What is the deal with inaccurate sheet music?

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posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 02:55 AM
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Over the years, I have noticed that most of the sheet music sold in music stores is wrong. When I say it's wrong, I mean it's nowhere close. I am not speaking of classical sheet music. It's usually very good. Jazz sheet music doesn't generally get too detailed because Jazz is meant to be interpreted and is big on improvisation. Rock and popular sheet music is horrible. I can easily pick songs out by ear, but that's not the point. So, let me get to the main reason for this thread.

Why is the sheet music so bad? Popular music is not that hard, so the sheet music should be easy to create. I have bought books where they not only had the wrong chord types, but even the wrong key. When it's for guitar, they will give some sloppy basic part that isn't exactly right, even in the better books. When it's for piano, they don't seem to want to be bothered by writing out what the keyboard player actually played. Instead they make the piano part a combination of some basic chords and the vocal melody. And for this, consumers are expected to drop 20+ dollars. I've even seen some with wrong lyrics. These are the major publishing companies such as Hal Leonard. What is going on at these places? Who do they hire to transcribe the music? Doesn't anyone check the transcriptions before publishing? Why do stores continue to carry them? Some of these guys had to be high while doing this stuff, it's just that wrong. I fear that many young musicians who are just learning will be frustrated wondering why they can't get the song to sound right and may think it is themselves.

And finally, why don't the artists complain? I know that if I was an established artist, and I gave a publishing company rights to transcribe my music, I would insist that the book was completely accurate.

Maybe this should have gone in rant.
edit on 31-7-2011 by notquiteright because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 02:58 AM
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copyright infringement? not necessarily on the part of the publishers, but of the bar bands playing the tunes without forking over money to the record company.

they don't want them to be able to re create the songs note for note

edit on 31-7-2011 by BadBoYeed because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 03:05 AM
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reply to post by BadBoYeed
 


That's an interesting angle I hadn't thought of. The problem is, I view sheet music as an educational tool. If it's not correct, then it's useless.

I'm laughing at the thought of a bar band playing some of the sheet music I've had. They'd be fired quick!



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 03:09 AM
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This is simply a guess, so I hope someone who knows comes to answer this question... but I THINK the publisher of the sheet music is simply acquiring the license to print from the actual copyright holder. I think most modern bands sign away rights to their music as part of their records deals.

For instance, check out Universal Music Publishing Group


ETA: I know that doesn't answer the question at all, but the bands and sheet music producers I think are both not to blame, so..

edit on 31-7-2011 by quango because: addition



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 03:14 AM
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Originally posted by quango
This is simply a guess, so I hope someone who knows comes to answer this question... but I THINK the publisher of the sheet music is simply acquiring the license to print from the actual copyright holder. I think most modern bands sign away rights to their music as part of their records deals.

For instance, check out Universal Music Publishing Group


ETA: I know that doesn't answer the question at all, but the bands and sheet music producers I think are both not to blame, so..

edit on 31-7-2011 by quango because: addition


You are probably right about that, which would explain why the artists don't really do anything about it.



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 04:14 AM
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Copyright law is a grey area, and usually comes down to who has the best lawyers, but generally the rule of thumb is that if a creative work is changed by 10% then it is not a copy, and is considered OK to publish without owning the rights of the original.

It's why you hear songs in popular media, such as advertisements, that almost seem like a song you know... but not quite… and is also the reason for elevator music.

This could be the reason for bad sheet music... if a song, or part thereof, is changed by 10% from the original, then the publishers don't have to pay for the original.
edit on 31-7-2011 by puzzlesphere because: spelling error



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 04:33 AM
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Originally posted by puzzlesphere
Copyright law is a grey area, and usually comes down to who has the best lawyers, but generally the rule of thumb is that if a creative work is changed by 10% then it is not a copy, and is considered OK to publish without owning the rights of the original.

It's why you hear songs in popular media, such as advertisements, that almost seem like a song you know... but not quite… and is also the reason for elevator music.

This could be the reason for bad sheet music... if a song, or part thereof, is changed by 10% from the original, then the publishers don't have to pay for the original.
edit on 31-7-2011 by puzzlesphere because: spelling error


That's an interesting fact about the 10%. I didn't know that. Still, the books they sell use the band name, graphics, and credit the songwriters, so I'm pretty sure they are paying some royalties. It would be great if they had to change the band name by 10%, too. A book of Pank Floyd sheet music would let you know what you were getting into right away.



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 04:58 AM
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Originally posted by notquiteright
... Pank Floyd...


... I love it!
How about the asian version of Metarrica!



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 07:34 AM
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It is funny that you mention this. The lady that has transcribed most of the sheet music for the last 20 for nearly all the publishers lives a block away from me. She is amazing at what she does. Your answer to this question is not with the transcriptions (I've watched her do it). It is with the nature of poor musicianship in the original performers. Incorrect chords and one-of-a-kind technique is what gives some music its unique sound. Most of these musicians are self-taught. The transcriptions have no choice but to use standard chords and inversions. Also, most musicians these days in the rock world are using MIDI setups at performances. They are responsible for the first tracks. After this, the studio musicians create scratch tracks for the band members to rehearse. 80% of what is played in a performance setting is a track made by studio musicians, played over by performer. Even vocals are sometimes manipulated for pitch and rhythmic accuracy.

