Listed here are some interesting facts about music. This is a collection of what I have learned through experiance and the some that I have found on the Internet. If you know of any to add, I gladly accept suggestions. You may contact me by clicking here.
- A grand piano can be played faster than an upright (spinet) piano.
- The harmonica is the world's best-selling music instrument.
- The CD was developed by Philips and Sony in 1980.
- About 2,4 billion CDs are sold annually. The number of recorded CDs and blank CDs sold has been about equal.
- About one-third of recorded CDs are pirated.
- The Star-Spangled Banner became the US national anthem in 1931. Prior to that, it was My Country ‘Tis of Thee," which had the same melody as Britian's national anthem God Save the Queen, which is based on music written by John Bull in 1619. Bull's melody has been used more than any song in national anthems.
- Tap dancing originates from Irish clog dancing and what is called the Irish reel and jig.
- The Beatles holds the top spot of album sales in the US (106 million), followed by Garth Brooks second (92 million), Led Zeppelin (83 million), Elvis Presley (77 million), and the Eagles (65 million). Worldwide The Beatles sold more than 1 billion records.
- Klezmer music is derived from two Hebrew words, clay and zimmer, meaning "vessel of music".
- The LP (long-playing) record was invented by Paul Goldmark in 1948. The LP is not dead yet: more than 10 million LPs are sold every year.
- The first pop video was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, released in 1975.
- A piano covers the full spectrum of all orchestra instruments, from below the lowest note of the double bassoon to above the top note of the piccolo.
- The US share of the world music market is 31.3%.
- Since its launch in 1981 the song Memory of the musical Cats has been played on radio more than a million times.
- In May 1997, Paul McCartney broke his own world record by obtaining his 81st gold disc.
- The top selling singles of all time are Elton John's "Candle in the Wind ‘97", at 33 million, Bing Crosby's "White Christmas", 30 million, and Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock", 25 million.
- Beethoven was the first composer who never had an official court position, thus the first known freelance musician. Born in 1770, he grew up poor, but published his first work at age 12. By age 20 he was famous. He often sold the same score to six or seven different publishers simultaneously, and demanded unreasonably large fees for the simplest work. He was short, stocky, dressed badly, didn't like to bathe, lived in squalor, and used crude language. Beethoven was deaf when he composed his Ninth Symphony.
- Composer, Tchaikovsky was financed by a wealthy widow for 13 years, and at her request, they never met.
- Monaco's national orchestra is bigger than its army.
- Guitar probably comes from the word kithara, which was the principal stringed instrument of the ancient Greeks and later of the Romans. The kithara was played with a plectrum, it was a larger and stronger form of the lyre.
- Pink Floyd was the first band to use a quadraphonic sound system at their concerts. Using 4 different channels of audio, it was an early version of surround sound.
- The term "Blue Note", usually associated with the famous jazz record label, in fact refers to the diminished fifth - the basic building-block chord of the blues.
- Elvis Presley once entered an Elvis look-a-like contest in a US burger bar and only came 3rd!!
- On his debut album 'For You' Prince played 27 different instruments.
- "The Chipmunks", Alvin, Simon and Theodore were named after executives at Liberty Records by their creator, Ross Bagdasarian, who used the stage name, David Seville.
- The first CD pressed in the United States for commercial release was Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA".
- When Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" finally fell off of Billboard's Hot 200 Album list in October 1988, it had set a record of 741 weeks on the chart.
- More than 2,500 cover versions of The Beatles' "Yesterday" exist, making it the most recorded song in history.
- Prince writes, produces and composes all his music by himself. On most albums, he also plays all the instruments, except for the brass instruments.
- Georgia Brown is listed as having the widest range for a female voice at eight octaves.
- The brass family of instruments includes the trumpet, trombone, tuba, cornet, flügelhorn, French horn, saxhorn, and sousaphone. While they are usually made of brass today, in the past they were made of wood, horn, and glass.
