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Beck’s ground breaking move

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Categories: music profession

I was fascinated recently to hear on BBC Radio 4 an item which was giving rise to much comment in the pop and rock world  because a 90’s Indie- Rock Musician, Beck, decided to make available some of his music only as sheet music with no sound recording.

Jen Chaney in an article for Celebritology in the Washington Post,commented “That’s right, Beck has written 20 new songs and if you want to listen to them at a party or while you exercise, you will have to get out a bunch of paper and read them. This is your punishment for all those free downloads. Music should not be so accessible and easy. It should be hard to get, and Beck’s here to remind you of that, okay?”

For a classically trained musician this has been intriguing, particularly when in the radio interview, the rock expert being interviewed explained that rock composers rarely write down their music and many rock musicians cannot read music.

For many years as a clarinettist, I specialised in performing new music and the joy of receiving scores that had never been performed before and of exploring new musical landscapes was only ever exceeded by the point at which I rehearsed it with other musicians when we were creating a performance together.

OK – so Jen Chaney is correct – it is not easy but it is hugely rewarding, not only individually but as a group of people creating music together!  I will be interested to see the development of the response in the pop world to Beck’s ground breaking move.

We are going to continue to introduce new music and new composers to the catalogue in 2013 and I hope that all those people who enjoy performing from sheet music will continue to explore  this “brave new world” with us.

Geraldine Allen



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