Printable sheet music has come a long way from being written on parchments to Internet software that is easily accessible to perform many functions. The aim of this article is to give a brief introduction and history of its evolution.
Most people who are not in the music industry might not know what printable sheet music is. To explain it in layman terms, it is like a piece of literary writing whereby the writer gives distinct, nitty-gritty details of how the work was done – Like a literary masterpiece,written in common accepted language.But the writer weaves the so called common language in a way that it becomes a gem, a uniqueness. Let us say now the writer gives the blueprint of his composition for anyone willing to do the exact same or variation to proceed with or without condition.In this case, anybody that can read and is lettered in the genre will be able to reproduce the masterpiece.
The only difference is that the former(literary) is mostly written, while the latter (music) is either audio,visual, or the two combined (audio-visual). That is why in music,because of the uniqueness of each composition or masterpiece,anybody that wants to reproduce this same piece live must look at the printable sheet music or notation.
In other words,it is musical notation written with hand or printed.Nowadays,however,musicians can reproduce any piece of music by simply hearing it (audio), and maybe watching it simultaneously and repeatedly. Hence to distinguish between the two “printable sheet” music” is used, printable to show that it could be printed just like a book,pamphlet,booklet,hand-out.
Just as an illiterate can’t read a piece of writing, so also cannot a person who is unlettered in reading music notation be able to make sense of it.
It is however interesting to know that composing music does not necessarily require sheet music literacy. Musicians like John Stanley in the 18Th century and composer and lyricist Lionel Bart are good examples. Most Nigerian,especially Yoruba musicians also fall into this category. This latter musicians don´t even study music, save some local instruments before breaking into limelight.
What is the use of printable sheet music then if composers and musicians Nigerian Music can do without it? Instrumentalists and lyricists of classical tradition need the scores or sheet music to reproduce the exact music or its variations. Also the notes have made it possible the preservation of a tradition copied and inherited by this present generation.If not for this, most of the earlier music would have been lost.
Brief Historical Background
We owe the the beginning of printable sheet music to the scribes of the Medieval European monasteries. They wrote music on parchments. These have become valuable collectibles that run into thousands of dollars.With the invention of printing press, Johann Gutenberg lead in the development of printing sheet music.
By 1800,it has become a booming industry in Europe and America as firms started printing both popular and serious music. We should remember that this was also the period of Industrial Revolution and the coming of the Middle Class.This class in particular also had time for leisure and income to purchase musical instruments for their homes(mainly pianos). They could also hire teachers to teach them and their children.
Printing the sheet music was done with the writer,(in this case the musician or the person having the rights to the music) entering into legal binding with the firm. This legality involves, what rights an individual has on the printed sheet music and the royalty to be paid.The American music of today- be it jazz, blues, country, spiritual owes its growth and preservation to both the virtuoso composers and the publishers of sheet music.
Influx of people from Germany during world War 1 because of Hitler´s torture and annihilation crusade forced many notable composers out of Germany.Some of them were Bela Bartok, Arnold Schoenberg, and Igor Stravinsky among others. This brought a boom to music in Europe.
The popularity became more widely spread with the invention of phonograph and the radio,further accelerated by Television after World War II. This not only made easy accessibility possible, but as well cascaded printable sheet music price.
The information age has made printable sheet music available everywhere. Even though most don´t care since they can download any music free from the net. Yet in the same Internet there are affiliate programs specifically for printable sheet music. No need knowing the composer of a music before the sheet is made available.There are computer tools that reproduce the sheet music for you just by playing the tunes.
Especially notable are sites for music students, helping them learn music through the readily available sheet music of any kinds and sorts. Playing instruments are also included in the nutty-gritty of the computerized sheet music- How the instruments are held,tuned,pressed, etc. For anybody willing the world of music indeed is an oyster of opportunity.