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#1743277 - 08/30/11 02:22 PM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5366
Loc: Europe
Steve: Yes, I know! wink I hope that I'm going in the right direction balancing 'intellectual' and 'commercial' music. This is why I keep a dual personality in my composing efforts (concert hall AND computer games music! grin).

Honestly it's quite helpful, and for a 3 year period I didn't have a midi keyboard in my studio, so I was working with the mouse alone! (And manuscript and pencil of course).
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#1743444 - 08/30/11 07:57 PM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Nikolas]
Froglegs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/11
Posts: 105
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Nikolas

Honestly it's quite helpful, and for a 3 year period I didn't have a midi keyboard in my studio, so I was working with the mouse alone! (And manuscript and pencil of course).


Manuscript and pencils are very reliable tools.
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#1743468 - 08/30/11 08:49 PM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Nikolas]
MadForBrad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/11
Posts: 202
Loc: LA / Montreal
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
Like the others I don't care what vehicle someone uses to compose music. In the past those of us who compose at the piano have been denigrated as needing a crutch. I frankly don't get it. I'd much rather hear the result of efforts and decide if I like what I hear, after all that's how I compose.
For me it's not about a 'crutch', but rather the fact that my hands (as a pianist) and my outer ears (as a listener) are accustomed to certain types of music and aesthetics! And I want out!


I think when people talk about piano being a crutch, there are two things to consider. First of all, the aesthetic of the instrument will subconsciously dictate your composition process. Also, the ability to internalize the entire process, that is to say the ability to hear something in your head and not need a piano to verify the notes, your workflow will be extremely fasts.

That is how beethoven was able to compose deaf. There is a certain point where you know how things will sound. Piano also does not quite translate in terms of orchestration. That is only learned thru trial and error and also listening to orchestras live with your sccre. That is the one thing you can notice with beethoven as he got deaf. Some of the orchestration was not quite there. Lots of conductors will amend the scores.

I think the piano is a great tool. I definitely like to play and improvise when coming up with themes. But when I have my themes and i'm sort of constructing the work, a piano isn't really needed. Nor do I use the sounds on sibelius as they just are not realistic and probably more missleading that anything. You use your internal compass because you know. You know how many horns you need to match a certain wind configuration without having to get an orchestra to play it.

There is the unfortunate standard of having a mockup for producers and directors ( film biz ) so eventually, you are forced to resort to samples to give an indication but again , your mock up isn't necessarily your actual score for orchestra. Mockups don't need to be accurate. For example , homophonic horns can just be played as chords with a program like Symphobia and you don't really have to voice each instrument because the director won't notice and the producer , well the producer , well lets not talk about producers.

The trend in the film industry is sort of sad in that most of the composers will give you a midi export of them playing piano and then notes. It is rare to even get the theme notated. I have worked as an orchestrator for a few blockbuster films with very well known composers and your don't get that much information. You have a team to work with but the composer in many instances wears the hat of the producer more often that the composer. I understand why and it isn't really a weakness of composers but rather a time issue.

You get a piano with the theme and it is rather obvious what the theme is as this is hollywood. Then you have some notes, you know the overall vibe the composer is going for and the type of instruments that will be playing but there is alot that an orchestrator will have to do. I mean often, you get the theme , instructions are , make this theme last 3 minutes. and then energetic underlined.

I was an assistant so i still had someone that would oversee the work I did so I had some sort of help but i've been on my own for a few projects and you need to understand the composer's aesthetic and you just go for it. You have backup solutions.

sort of off topic but it is a fascinating industry. Not quite as fascinating as the days of Steiner. Now that was interesting.


Edited by MadForBrad (08/30/11 09:00 PM)

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#1743586 - 08/31/11 01:22 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5366
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: Froglegs
Originally Posted By: Nikolas

Honestly it's quite helpful, and for a 3 year period I didn't have a midi keyboard in my studio, so I was working with the mouse alone! (And manuscript and pencil of course).


