Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
May 15
Did You Guess?
Can You Guess?
What Else
Before the invention of printing, all writing had to be copied by hand. Bi Sheng had invented a sort of movable type in China around 1050 AD, but the individual pieces of type had to be placed by hand.  Gutenberg invented the printing press and movable type that could be used in that press in 1455.  This allowed mass production of books, leaflets and all sorts of printed materials.

On this date in 1501 it is believed that the first printing of music occurred.  The piece was Ottaviano Petrucci's
Harmonice Musices Odehecaton.  (The image posted above is a facsimile of a 1503 manuscript.) 

Although the technique for using movable type had been perfected by Johann Gutenberg some time earlier, printing music was a much more complicated task than just printing words.  It involved printing the staves first, then re-registering and printing the notes and text in two additional print runs.  Prior to this printed music was produced using woodcuts.  They were usually quite primitive and difficult to read.

Petrucci obtained the exclusive privilege of printing music in the Venetian dominions for twenty years.

Petrucci was ahead of his time.  Regular publishing of music did not start in France until at least 1520, Germany followed in 1534, and the Netherlands in 1538.

Printing music aided in standardizing notation so everyone played a piece the same way.  It allowed musicians to play many more pieces, since the music did not have to be memorized.  It also allowed more musicians and a wider audience to be exposed to different music and composers.  The idea of movable type for music made printed music more affordable as well, since it took much less time for the printer to simply set the type than it took to make a wood cut of a piece.

G. Schirmer, Southern Music Co. , and all other music publishers can point back to this event at the birth of their business.
1808 - Birth of Irish singer / violinist / composer Michael William Balfe.

1918 - Country singer Eddy Arnold was born.

1920 - First Performance of Igor Stravinsky's Pulcinella.

1958 - First performance of John Cage's Piano Concerto.

1965 - The Byrds enter the top 100 with an electric version of Mr. Tambourine Man.  Its success prompts Bob Dylan to go electric.

1972 - First performance of George Rochberg's String Quartet No. 3.

1985 - Prince releases his hit single Rasberry Beret.

1989 - Composer Johnny Green, who scored such movies as West Side Story, Oliver, and Easter Parade died.

1992 - Premiere of Stephen Paulus' Air on Seurat 'The Grand Canal' for cello and piano, at the National Cello Competition at Arizona State University
For a while, Prince, who we read about below, no longer wanted to be called "Prince," preferring,"The Artist Formerly Known as Prince."  Can You Guess how he wrote his name?

Go to the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
No, that's not some cool symbol I happened to find.  That is the way he wrote his name!  I never said it was easy!  And I don't really understand either. 
Schirmer Violin Music
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Violin Sheet Music Published by Schirmer
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