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Publishers take note: THIS is how vocal selections should be
on February 28, 2013
Several notable things about this vocal selections book that sets it apart from most:
1) It includes ALL the songs found on the cast album. Yes it makes for a larger, more expensive book, but I'd much rather pay extra for a more complete book than have someone else decide what the most popular songs are.
2) The piano part is a real accompaniment, so you have the choice of accompanying a singer or adding a piano melody on your own for a solo performance.
3) The arrangements are exactly the same as what's on the cast album. I haven't seen the show so I don't know if any cuts were made from the full score to create the cast recording, but usually that's inevitable unless it's a multi-CD set. Since this book matches the recording, it makes it easier to prepare a song for an audition or cabaret performance. I didn't check every song, but for the most part I believe they're also in the same keys. (As someone who has played numerous auditions, I've seen my share of singers who have only sung with a CD and never a live piano, and are surprised that the sheet music is 2 steps higher or lower than what they're familiar with.)
3a) And yes, we really do want all those dance breaks and interludes from the cast recording in there, Mr. or Ms. Editor Person, so thank you. We can always make cuts on our own if necessary.
All of these things, by the way, vastly reduce the incentive and desire to seek out bootleg photocopies and poorly-scanned PDFs of Broadway scores. Often it's not people wanting to put on unauthorized productions of shows, but simply wanting a copy of the sheet music that matches what they're used to hearing on the cast album. Good on Alfred Publishing for making this editorial decision -- other publishers should do the same!
Probably my only other wish would be if this were made available with a spiral binding so we wouldn't need to mutilate the book to get the pages to sit flat, but I realize there are a host of logistical reasons why this is a pain for both printers and vendors since spiral-bound books aren't as easy to stock, and can more easily be damaged.
Of course the content of the show and score itself is up to each one's personal preferences (I happen to enjoy it), but I felt the need to comment that as a book of musical vocal selections, this is an excellent example of how they should be done.