Manuscript and pencils are very reliable tools.
True, but not when you have to deliver several finished music track and the deadline is running... :-/ Too slow in that case. And what MadforBrad says...
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#1743712 - 08/31/11 09:25 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: MadForBrad]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2779
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: MadForBrad
That is how beethoven was able to compose deaf. There is a certain point where you know how things will sound.
I agree with most of what you've said, except this. If you've read Thayer's Life of Beethoven you know his neighbors complained about loud banging on the piano at all hours as well as singing. Beethoven kept a ruler by his piano by clenching the ruler in his teeth and touching the body of his piano it would transmit the sound into his skull bypassing the parts of his ears that were the problem. So even late in life Beethoven composed at the piano.

As for the importance of knowing from experience how things will sound I agree with you there. I have no problem hearing melodies in my head and notating them, it's when determining complex harmony and counterpoint that the piano becomes important for me.


Edited by Steve Chandler (08/31/11 09:26 AM)

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#1743755 - 08/31/11 10:39 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Steve Chandler]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler

As for the importance of knowing from experience how things will sound I agree with you there. I have no problem hearing melodies in my head and notating them, it's when determining complex harmony and counterpoint that the piano becomes important for me.


That's where Sibelius becomes important for me smile

I can follow a melody, or a sequence of chords, without needing to hear it played. But I'm notwhere near being able to do that with counterpoint.

And although, as MadForBrad says, Sibelius is not particularly accurate for orchestration, it's a heck of a lot more accurate than blind chance. Since I rarely write for anything bigger than a trio, orchestration tends to be a matter of blind chance for me on the rare occasions I have had to attempt it.

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#1743919 - 08/31/11 03:54 PM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
AnonymousInvention Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 142
Loc: Florida
Yes. For notes when I'm playing and get an idea. Then I use Sibelius.
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#1744258 - 09/01/11 02:39 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Steve Chandler]
MadForBrad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/11
Posts: 202
Loc: LA / Montreal
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
Originally Posted By: MadForBrad
That is how beethoven was able to compose deaf. There is a certain point where you know how things will sound.
I agree with most of what you've said, except this. If you've read Thayer's Life of Beethoven you know his neighbors complained about loud banging on the piano at all hours as well as singing. Beethoven kept a ruler by his piano by clenching the ruler in his teeth and touching the body of his piano it would transmit the sound into his skull bypassing the parts of his ears that were the problem. So even late in life Beethoven composed at the piano.

As for the importance of knowing from experience how things will sound I agree with you there. I have no problem hearing melodies in my head and notating them, it's when determining complex harmony and counterpoint that the piano becomes important for me.


yes but was it really part of his workflow or desperate attempts to hear. I doubt it was how he spent all of his time when composing.

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#1744259 - 09/01/11 02:45 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5366
Loc: Europe
I think I read somewhere (in PW perhaps) that Beethoven was never fully deaf... Not sure though...
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#1744303 - 09/01/11 05:59 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Steve Chandler]
Froglegs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/11
Posts: 105
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: MadForBrad

As for the importance of knowing from experience how things will sound I agree with you there. I have no problem hearing melodies in my head and notating them, it's when determining complex harmony and counterpoint that the piano becomes important for me.

I never have problems with tearing counterpoint in my head and notating it down.
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- Clara Schumann

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#1744316 - 09/01/11 06:51 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Froglegs
Originally Posted By: MadForBrad

As for the importance of knowing from experience how things will sound I agree with you there. I have no problem hearing melodies in my head and notating them, it's when determining complex harmony and counterpoint that the piano becomes important for me.

I never have problems with tearing counterpoint in my head and notating it down.


Lucky for you.

But you still haven't answered my question:

What does it matter to you how I choose to work? Would it be OK, do you think, for someone to come to your place of work and express contempt for your methodology? Just wondering.

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#1747205 - 09/05/11 11:34 PM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
J Cortese Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 357
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I've written at the piano and away from the piano both. I do find that, like the laptop keyboard, I write best when I'm noodling with ideas in my head all day long, even at work, and then get home and dump it all out into the piano.

I don't find it useful to just sit in front of the piano and try to have an idea then and there. Ideas tend to come when they want, on their own schedule, and if one hits me in the middle of a boring meeting at work, then that's when it hits. I find that I am constantly fiddling with bits of music in my head, filling up my idea tank, and then I get home and empty it out into the piano. But the tank should ideally be filling in the background all day.

