Sheet Music Online

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    Sheet Music Ordering

    Frequently - Asked - Questions

    Q. This first one is a "FYI" for those who aren't year-round sheet music buyers. . .

    A. If you want to get a rough idea of what's REALLY available from your local sheet music dealer, you should go and browse the racks right after a major stock order! The average large sheet music store places a couple of stock orders per year, where the majority of the inventory is replaced. If you don't visit your local sheet music store after a stock order, you may not realize it -- but you are browsing through the "left-overs" -- kind of like Sunday Afternoon at a Garage Sale (apologies to our international readers if the American "Garage Sale" is something you have not heard of. . .)
    Call your local sheet music retailer and just ask them when they do their major restocking, and jot it down on your calendar. I guarantee you will see music you didn't even know existed!!
    Well, this is where I think Sheet Music Online excells: We look through All Titles, and we know what the best arrangements are (usually) and we know what the best value is (usually!) and we know what's a rip-off (always!).
    Anyway. . . keep the above in mind, 'cause its the truth!

    Q. I have a CD with music I like -- now I would like the sheet music.

    A. This is the most common misconception. Just because it's recorded does not mean the music will be ever available for print! Actually, only a small percentage of great music ends up as printed music, because music publishers have only one reason for publishing anything -- $$. Which is why a lot of junk is published while a lot of wonderful music is not.

    Q. Do I have to submit a credit card number for my next purchase?

    A. No. You may simply type in your name and email address, and type "use previous order info" in the comments box found at the bottom of every web page.

    Q. Should I look for piano/vocal/guitar or piano solo if I'm really not a singer.

    A. Unless you are actually planning on singing the vocal line, always get the piano solo version, if it's available.
    The problem is, a good singer does NOT want the pianist to be playing the melody at the same time she/he is singing: many piano/vocal scores therefor do not have the melody line in the piano part. Unfortunately, if you want to play such a version as a piano solo, it won't work unless you do some serious editing of the music yourself. A perfect example is Pink Floyd's "Dark Side. . . ": It is absolutely worthless for anyone wanting to play it as solo piano.
    On the other hand, many piano/vocal songs, especially pop music, DO have the melody in the piano part, especially the easier versions.
    Many new Hal Leonard (big-time major publisher in the U.S.) collections which are listed as "piano/vocal/guitar" provide a solution to this problem. You end up getting: melody in the piano part, separate melody line, and guitar fretboards along with chord names. Not all collections are this way, but it seems to be more and more common. Other publishers such as Warner, Music Sales, Creative Concepts, etc. are working towards similar ends.It's a Good Idea -- I wish the publishers would be more consistent with this type of format!

    Q. Should I get Jazz music arranged by the composer if possible, and if not, who's the best when you see "arranged by"?

    A. Surprisingly, the composer is not always the best arranger, sometimes just because his/her style is so individualized. The hierarchy is: Transcription - which is the exact note-for-note printed music of what the artist played (you can't always be sure if it's a transcription, especially if the music is a reprint of something done decades ago); Arranged by - or - Interpreted by XXX (Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, etc.) of their own or others' songs; Advanced Piano Solo, which is an arrangement by someone working for the publisher.
    As to who's the best arranger at which publisher -- and this isn't a cop-out -- they're all excellent!! Every one of the arrangers that work for the major publishers are top-of-the-rack musicians. Their arrangements are lousy only when the publishers force them to churn out yet another "Easy - Play - Big - Note - Piece - Of -Junk - So - We - Can - Make - Lots - Of - Money" collection. Many of these overpriced collections in the Big Note, EZPT, or ELK (electronic keyboard) collections are rip-offs, and by golly, we aren't afraid to let you know!!

    Q. I ordered music and received it in 3 days, but my next order took almost 2 weeks. Why?

    A. When in stock, you (in the U.S.) could receive your music in two days. If we have to order it from the publisher, it usually takes us four to six work days to receive it. We always have music sent to us faster than the usual UPS ground service. Sure, it costs us more, but we do try to make Sheet Music Online as fast as is reasonably possible.
    Now for the excuse. There are a few (Especially Classical music) publishers that lack the ability to do anything quickly. Some of these are historic old publishers that are so slow you'd swear they have a group of medieval scribes with quill pens and ink pots at the ready, sitting stoically at the Old Heavy Table in a dark back room, ready to make yet another copy when an order comes in. . .

    Oh yea, almost forgot another common problem. If a music title is extremely popular, it is not all that impossible for the publisher to literally be out of copies, and the next printing may not be available for several weeks. I guess they try to determine the market, but aren't always too accurate!
    Another unfortunate problem is that just about ALL popular music will go out of print sooner or later. Usually, the best songs will be recycled into yet another collection with a shiny cover and a new price tag. This happens more frequently than you might suspect!

    Q. Why can't you just Email me the sheet music?

    A. I could. Matter of fact, I developed a means for beautiful postscript clarity cross-platform on the internet, where you could print out the music and it would be in near publishable quality regardless of whether you had an IBM or Mac -- and I'm still kinda sore from patting myself on the back for coming up with this system! (We now use Adobe's PDF system, since the free Reader is available to everyone on the web. . . oh well, there went my millions...).
    BUT, we can't. Any music under copyright protection can't be sent over the internet. There are a couple of sites where you can download music: is run by the publisher Hal Leonard, and is sponsored by Warner Bros. These are great sites if you need a song quickly, but don't expect to find the best arrangements, and keep in mind that spending $3.95 per song is very expensive.


    A. NO. Our prices for collections are at the publishers prices, many are discounted as much as we can! If you ever see a sticker over a price, it was put there by the publisher, not by us -- and we paid more for it too!

    BTW - our "sale" stuff is NOT junk that won't sell, but is only the BEST! That's why it's so neat to put it on sale.

    Q. In Classical music (e.g., solo piano), is the most expensive the best, or in other words, is price reflective of quality?

    A. Not always. But, you have to know not only the best editions available of a given work, but also (and most importantly) who the editor was or is. We try to recommend the best, and steer you clear of what most would consider the worst. Classical music (especially piano) is my specialty, and I'm very critical of music that is nothing more than reprints from 100 year-old plates, with outrageous high prices stuck on by reputable publishers. I think ALL publishers have these skeletons in their catalogs -- And, believe me, I will let the customer know!

    Q. Are you all filthy rich from this web site?

    A. Of course!
    Matter of fact, right now I'm sitting here with a big cigar in my mouth, martini close by, toes in the sand, typing away with one finger enjoying all the activity. . .

    If you have a serious or not so serious question you would like to have addressed here, please Email it to (Dr. Rein P. Vaga, D.M.A.), who is responsible for this page -- and most everything else.