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A Very Quick Guide to Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks

Handel, George II and the Royal Fireworks
Handel, George II and the Royal Fireworks

Music history abounds with disastrous premieres, but few come close to that of Handel’s ‘Music for the Royal Fireworks.’ Featuring a royally hobbled orchestra, fire, water and some maimings, things did not go as well as the composer had hoped. More than 250 years later, however, it is considered one of the Handel's best works...
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Danny Boy, the history of a half-Irish classic

A traditional Irish scene
A traditional Irish scene

Danny Boy, the globally recognised folk music classic, has a curious history. Like most folk tunes it can trace its history deep into the 19th century and beyond. Yet in its present form it is little more than a century old. Quintessentially Irish, it is not entirely from that country. Widely covered by an array of musicians, its lyrics have never entirely stuck.
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The Story of Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace is one of the most popular pieces in any genre here on 8notes (and we have over 70s versions of it from beginner piano, through to Saxophone Quartet). It is a piece with a remarkable history. Based on a poem written by a slaver, it became associated with the abolitionist movement; originating in the UK, it was largely ignored there for 100 years; a Christian anthem, it took on a life outside the church, becoming a seminal influence on pop musicians.

Here is the full story...
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Top Tunes for Seeing In the New Year

A New Year Concert
A New Year Concert

Coming after the musical richness of Christmas, New Year may seem like the tuneless poor relation. New Year, however, has plenty of tunes of its own. We’ve collected together our favourites so you can see in the New Year in musical style!
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The Story of La Bamba, the unlikely B-side hit

A Mexican festival scene
A Mexican festival scene

In 1958, U.S. singer, songwriter and guitarist Ritchie Valens released a new single, ‘Donna.’ Written as a tribute to a highshcool sweetheart, it reached number two in the U.S. charts. When looking for a song to go on the B-side of the record, Valens had recorded a cover for a song he had known from his youth. That piece was ‘La Bamba.’ This B-side recording would become the most influential of his career, turning a little-known folksong into a cultural phenomenon.
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O Holy Night - the surprisingly controversial Christmas Carol

O Holy Night
O Holy Night

If you are looking for a carol with angelic voices, heartwarming sentiment and, above all, a great tune that works toward a tremendous climax, O Holy Night has it all. We're not surprised that it's the most played and downloaded carol here at 8notes. But intriguingly, the piece has been on the receiving end of a fair share of criticism and controversy over the years.
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Por Una Cabeza: the tragic story of the Tango Classic

Carlos Gardel, celebrated Tango composer
Carlos Gardel, celebrated Tango composer

Por Una Cabeza is the most celebrated tango by Argentine composer Carlos Gardel. Written in 1935 when Gardel was at the height of his composing powers and celebrity, it was even included in a film in which the composer himself starred. Though one of the most beloved examples of the tango form, however, the year of its composition would also prove to be one coloured by tragedy.
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Customize your home page

A customized 8notes home page
A customized 8notes home page

If you come to 8notes.com looking for music for one particular instrument or by one particular composer, or if there are parts of the site that you regularly use but require a few clicks to get to, we've now made things a whole lot easier for you.
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Jingle Bells Trivia

A spaceman riding a Christmas Sleigh
A spaceman riding a Christmas Sleigh

Christmas trees, the crib, turkey, endless shopping, Santa Claus and, of course, that song. Jingle Bells is the Christmas anthem par excellence. As comforting as a glass of mulled wine or a mince pie, it had, nevertheless, a rocky start before it became a beloved Christmas classic. We've gathered together some of the more intriguing pieces of trivia around this famous tune, see how many you've heard about.
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Do Key Signatures Really Sound Different?

Key Signature Emojis
Key Signature Emojis

The idea that certain keys can be associated with certain moods or feelings has long been debated in music. Some composers, such as Scriabin, have even come to hear keys in terms of colour, a phenomenon known as ‘synaesthesia.’ Others have been skeptical, pointing out that since the advent of modern tuning (i.e. 'equal temperament') all keys have effectively been the same. Whether we experience this phenomena ourselves or not, however, knowing how composers thought about keys can helps us better understand the works that they wrote.
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