May 5

Premiere Piano Books

Author: admin Category: Piano Books
Piano Concerto No. 26 (Mozart)

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Who wants premiere piano books published by superior publishing companies? As a pianist, I would think that you would want the absolute best. There’s nothing more frustrating than having an edition in your library with terrible layouts, too many bars per line, wrong notes (it happens), and so many edits that you can’t tell which are the composer’s markings and which are the editor’s.

The type of piano book that you buy very much depends on the level that you are at. If you’ve never played piano before, there are many effective publications out there, both in hardcopies and in download format. Here are some editions that have been around for quite some time and are still popular:

1. Thompson editions are nicely put together:

2. Leila Fletcher also has some effective beginner books that are diverse and entertaining:

For teens and adults that are just beginning their piano adventure, Piano Lessons 101 has an effective download to help beginners get started in a fun way. This e-book and video package delivers detailed instruction and assumes nothing when it comes to teaching brand new students some classical music arrangements. I produced this package with my colleague, Joseph Shalita.

For composers and advanced pianists looking for improvising and composing tips, I recommend my other e-book: 

If you are into examinations and certificates, you are probably acquainted with one of these two large exam boards: the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM). Here are some links that may be of assistance:

1. Next, a catalogue of books of the ABRSM:

2. Here are some RCM exam books from Amazon:

If you want a direct source for RCM exam books, here it is:

Have you ever wanted a gigantic list of hundreds of music publishers? Guess what? Your days of “wanting” are over. Check out this list:

One of the publishers that I particularly enjoy purchasing from is Dover Publications. They have some wonderful Brahms editions and I find that these particular piano books are extremely durable. In my youth, I remember occasionally throwing a book to the ground in frustration when a passage eluded me in practice. The Dover editions always survived this type of temperamental outburst. Here’s the link:

Of course, no piano book article would be complete without the mention of Hal Leonard. They are extremely prolific in their output, especially in popular music. Someone sings a new song on the radio and seconds later, BOOM, out comes this publisher with the printed music. Well, it’s not really that fast, but their output is quite amazing. See for yourself:

So what’s all this talk about urtext? These days, it’s “urtext this and urtext that!” Well, maybe not, but here’s a brief explanation about this term. Urtext editions are publications that contain the most authentic and/or earliest versions of music by a given composer. One of the biggest urtext publishers is Henle. Here’s a link:

As a final note, many publishers allow you to download music. Some even allow you to print and bind the PDFs that you download. If you are going down this route, the advantage is that you can have the music you want in a matter of seconds. However, make sure that the download is of a reasonable cost, as binding and photocopying should be calculated into your final price. Although you are sometimes better off going to a conventional store for your purchase, downloads usually take photocopy and binding expenses into account and price their PDFs very competitively.

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