Monthly Archives: July 2013

Brass Quintet Sheet Music Purchase Tips

Brass Quintet Sheet Music

Brass Quintet Sheet Music Selection Tips

Whether your group is brand new or has been around for years, there’s always a need for new brass quintet sheet music.  New quintets need to quickly build a library, while established groups should be introducing new pieces regularly to create interest and variety for their audiences and musicians.  It is also important that every group should challenge themselves to play more difficult and rewarding music, as well as music from unfamiliar genres.

Audition Your Brass Quintet Sheet Music Before You Buy

In the old days, I would look for brass quintet sheet music in the printed Robert King catalog and often find several editions available of the same work (with different arrangers with sometime wildly varying prices) and have no idea which to order.  Was the most expensive version the best?  There was really no way to know, so I’d make a selection based on how much money I had or if I recognized the arranger name.  Regrettably, the situation is slightly worse today. The online version of that catalog only shows the name of the piece, and you need to click each record to reveal the arranger or publisher name.  Who has time for that?  Hoping to find a score sample or MP3…fuhgeddaboutit!  It’s a shame because there are some real gems in that catalog.  Unfortunately, without much information, some of the pieces I bought using this trial and error method turned out to be “clunkers”, which wasted my time and money.

Despite the fact the many of the largest and best sheet music stores like Petelson’s in NYC have gone out of business over the last few years, the selection, pricing and availability of brass quintet sheet music has never been better.  While there’s far fewer local shops where you can grab a chair and coffee to peruse a few brass quintet sheet music scores you’re thinking of buying, you CAN get the in-store experience at home…actually better (because not all of us have the ability to hear music in our heads just by looking at notes in a score).

Websites with brass quintet sheet music like Art of Sound Music now provide rich and useful information such as the arranger name, grade of the piece, information about parts provided (and key of the instruments), alternate part availability, sound samples, visual samples and links to YouTube videos of performances.  These resources are extremely helpful for deciding if a piece suites your needs, skills and taste.  On our site, we go the extra mile by showcasing each piece of brass quintet sheet music in ScoreFlipper™, our advanced technology that allows you to thumb through an online musical score as if you were holding it in your hands, with the added ability to hear the music synchronized with the pages viewed.  ScoreFlipper playback features actual live recordings when we have them, and computer generated ones where we don’t.  People find ScoreFlipper extremely useful when selecting music as it removes the risk (that I mentioned above) out of the purchase process.  Click to see ScoreFlipper in action with Tony DiLorenzo’s Fire Dance for Brass Quintet.

Paper or PDF

Having a choice of pre-printed or PDF copies is critical when buying brass quintet sheet music.   Professionally printed score and parts that are mailed to you are attractive when you:

  • prefer the quality of professionally printed music
  • are not in a hurry
  • required to buy hard copies to be reimbursed by your organization
  • order a lot of music at once and don’t have time or facilities to print it yourself

PDF scores and parts that you can download are attractive when you:

  • need the music right away
  • don’t have physical space to store more music
  • prefer to keep music organized on your computer
  • want the ability to reprint music that is damaged or lost

Know Your Audience, But Don’t Bore Them

Are you playing for kid’s concerts?  Senior citizens?  Patriotic events? Recitals?  Each of these situations creates a certain expectation for the type of music played, but this doesn’t mean you need to be totally predictable.  There are many resources available with excellent advice on how to program a concert.   Visit Ryan Anthony’s blog for a list of standard brass quintet repertoire.  You can “stretch” yourselves and the audience by introducing different types of material.  Even a twelve-tone piece can fit into these performances if it is placed and explained properly.

For weddings ceremonies, more and more pop music is expected (especially for the cocktail hour), along with the classics.  An economically way to acquire brass quintet sheet music for weddings and other events is with large collections such as our Gig Ready™ Brass Quintet Libraries.  If you are on a budget, this is an excellent way to quickly expand your repertoire and cover the basics.

Other Things to Consider

If the brass quintet sheet music site shows grade levels for each piece, be sure to check the legend as they are not standard from company to company.  If your group has a non-standard instrumentation, check to see if alternate parts are provided or if the company will transpose parts upon request.  There are many excellent arrangers in the brass quintet sheet music genre, such as Jack Gale and Ingo Luis…when you buy their music you can never go wrong.  YouTube is also a great place to see brass quintet sheet music works being played and who composed or arranged them.   Luckily, there’s no reason in 2013 to buy blindly anymore, so let your eyes and ears be your guide!