face it, piano accompanists and ensemble-ready string players don't grow on Christmas trees. Sometimes you need to put on a show for your family, friends, classmates, or coworkers, but there is no one else to team up with for a duet or ensemble. Fortunately, technology has made it possible to have a full orchestra or band backing you with the press of a button. Audio accompaniments are not only fun for playing for your own enjoyment, but they can fill the empty space around your lonely instrument and help you bring down the house. Just imagine all of the Talent TV Show contestants singing their auditions without someone "rolling the tape" backstage. It's your turn to bring down the house at your holiday gathering or Christmas concert with a track from one of these fantastic collections of Holiday music for violin, viola, or cello, or bass with audio accompaniment.

Read More

Topics: Violin, Sheet Music, Viola, Cello, Bass, Play-Alongs, CD Play-Alongs, Christmas

Bärenreiter's Groundbreaking Interpretation of Brahms

Posted by Douglas Woodfull-Harris on May 15, 2015 3:42:35 PM

Think you know how to play Brahms? Douglas Woodfull-Harris, Editor for Orchestral and Chamber Music at Bärenreiter, gives us a preview of "the overwhelming amount of vital information" contained in the new Bärenreiter Urtext editions of Brahms. If you're serious about Brahms, or performance of Romantic music, you'll want to get your hands on these new titles from Bärenreiter

Read More

Topics: Sheet Music, Brahms, Romantic, Barenreiter

Curious About Our Sheet Music Difficulty Ratings?

Posted by Joseph Chapman on Nov 4, 2014 12:06:00 PM

Ever wonder how we decide our sheet music difficulty ratings? Below you'll find a detailed (and hopefully sane) explanation of our difficulty ratings. Although there are overlaps with ASTA's ratings, we decided to come up with our own rating system since a good number of our sheet music titles are not rated by ASTA. Feel free to ask questions about our sheet music difficulty ratings in the comment section below!

Read More

Topics: Sheet Music

Happy Birthday, Niccolo Paganini!

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 27, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Niccolo Paganini
October 27, 1782 - May 27, 1840

Read More

Topics: Sheet Music, Paganini, Romantic, Composers

What do Shostakovich and Teenagers Have in Common?

Posted by Guest Blogger on Jul 15, 2014 4:17:00 PM

Today's guest blog is from one of our favorite guest bloggers. He asks (and answers) the toughest question anyone in classical music has ever faced: How do you get a teenager interested in classical music? The answer: Shostakovich. 


Why am I asking what teenagers and Shostakovich have in common? Because it seems like every nerdy young string player I know (myself included) seems to go through a serious obsession with Shostakovich. There’s something so attractive about his sarcastic, rebellious overtones, and what teen doesn’t love to be sarcastic? Not to mention the many raw emotions conveyed in his music. Maybe this attraction to Shostakovich and his music is merely a teenage phase, or maybe it’s a burgeoning discovery of a serious love of his music. We’re going to try to break it down and find out.

Read More

Topics: Sheet Music, Shostakovich, 20th Century Composers

The Ultimate Guide to Composer Sanity and Aesthetic Taste

Posted by Guest Blogger on Apr 29, 2013 4:17:00 PM

Ever wondered just how crazy and/or avant garde your favorite composer was? SHAR Apprentices James Engman and Josephine Llorente have put together this handy graph! It displays, on X and Y axes, the relative sanity and aesthetic taste of your favorite compsers. Agree, disagree, or think the graph needs a slight change? Leave a comment for the SHAR Apprentices below!



Felix Mendelssohn
As far as child prodigies go, Mendelssohn was pretty grounded and together. Felix and his three siblings were born with silver(ish) spoons; later he and his wife Cecile had five children of their own. Yawn. And although I love listening to/playing his music, Mendelssohn was also famously more cautious than some of his zanier contemporaries (ahem, Wagner). Double yawn.

George Gershwin
Gershwin’s life/personality seemed relatively normal; he was a Brooklyn-bred, first generation, high school dropout. And oh yeah, he was also sort of a musical genius. Although Porgy and Bess was initially slammed by critics, it was later lauded as one of the most important operas in history.

Franz Josef Haydn
Although Haydn had a bit of a rough start to his life, including bouts of starvation and homelessness, later in life he enjoyed wealth and fame in London and Vienna.  He was also described as likeable and humble — no easy feat for a prolific and successful composer.

I know it’s hard to view Papa Haydn as revolutionary in his musical contributions, but for us string players, but he was definitely a trailblazer... can you even imagine what our rep would look like if his string quartets didn’t exist?

Robert Schumann
I don’t have perfect pitch, but in my heyday in music school, I pretty much had an A440 stuck in my head at all times. Like me and George Costanza, Schumann went nuts over one note. (Remember this episode of Seinfeld?) All kidding aside, the reason he was institutionalized was because of severe depression. His works were fairly conservative in regard to form, but he helped push the boundaries of romantic music.

Johann Sebastian Bach
In his time, Bach was a name synonymous with “musician.” Being from a large family of musicians, Johann met and exceeded all of his expectations. Having never left Germany once in his career, he was a bit of a homebody. Besides conquering the study of counterpoint and being one of the greatest virtuosi ever, he was pretty much just a full-time family man.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Our favorite hearing-impaired composer places high on the crazy and genius/influential scale. He was definitely the tortured artist type — moody, passionate, and absolutely brilliant. We can thank him for bringing us into the Romantic era.

