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  1. #1

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    I've had two extraordinary experiences with the above title of this thread and I'm wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience.
    I really liked a song written by a film composer for a particular film, but it wasn't available in any books (and still isn't), so I transcribed it from a VCR recording I made of the movie.

    That was okay, but the version sucked in the movie, and I found an obscure record of some of the composer's film music with the composer conducting, and it turned out to be a fantastic version of the song. I also transcribed that version from the record.

    Then I somehow found that I could buy the sheet music to the song, written for solo piano, from the song's publishers. This was before computers, and it took a long time for the song to arrive, but it came in thick paper, and was something like ten pages.

    What I got resembled a freaking piano sonatina more than a tune. There were no chord symbols, but there were improvisations on the tune, cadenzas, counterpoint, altered harmony and other things that weren't in any version of the song that I'd ever heard. Although I wrote a version for solo guitar, I couldn't include all the stuff this maniac had added, so I wrote an arrangement for big band of the song, which I've had played by a few different bands.

    Just the other day, I was looking for the music to a pop tune written by a singer/guitarist back in 1969. I came across a solo piano version on one of the online sheet music services, and it turned out to be similar to the above experience I had above.

    Instead of an ordinary sheet music version of the tune, I saw this elaborate version of the song that had the same features that the other song had; no chord symbols, elaborate counterpoint, improvisations, substitute harmony everywhere, etc...

    There was no mention of it being arranged by some pianist or arranger, just the name of the songwriter, and all the copyright info. I haven't bought the sheet music yet, but they let you have a preview of the song with some measures left out, but I knew it was nothing like the recorded version of the tune.

    In the first case, I knew that it was written by the film composer, who played the piano, and was also a 'serious' composer, but this new case is puzzling, because the guy who wrote the tune wasn't a pianist.

    Has anyone else seen sheet music like this?

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  3. #2

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    Sure. Its called a piano version
    as opposed to a Vocal Edition, or ‘Piano/Guitar/Ukulele Edition’.
    Back in the day there would be a list of possible versions, violin/piano, organ (three staffs) plenty more. But chord blocks were on the guitar versions. I have a number of teens and twenties sheets that have Ukulele chord blocks not guitar.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    Sure. Its called a piano version
    as opposed to a Vocal Edition, or ‘Piano/Guitar/Ukulele Edition’.
    Back in the day there would be a list of possible versions, violin/piano, organ (three staffs) plenty more. But chord blocks were on the guitar versions. I have a number of teens and twenties sheets that have Ukulele chord blocks not guitar.
    I've seen hundreds of piano versions of tunes, but nothing like these two.
    . I guess the complexity of the arrangement is up to the composer, but I think in the second case, they might have hired a pianist to write an elaborate arrangement (not credited) of the tune.Maybe the pianist/arr. was paid by the publishing Co. or the composer himself?
    I guess this an aspect of the music publishing business that you'd have to be in the publishing business to understand.

  5. #4
    I was thinking about this subject, and then my mind went back to what Billy Butler said to me when we were talking about Johnny Smith solo guitar arrangements. BB said that his solo stuff was copied from the piano arrangements of a pianist back then, Eddie something.
    Back then I didn't see how JS could copy from a piano record, but they had piano solo sheet music of the tunes back then, and JS could have easily adapted some of them for guitar.

  6. #5

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    Im tired today So take that in consideration. But if you really want to understand and play jazz, you should be able to read a piano sheet and figure out the harmony on your own without chord boxes.
    Why? Because chord boxes show or teach you nothing about the voice leading thats going on in the composition.
    anyways just my .02$

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by jazzkritter
    Im tired today So take that in consideration. But if you really want to understand and play jazz, you should be able to read a piano sheet and figure out the harmony on your own without chord boxes.
    Why? Because chord boxes show or teach you nothing about the voice leading thats going on in the composition.
    anyways just my .02$
    You must be very tired, because that's my point; I've learned more about writing inner voice counterpoint in jazz from studying that first piano solo sheet music twenty five years ago, than any chord boxes.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    I was thinking about this subject, and then my mind went back to what Billy Butler said to me when we were talking about Johnny Smith solo guitar arrangements. BB said that his solo stuff was copied from the piano arrangements of a pianist back then, Eddie something.
    Back then I didn't see how JS could copy from a piano record, but they had piano solo sheet music of the tunes back then, and JS could have easily adapted some of them for guitar.
    Eddie Costa, I suppose. He was in Tal Farlow's trio with Vinnie Burke; died young, in a car crash, in 1962.