I have fumbled things and turned them into pieces, though. I'm working on one right now the coda for which I got by flubbing the end of the intro for an aria by Haendel. It moved from DM to D mixolydian, and now it's a totally separate piece. So writing at the piano works too, it's just that it can be a bit dicey to sit there and go, "Okay, I'm ready for an idea now!" They come when they want to, and it's not always when I'm ready to play it and write it down. :-P
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#1786223 - 11/10/11 05:00 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
Froglegs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/11
Posts: 105
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Wow I haven't been here for a while!
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- Clara Schumann

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#1792401 - 11/20/11 12:04 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 638
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
For me it depends on the complexity of the music. Something basic goes directly to Sibelius. Something I'm going to sweat over goes to manuscript.

The problem with computer notation it that the process is far too slow. Part of it is that I've developed a system of shorthand over the years. Part of it, also, is that notation programmes go in only one direction, whereas with manuscript it's easier to keep track of other possibilities- something you can't do with notation programmes when working on a single score, unless you work actively on multiple versions, which in practical terms isn't going to happen.

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#1797548 - 11/28/11 10:53 PM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
Rollin shoulders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/16/11
Posts: 51
Loc: WNY
I've recently picked up writing out music on manuscript,
I've been doodleing with piano parts, and when I get my cello soon I can't wait to compose parts over it.

Also being in a college theory class, you go through a lot of manuscript paper.

But I agree with you, manuscript all the way.
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#1797636 - 11/29/11 06:26 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1203
Loc: London UK
As an extension to this question - does anyone still BUY manuscript? Or, like me, just keep a suitable PDF in My Documents and press Print?

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#1797757 - 11/29/11 12:55 PM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
mrenaud Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 1315
Loc: Switzerland
I still do use manuscript, but I rarely buy staff paper anymore. I usually create an empty manuscript sheet in Sibelius, containing the instruments I need, and print a batch of it. Much cheaper than staff paper too (which is horribly expensive around these parts).
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#1797851 - 11/29/11 04:20 PM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: mrenaud]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5964
Loc: Down Under
I'd probably do that, except that I have piles of ms paper lying around. At one stage in my life I really stocked up! (thinking I was going to be more prolific than I actually was...)
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#1798170 - 11/30/11 04:03 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
Most of the composers I know use A3 manuscript for pretty much everything. I imagine they buy it, mainly cos it would cost a lot to print your own A3 manuscript in our college library (not a lot of people have A3 printers in their homes lol) but also because its nice to work on nice paper.

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#1798191 - 11/30/11 06:47 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: debrucey]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1203
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: debrucey
Most of the composers I know use A3 manuscript for pretty much everything. I imagine they buy it, mainly cos it would cost a lot to print your own A3 manuscript in our college library (not a lot of people have A3 printers in their homes lol) but also because its nice to work on nice paper.


I hear of some colleges which insist on work being computer-scored. As there's also pressure to be "non-traditional" this can turn the emphasis of the course from "composition" to "making Sibelius jump through hoops". Which, at least, may prove to be a marketable skill :-)

Enjoy it while you can - it's only at college that most of us had occasion to score for an ensemble that filled an A3 page - with any chance of performance at least!

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#1798478 - 11/30/11 05:30 PM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
They typeset everything in Sibelius for submission, but the actual composition is done on paper. A friend of mine is currently working on an A3 orchestral score that is at present 150 pages long, and beautifully neat too. It blows my mind lol. He writes solo piano on A3 too though.

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#1800339 - 12/04/11 06:53 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Exalted Wombat]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
I hear of some colleges which insist on work being computer-scored. As there's also pressure to be "non-traditional" this can turn the emphasis of the course from "composition" to "making Sibelius jump through hoops". Which, at least, may prove to be a marketable skill :-)


I studied composition at two colleges -- one insisted on computer scoring, the other strongly discouraged it. The one that insisted gave as the reason that it made it easier to pass copies of the work around between tutors. The one that discouraged it said that students tended to play their work into Sibelius (or whatever) via a MIDI keyboard, rather than learning how to use the software properly. The results were often much messier than a paper exercise would have been.

Ideally, using Sibelius (etc) shouldn't amount to making it jump through hoops -- basic note entry and formatting should be very straightforward. But, then, not everybody spends the working day in front of a computer as I do, and I appreciate that not everybody sees things the same way.

