Find a treasure trove of music for the masses in old magazines

I had the serious task this spring of cleaning my parents’ house.

I was able to leave with most of my mother’s music as well as the music of our piano teacher. Some things have been incorporated into my collections. Other songs are played or watched by other musician friends.

This is not the first time that my collection has grown due to a death or a disbursement. I received collections from a worship teacher, a musician and pianist from the local church, and some from my wife’s family.

Some of them I just put away in binders and some went straight to the shelves. As I accumulated, it became necessary to look more closely at the collection.

Among the treasures are pages from the magazine “Etude”. I may have a few magazines intact, but most of them are refusals to put music in the hands of the masses.

For 75 years, “Etude” magazine has provided relatively inexpensive educational materials to teachers and cash-strapped families. There were literary articles about composers and their works.

There were talks with the music intelligentsia, many of whom would learn music theory and history. There was graded music for piano lessons sitting alongside beloved keyboard classics.

There were also some popular songs. There were piano duos and sometimes quartets.

The pages I have are from the early 1900s to the late 1950s when publication ceased. .Parts are chipped, torn, well preserved and some have missing parts. I have no place for them.

Fortunately, a musician friend of mine is interested in looking at what I have. Like the doggie in the window, I know that the pages will have a good reception.

Music for the masses was the impetus behind “Sheet Music Magazine” in the 1970s. I subscribed very close to the start and am only missing a few copies.

I was able to get my mom’s copies of the kid’s magazine, “Keyboard Classics.” The child folded first and the parent later as copyrights and printing costs soared and subscriptions languished. I won’t be giving up on either of these collections anytime soon.

I used Sheet Music Magazines to program my old children’s choir and to arrange some of my adult choirs. I loved the theory sections I remember and I’m working to improve my own compositions.

I have several copies of the Readers’ Digest songbooks which have provided me with further resources and arrangements for the standards. Then you have your Broadway and period music compilations. Many of them were mass-produced and available at relatively economical prices.

I’m always looking for a particular song and I’ve bought books that had what I needed only to find other treasures and gems inside. Today’s version is MusicNotes.com and other similar sources.

But at $5 to $6 a pop, the collection won’t grow as fast Fortunately, the music is still available to the masses!

Richard Tiegs tries to be active in the local music scene through theater and church music.