    I am sure OP had a piano arrangement, rather than a piano version. They were once quite common, a way to get more out of a song for the player and additional royalties for the composer.

    If I new the name of the composer and the piece, I might be able to hunt it down.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    Eddie Costa, I suppose. He was in Tal Farlow's trio with Vinnie Burke; died young, in a car crash, in 1962.

    I am sure OP had a piano arrangement, rather than a piano version. They were once quite common, a way to get more out of a song for the player and additional royalties for the composer.

    If I new the name of the composer and the piece, I might be able to hunt it down.
    Thanks!
    That's what I was asking about! It was a specialized thing where they'd generate more income for everyone involved by coming up with a version that is a great deal more complex, and difficult to play; something you'd perform at a concert rather than just the song itself.

    The confusing thing was that I wrote away to the Publishing Company of the song itself, not someone like Chuck Sher or Hal Leonard, who would probably put out a book by Dick Hyman or someone with their credited arrangement. This example just lists the composer and the copyright info.

    BTW, I'm not looking for a specific song, but I wonder if there's a list of songs that had these 'anonymous' arrangements?
    The pianist Butler mentioned was definitely not Costa (who is my fave pianist). It was an older more traditional swing player from the 40s. It was a long time ago, and I was kind of annoyed that he'd accuse my guitar hero of something so 'dastardly'.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim
    I was thinking about this subject, and then my mind went back to what Billy Butler said to me when we were talking about Johnny Smith solo guitar arrangements. BB said that his solo stuff was copied from the piano arrangements of a pianist back then, Eddie something.
    Back then I didn't see how JS could copy from a piano record, but they had piano solo sheet music of the tunes back then, and JS could have easily adapted some of them for guitar.
    Johnny Smith preferred to read grand clef (piano notation) to treble clef transposed guitar notation. Indeed, he would work from the conductors score if a piano score wasn't available. He really hated transposed a guitar charts. And, indeed, he kind of has a point. Having the notation in actual pitch reduces lower ledger lines but one does have to learn to read both bass and treble clef. In the biography of Johnny Smith by Lyn Flanagan, there are several times where this is talked about; towards the later part of his career he was working on something, I don't remember what, and apparently asked "why doesn't Segovia play this note? It's right here."

    I have seen a few play along transcriptions on YouTube with notation and tab; I noticed a few of the chord grips were frankly unplayable until I remembered that Johnny's standard tuning was to drop the low E string to D, which then made many of his six string chords far more playable. Unfortunately, whoever did the transcriptions didn't take that into account and instead presented something impossible for a five finger person with anything other than freakishly large hands to play.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Johnny Smith preferred to read grand clef (piano notation) to treble clef transposed guitar notation. Indeed, he would work from the conductors score if a piano score wasn't available. He really hated transposed a guitar charts. And, indeed, he kind of has a point. Having the notation in actual pitch reduces lower ledger lines but one does have to learn to read both bass and treble clef. In the biography of Johnny Smith by Lyn Flanagan, there are several times where this is talked about; towards the later part of his career he was working on something, I don't remember what, and apparently asked "why doesn't Segovia play this note? It's right here."

    I have seen a few play along transcriptions on YouTube with notation and tab; I noticed a few of the chord grips were frankly unplayable until I remembered that Johnny's standard tuning was to drop the low E string to D, which then made many of his six string chords far more playable. Unfortunately, whoever did the transcriptions didn't take that into account and instead presented something impossible for a five finger person with anything other than freakishly large hands to play.
    Yeah, there's one chord in "Autumn Nocturne" that is unplayable, but sounds great.