Weekly Update # 16 - Dec 8th, 2019
Hi, Piano Buddies,
Today we’re going to take you into our ‘kitchen’ and show you how we make our songbooks.
Most of you are still in the initial learning stages. By now, you are familiar with our online courses or our coursebooks. At this stage, they provide you with everything that you need.
But what happens when you finish both courses, the PENTA Primer and the PENTA Pro? Which songs are you going to play?
At the end of the PENTA Pro course, we will teach you how you can write your own scripts for songs that you know. As a prerequisite, you need to have a good musical ear to be able to do this, but once you get the hang of it, it’s doable. We will provide you with all the tools and explanations to make it easier.
However, not everyone wants to spend the time and effort to write scripts, so for them, we provide complete songbooks with quality scripts for songs you probably know and love.
We are preparing each script with tender loving care. We select a popular performance from the internet, and then, we manually write the melody using PENTA™. Afterward, we match the right chords according to the scale of the song. The next stage is to test-play it and find out the exact duration marking for each chord to provide the best rendition of the song. Sometimes there are several options we have to choose from: A song can be slow, fast, swing, jazz, etc. We then complete the song with note lengths, grace notes, speed and strength markings, etc.
When the script is ready, it goes into quality control, where Yanna is playing it, precisely as written, digitally recording herself. She listens to the original performance and makes sure that the script is correct, fixing errors if necessary. Israela, our muse, who knows most songs quite well, then listens to the recording to make sure it sounds good.
The final script has to fit on one page. So far, we’ve never had to break this rule. Our smart repetition signs and some flexibility with font size help us do that.
The page of a script always looks like this:
When you observe each page in our songbooks, you can scan the various QR codes with your smartphone to get:
A Wikipedia® page of the song that tells you about the writers, history, and significance.
A lyrics link that shows you the words of the song, if applicable.
A YouTube link where you can hear a well-known performance. It’s very common not to recognize a song merely by its name, even when you know it… With this useful link, you can find out that it is a song that you know and like.
A link to an audio file where you can hear Yanna playing the song, just as it is written in PENTA™.
Now all you have to do is use your PENTA™ knowledge, master the song, and play it to your family or friends. You don’t have to memorize it (though it helps). PENTA™ is simple enough so you can quickly learn to sight-read: Playing by merely looking at the page. This way, your repertoire can grow indefinitely.
We have published 120 songs, so far, divided into 4 books. We have 600 more songs ready for publication, and they will hopefully be released within a couple of weeks/months as we work through the royalties process. They include well-loved oldies and jazz standards, popular 70’s and 80’s country. rock and pop songs, modern hits, world music, and more.
Right now, you can buy our published books from the Lulu book store. You can get a printed copy, with coil binding for easy flipping while it sits on top of the piano, or a digital version, at a lower price and immediate delivery, for your iPad.
The Classics Songbook – This book contains 50 famous classical pieces by Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Schubert, and more. It also provides popular songs like The Entertainer by Scott Joplin, The Australian famous song Waltzing Matilda, and Irish song Danny Boy. All these pieces are in the public domain and can be published freely.
The Hymns Songbook – This book contains 10 marvelous church hymns that really soothes the soul, such as Holy, Holy, Holy, Amazing Grace, and How Great Thou Art.
The Christmas Songbook – This book contains 10 Christmas carols since, after all, it is the season to be jolly. Songs such as We Wish You a Merry Christmas, The First Noel, Jingle Bells, and more.
And finally, close and dear to our hearts, the Israelis Songbook – We are an Israeli company, and we take pride in some beautiful Israeli songs, such as Jerusalem of Gold and Haleluyah, which you may not know yet, but may love them when you hear them!
Please write to us and tell us which songs you would like to see published and we promise to do our best to release them soon. In the meantime, continue to learn and practice, and most importantly, enjoy playing!
The team at Piano Esperanto