Every two months I have to put my thinking cap on. Why? Because it’s time to write something for Organ & Keyboard Cavalcade magazine, or The Yamaha Club magazine. Occasionally, as today, I’m writing for both at the same time. And both mags ask me to arrange a piece of well-loved music as part of my article.
That shouldn’t be a problem, as the world is awash with great tunes. But then I have to consider copyright. If I use a piece which is too recent (in other words, its composer and lyricist are still alive or died less than 70 years ago), then the magazine has to pay royalties. This is only fair to the creators, of course, but the fees can be swingeing. I once wrote to the Beatles’ publishers to ask if I could use one of their songs in a teaching article and they agreed – as long as I paid them £8,000 per bar! And the penalty for unwittingly using a copyright piece is always four figures or more.
The obvious way round this is to use older classical pieces and folk songs. But I’ve been arranging these for OKC since it launched nearly 35 years ago. I’m beginning to feel like I’ve used every tune ever written! I comb YouTube for ideas, I Google lists of the world’s most loved songs, I go to concerts for inspiration. But I’ve been overlooking a valuable resource. I’d love to know which are your favourite classical tunes and folk songs. If I’ve not arranged them already, and if they are playable as keyboard arrangements, then I’ll be thrilled to use them in future articles, and acknowledge your contribution. I look forward to receiving your ideas and putting a fresh slant on my articles. Thank you in advance 🙂