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#1800350 - 12/04/11 07:59 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: kevinb]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1203
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: kevinb
Ideally, using Sibelius (etc) shouldn't amount to making it jump through hoops -- basic note entry and formatting should be very straightforward. But, then, not everybody spends the working day in front of a computer as I do, and I appreciate that not everybody sees things the same way.


The hoop-jumping comes when "basic note entry and formatting" are not enough! Many composition courses are focussed on "Modern Classical" where innovation is a constant goal. New techniques demand new notation. Sibelius can often do it, but ingenuity is required!

Sometimes, however, you hit a brick wall. I heard of one course where the teacher insisted on the use of stemlets. He also required computer scores. In those days, Sibelius didn't support stemlets (it does now). He, apparantly, saw this as the students' problem. Much (completely musical unproductive) manual tweaking was required.

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#1801851 - 12/07/11 06:28 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Exalted Wombat]
kevinb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 1565
Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
I heard of one course where the teacher insisted on the use of stemlets. He also required computer scores. In those days, Sibelius didn't support stemlets (it does now). He, apparantly, saw this as the students' problem. Much (completely musical unproductive) manual tweaking was required.


Yes but, to be fair, that's not the fault of the software of the general policy of using it. It's a particular tutor's eccentricity.

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#1801878 - 12/07/11 07:57 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Exalted Wombat]
Studio Joe Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/07
Posts: 1803
Loc: Decatur, Texas
Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
I heard of one course where the teacher insisted on the use of stemlets.


What is a stemlet?
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#1801883 - 12/07/11 08:01 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1203
Loc: London UK
Truncated stems leading towards a rest when one is included in a beamed group. There's a discussion here:

http://www.sibelius.com/cgi-bin/helpcent...mp;&guest=1

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#1801939 - 12/07/11 10:02 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5366
Loc: Europe
Brucey: A3!??!? That's... mildly big for small ensembles, no? I mean I've used A3 size paper (which I photocopies actually) for symphonic works and large ensembles, but now that I'm working on a violin duet, it's just a normal A4 page (with 5 systems) and it's fine.

___________

Stemlets: I see what the fuzz is about: It's not necessary to use them, but in some occasions it may prove handy for the performers as far as I can tell...
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#1802560 - 12/08/11 09:51 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
I think the argument my flatmate gave for it was that you can see more of the score at once when you lay the pages out on your bed lol. But yeh, most composers I know seem to use A3 for pretty much everything. This includes the staff composers too. Perhaps its a UK thing.

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#1807896 - 12/18/11 12:47 AM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
Shadow2662 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/01/11
Posts: 14
Wow, a lot has happened while I was off. This is a bit long only because of two reasons:

1) It is something that I have also thought of when I started
2) Due to an acquaintance, I have had this topic slightly cleared up for me as far as the notation software since I was of two minds on it but not anymore.

I think everyone here has a really fair point on using either manuscript paper or a software program like Finale, etc. to write out music. To start with, I first used manuscript paper when I realized I was hearing music. I even took a habit that an acquaintance of mine once told me he did and I find it useful. If I come up with a main melody, I can write that down in the manuscript paper but then I'll transfer it onto Finale Notepad and then work from there.

I had seen the same acquaintance recently at a small lecture he gave and someone asked him a question that I think speaks a lot of volume about some composers. the question to him was something along the lines of his opinion of the notation software and if sticking strictly to the piano makes it easier.

His answer was something I don't think I expected: he said that yes, the piano is helpful, but it only gives you the sound of the piano making it difficult to write out for other instruments. This is where the notation software make it easier for composers to hear better which instruments get which parts. In many ways, the software programs are helping composers for instrumentation.

Again, I believe it strongly depends on the person and their mindset. If you believe that writing down the melody on manuscript paper is easier, then it is easier. If writing it out in notation software is easier, then it is easier.

As for regarding purchasing manuscript paper: I've had the same two notebooks of manuscript paper since I worked on my first composition for a CP project in High School and haven't had to buy another one in a long time.

Shadow2662

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#1809596 - 12/20/11 09:46 PM Re: Is there anyone out there who still uses manuscript???? [Re: Froglegs]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
Surely it is a good thing for a composer to develop their aural skills such that they are able to hear these things in their head, without having to rely on software or an instrument to know if it will sound right. That for me is the biggest argument for using manuscript paper. Whenever I use Sibelius I have the sound turned off.

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