Johann Brahms
The mystery of his impoverished childhood has been debated — many think he may have been employed at the request of his parents in a dance hall. The circumstances of that appointment raise more questions regarding his very close relationship with Clara Schumann and his troubles successfully courting women. On many nights long-bearded Brahms could be seen in cheap clothes, walking with no socks on, to his favorite pub the Red Hedgehog. He would often hand out candy to children along the way. Despite his eccentricities, his music was labeled by the other half of the War of the Romantics as being “old-fashioned.” He admittedly focused on the study of counterpoint and imitation and development — much like his role-models, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Dmitri Shostakovich
As a musician I feel like I have the right to say that MUSICIANS ARE CRAZY. Sure Shosty was often described as a bundle of nerves, and he even allegedly had some OCD, but he was a child prodigy and musical genius. I should also probably mention that he had to grapple with keeping Stalin happy and staying alive. With the cards he was dealt, I think Shostakovich was pretty together.

Shostakovich’s music is deeply emotional and restrained in the best way. Even though he’s pretty average on this particular matrix, he’s ranked high in my book.

Hector Berlioz
Because of his fascination with opiates, some of you may think Berlioz should be ranked higher on the crazy scale, but hear me out. If you heard that a famous rock musician did some drugs and then created a composition based on that experience, you would probably shrug and move on. Berlioz was just ahead of his time. After writing Symphony Fantastique and other works, we can thank Berlioz for significantly changing the instrumentation of the modern orchestra.

John Cage
In my opinion, there’s a "good crazy" and a "bad crazy." People who are bad crazy hurt people for no reason. People in the good crazy category think outside the box and have weird interests like Cage, who happened to be an expert of mushrooms (the funghi, not the drug).

Without a doubt, Cage was a leader in avant-garde music. Just looking at one of his pieces shows that the dude thought way, way outside the box. I’m pretty sure he’s the only person who could release a work of silence and still be super respected by the music community.

Johann Strauss II
Strauss was the tin pan alley composer of classical music. He came from a musical family; his father Johann Sr. and two brothers were also composers. When I think of a musical Austrian family I think of a happy bunch, but the Strauss’ were less like the Austrian Von Trapps (pre-war, of course) and more like the American Jacksons. Johann Jr. and his father were in serious competition, and we all know who won the title of "The Waltz King."

Karlheinz Stockhausen
His ex-friends would say Stockhausen totally belongs in a looney bin. After reading this article, I can understand why. Maybe there’s some bias in the article, but Stockhausen is at best portrayed as eccentric and delusional. I can’t even imagine what it was like to rehearse the the Helicopter quartet with Stockhausen, who is often described as a hot-tempered perfectionist.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky was known to be extremely sensitive and painfully shy. His anxiety began early in his childhood and continued in his adult life; there is speculation that he even ended his own life. The Russian composer made his most significant impact in ballet music, but his worship of Mozart influences his work's strict classical form.  

Read More

Topics: Beethoven, Sheet Music, Bach, Brahms, Classical Music, Music History

Easy Violin Sheet Music

Posted by Alberta Barnes on Oct 9, 2012 12:19:00 PM

After you’ve been playing the violin for a couple of years, it starts to get tiresome when you feel limited to the scales, etudes, and few solos that your teacher gives you. If you’re a beginning to intermediate player who’s looking to build up a repertoire beyond the songs in the Suzuki books, here are some sheet music suggestions for you.



Miniature Masterpieces, arr. by W. Ambrosio (1920 305).
This collection of 21 violin pieces – all in first position! – includes works by popular composers such as Saint-Saens and Wagner.





First Solos from the Classics by S. Applebaum (1851 010). Everything is in 1st position. Thebook includes famous melodies from an assortment of classical eras, all arranged for violin and piano.





Fun With Solos
 by Evelyn Avsharian (A70).
 Everything in this book stays in 1st and 3rdposition and is a source of fun and exciting recital repertoire.





Violin Favorites
 by Juchem/ Brochausen (1846 107).
 This collection of twelve violin piecestouches on great composers such as Bach, Mozart, and Dvorak.






Easy Classics for Violin
by Peter Spitzer (1872 042).
Here you will find popular classical melodies (such as “Ode to Joy” and “Can Can”) arranged simply for one or two violins.




First Solo Album by Harvey Whistler (1885 016). This collection of eleven short pieces for violin and piano keeps the violinist in first position and is great to use for recital repertoire.




This only begins to touch on the tremendously wide range of violin sheet music that we carry at SHAR! If you’re looking for something specific or you need more suggestions, please give us a call at 1.800.248.7427 – we are happy to talk with you!

Read More

Topics: Violin, Beginner Violin, Sheet Music

Violin Sheet Music: The Top Five List

Posted by Alberta Barnes on Aug 1, 2012 4:14:00 PM

Over the years I have purchased sheet music, borrowed violin sheet music from the library, and given away scores upon scores (pun intended) of other pieces of violin sheet music. But of all the pieces that have been given and taken away, I have found that the following five books will stay with me.

Read More

Topics: Violin, Beethoven, Sheet Music, Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Kreisler

Wedding Sheet Music: What to Play This Summer

Posted by Alberta Barnes on Jul 24, 2012 10:40:00 AM

Wedding season is underway! Do you have the sheet music you need for all of your upcoming wedding performances?

Read More

Topics: Violin, Sheet Music, Viola, Cello, Wedding, Piano

Subscribe to Email Updates

Posts by Topic

see all