What are "commercial sheet music editions"?
Nowadays, creative artists often compose without writing musical notes, or even in some cases without the ability to read sheet music, which is why many compositions only exist as audio files.
With the recording equipment available to everyone, each artist can record their song easily and afterwards edit the recorded frequencies. It isn’t necessary to use musical notation. Even playing skills on an instrument aren’t necessary. Virtual instruments often sound just as good and are often very easy to use.
But as soon as your song is produced and sees the public light, there are often reasons for musical notation. Both for the distribution of your own works as sheet music for the fan community, as well as for the membership of a copyright collecting society, it is necessary, however, to publish your own works (or for publishers the works of the authors under contract) in a notated form, the so-called commercial print formats.
Particularly, a performing right society (for example the one in Germany, GEMA) has certain requirements about this:
- multiple sides with page numbers and cover
- usually a multi-sided lead sheet, piano reduction or vocal with piano accompaniment
- good readability (clean notes) for business use
- copyright notice
- title and authors
It is also pointed out that the sheet music should be also produced commercial-friendly. This means, for the author or the publisher, not only extensive knowledge and mastery of professional music notation software, such as Sibelius, Finale or Capella, but also to be able to pay for the associated licensing costs.
If you couldn’t or don’t want to do this work yourself, surely a professional music transcriber has been recommended to you. He can produce print-ready note outputs, by means of listening and writing down using one of the popular music program files. The music transcriber knows also about the standard layouts for professional sheet music products. He knows the large and small pitfalls that distinguish a professional notation from an amateur transcription. This special knowledge is often based on years of experience with music notation for music publishers or professional choirs, orchestras and musicians. A professional music transcriber will not leave a “naked” music notation in the room if he believes that interpretation aids would be good, whether is information on dynamics or artistic expression, or pedagogical support for the right fingering. If you want to be sure when choosing a music transcriber, you should ask for references and, if necessary, have an assessment of the music notation given to the client.
Sheet Music transcription needs also often a reviewing and editing. It’s similar to writing a book. Some details will come to your attention after one more reading. However, a thoroughly attention is necessary. The fans and customers expect this quality from a score bought in a shop, because a lot of free user-generated content with ambiguous quality exists in the world wide web. The brand of a well-known music publisher or a big sheet music shop brings more trust. Especially if an artist does self-publishing, the product is a mirror of his/her work. All fans expect original and quality editions from their idols.