Phil Collins for instance: His bass parts are nearly all played by Leland Sklar. This guy has played on more albums than any other musician. You cannot listen to the radio for more than five minutes without hearing him play. This kind of musicianship cannot be duplicated into sheet music. In a typical musical setting, the musician is looking at chord symbols and then building the part themselves. This is like a snow flake. It is unique to the person playing.

The lady that lives down the street is a magician at making this into something the standard musician can play. We are lucky to get what we get. The best advice is to put your own flavor on it and be happy.


Originally posted by notquiteright
Over the years, I have noticed that most of the sheet music sold in music stores is wrong. When I say it's wrong, I mean it's nowhere close. I am not speaking of classical sheet music. It's usually very good. Jazz sheet music doesn't generally get too detailed because Jazz is meant to be interpreted and is big on improvisation. Rock and popular sheet music is horrible. I can easily pick songs out by ear, but that's not the point. So, let me get to the main reason for this thread.

Why is the sheet music so bad? Popular music is not that hard, so the sheet music should be easy to create. I have bought books where they not only had the wrong chord types, but even the wrong key. When it's for guitar, they will give some sloppy basic part that isn't exactly right, even in the better books. When it's for piano, they don't seem to want to be bothered by writing out what the keyboard player actually played. Instead they make the piano part a combination of some basic chords and the vocal melody. And for this, consumers are expected to drop 20+ dollars. I've even seen some with wrong lyrics. These are the major publishing companies such as Hal Leonard. What is going on at these places? Who do they hire to transcribe the music? Doesn't anyone check the transcriptions before publishing? Why do stores continue to carry them? Some of these guys had to be high while doing this stuff, it's just that wrong. I fear that many young musicians who are just learning will be frustrated wondering why they can't get the song to sound right and may think it is themselves.

And finally, why don't the artists complain? I know that if I was an established artist, and I gave a publishing company rights to transcribe my music, I would insist that the book was completely accurate.

Maybe this should have gone in rant.
edit on 31-7-2011 by notquiteright because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 10:50 AM
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reply to post by SuperiorEd
 


I appreciate your reply, but it doesn't make sense. I can transcribe music accurately. It has nothing to do with music that just can't be transcribed due to technology or individual players. There are some sources that are always accurate, such as the monthly guitar magazines. What it pretty much comes down to is sloppiness and laziness on behalf of the transcriber. If the woman you mentioned is unable to listen to the music and accurately transcribe it, then she shouldn't do it. No offense, it's just the truth.



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 03:33 PM
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This could be part of it. It also depends on the company. I am in the music industry so I have a perspective that comes from 30 years of experience. For instance, Alfred publishing will have very accurate transcriptions. I'll stick with the best in my example. What you say is true to some degree for some other publishers. Mostly though, it comes down to the individual musician and what they bring to the performance. In a perfect world, a musician develops rapid auditory processing and visual field articulation to the degree that music is unnecessary. For those who need music, it is a matter of developing a personal style and not just copying what is on the page. There is a point between where development meets skill. This would be true for the transcriptionist as well. The lady I am talking about has had 20 years of experience. She is amazing!

The Beatles are a good example of this. The 10,000 hour rule is consistently the goal for anyone.






Originally posted by notquiteright
reply to post by SuperiorEd
 


I appreciate your reply, but it doesn't make sense. I can transcribe music accurately. It has nothing to do with music that just can't be transcribed due to technology or individual players. There are some sources that are always accurate, such as the monthly guitar magazines. What it pretty much comes down to is sloppiness and laziness on behalf of the transcriber. If the woman you mentioned is unable to listen to the music and accurately transcribe it, then she shouldn't do it. No offense, it's just the truth.



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 05:27 PM
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reply to post by SuperiorEd
 


That's cool. I don't personally need sheet music. I've been playing for nearly 25 years myself. For beginners, though, it could be something of a problem if they believe the music is correct, but it is something wrong with them. If they are trying to play along with a song on a cd where the band is playing a Bmin7#5 but the book is telling him to play a A7, he's going to be scratching his head trying to figure out what he's doing wrong. I view sheet music as educational materials and feel that there should be more responsibility exercised by the publishers. I guess I just can't understand why a sub par job is being done when there are many, many talented musicians out there that could do it to perfection. I'm not going to judge your friends work without being able to actually see some of it. She might be one of the good ones, but I think it is fairly common knowledge that there is more bad out there than good. I guess it's not a big deal, at least that's the feel I'm getting from this thread.

I wouldn't want to go into a new city with a map that was "partially correct".



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 05:38 PM
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im guessing because theres isnt much money in it now, hence lack of quality.

you can find quality sheet music on the internet for free now.



posted on Jul, 31 2011 @ 07:15 PM
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reply to post by neonitus
 


There is certainly a lot of sheet music available on the internet. Not so sure about the quality part, though.

Also, this isn't a new development. It's been going on for years.
edit on 31-7-2011 by notquiteright because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 14 2013 @ 02:45 AM
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Hi there,

Yes we all know noticed that it when we play commercially-available sheet music, there is something which gets wrong, often like the chords, the lyrics or the melody etc. The secret is on the publishing side. The publishing company hires a staff musician to transcribe the music, from a recording, onto paper, or nowadays, onto a computer screen. The technical term for doing an audio transcription of music is a "take down."

So it’s better to deal with good reputable store that works with trustworthy and provide you a right sheet music. One of the good stores for sheet music is www.musicforte.com... which have great staff and well known in this industry and provide you accordingly the exact price tagged mention on the product.





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