*** Many of the websites have changed in this series, and while the principles are still valid, the specific methods and links may no longer be relevant. However, the posts on composers and their compositions should still be quite relevant. ***
In our first post we examined finding great self-published choral music with the use of choralnet.org’s Composition Showcase. In the second post we looked at five music distributors that retail self-published choral music. This post will examine some other resources for finding great choral repertoire on the choralnet website.
Choralnet.org is one of the finest resources I know for finding great self-published choral repertoire (and also traditionally published music). Besides the Composition Showcase, there are some other great repertoire resources. In fact, what we will examine has been one of the most effective venues I have seen for connecting conductors with composers and compositions. These resources are the “Repertoire” forum and the “New Publications” announcement page. Many conductors and composers are using this resource, but even if you are one, perhaps you might find some helpful suggestions to utilize these to your best and most efficient advantage in this post.
The “New Publications” announcement page is fairly self explanatory. Composers and publishers post an announcement of a newly made available piece. It is common to see new announcements on a daily basis. Announcements usually include a short description of the piece (voicing, style, etc…), a link or contact for perusal and purchase, and often an embedded audio recording or audio link for the piece.
It can seem a bit tedious to check on new publications on a daily basis (go to choralnet.org, open the announcements page – 2nd tab from the top left, open the “New Publications” page, scroll through the new announcements, etc…). There is a more efficient way to keep up with the steady stream of new repertoire announcements. However, first we will examine the “Repertoire” forum.
The “Repertoire” forum has proved to be a very useful tool to find quality self-published choral music (go to choralnet.org, open the forum page – 3rd tab from the top left, open the repertoire forum). While using the the forum is quite easy, I suggest three search strategies when on the page to achieve your best results: start your own thread; use the search tab; and serendipitous searching.
If you are looking for suggestions for a piece meeting specifications of type, genre, topic, or program, you can start a new thread (for which you must have a choralnet account) asking for suggestions from fellow conductors and composers. Generally, many conductors and composers respond. Often composers will recommend one of their own compositions that meets your specifications, frequently with a perusal score link and a recording.
You also can view recommendations to many other queries for pieces by perusing and searching past threads. The search mechanism is quite efficient and very helpful. For example, try typing “Christmas,” “self-published,” “ssa,” or “ttbb”.
Besides starting your own thread and using the search feature on the “Repertoire” forum, you can become acquainted with many quality pieces serendipitously. Just scroll down the page and see what thread titles catch your eye. This is perhaps overly obvious, but I have become acquainted with quality pieces I would not have otherwise based on viewing thread topics I would not have thought of.
For efficiency’s sake, rather than checking the forum and announcements every day or two to keep abreast with all the new and recommended pieces, the best way to keep up is to simply sign up for a choralnet.org account, which is free. When you register, by selecting to have the daily highlights newsletter sent to your email, you can keep up with the previous day’s announcements and active forum threads with minimal effort. The email rarely takes more than 20 seconds to scan. If you see interesting threads and announcements for repertoire, simply click the link from your email to check it out.
There are other great ways to connect with great self-published choral music which I have not covered in this series. These ways include searching the music of self-published composer co-ops, word of mouth, social media, and others.
In the series’ next two blog posts I will highlight some fine composers of great self-published choral compositions. I will include links to perusal scores and demo recordings if available. I think the next two posts can demonstrate some of the great self-published choral music available.
God Bless and Happy Searching!