- Most toilets flush in E flat.
- At the tender age of 7, the multi-award-winning composer and pianist Marvin Hamlisch ("The Way We Were," "The Sting") was one of the youngest students ever admitted to the renowned Juilliard School of Music in New York City.
- The famous Russian composer Aleksandr Borodin was also a respected chemistry professor in St. Petersburg.
- In 1939 Irving Berlin composed a Christmas song but thought so little of it that he never showed it to anybody. He just tossed it into a trunk and didn't see fit to retrieve it until he needed it for a Bing Crosby-Fred Astaire movie, HOLIDAY INN 10 years later.
Bing Crosby was a staunch Catholic and at first refused to sing the song because he felt it tended to commercialize Christmas. He finally agreed, took eighteen minutes to make the recording, and then the "throw-away" song become an all-time hit.
Crosby's version has sold over 40 million copies. All together, this song has appeared in 750 versions, selling 6 million copies of sheet music and 90,000,000 recordings, just in the United States and Canada.
You might not recognize the song from the movie HOLIDAY INN...or from the composer's name of Irving Berlin. But you're bound to know it because it's on everyone's list of Christmas favorites: WHITE CHRISTMAS.
- The horse's name in the song Jingle Bells is Bobtail.
- No one knows where Mozart is buried.
- Verdi wrote the opera Aida at the request of the khedive of Egypt to commemorate the opening of the Suez canal.
- Warner Communications paid $28 million for the copyright to the song "Happy Birthday".
- Music history was changed forever when the reproduction of music was made possible in 1877. Thomas Edison created the cylinder phonograph which enabled music to be recorded.
- The 33 1/3 rpm “Long-Playing” record was introduced in 1948. It boasted a whopping 25 minutes of music per side, as opposed to a paltry 4 minutes per side on the laughable 78 rpm. The 7” single was introduced a year later.
- Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart debuted in 1958. The first recording to go #1 on this chart was Ricky Nelson’s "Poor Little Fool".
- The first album to ever be released in CD format was Billy Joel’s 52nd Street, in 1982. It was initially only released in Japan. The first CD pressed and released in The U.S. was Born In The U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen in 1983.
- On Jan. 20, 2002, George Harrison's 'My Sweet Lord' usurped Aaliyah's 'More Than A Woman' at the top of the British charts. This marks the only time in chart history that one deceased artist has replaced another at the Number 1 position.
- The song "Happy Birthday To You" is not a public-domain composition. The publishing rights are owned by a subsidiary of Warner Communications, and a performance fee must be paid every time it is used for commercial purposes.
- Beethoven's composition "Fur Elise" is now believed by scholars to be actually titled "Fur Therese". Beethoven was dating a woman named Therese at the time he wrote the piece, and historians have blamed the composers' extremely poor penmanship for this misnomer.
- The youngest artist to have a #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 is Stevie Wonder in 1963 with "Fingertips Pt. 2" at the age of 13. The youngest female to top the Hot 100 is Little Peggy March with "I Will Follow Him" at the age of 15, also in 1963.
- "The Twist" by Chubby Checker is the only song to hit #1 twice on two separate occasions (one week in 1960 and two weeks in 1962).
- Lisa Loeb is the only artist to hit #1 ("Stay") on Billboard before being signed to a record label.
- Eric Clapton’s only #1 was a song written by Bob Marley, “I Shot The Sheriff”.
- British composer Mike Batt was sued by the estate of John Cage for copyright infringement, after his composition "One Minute of Silence" was claimed to have been stolen from Cage's piece entitled 4'33". Although a plausible defense was offered, arguing that it was impossible to prove which one minute of silence was infringed upon, Batt ended up settling out of court, reportedly with a six-figure settlement.
- Suzanne Vega is considered the ‘mother’ of the mp3. The creators of the mp3 format used her voice from the song “Tom’s Diner” as the model from which to analyze the different sound spectrums when creating the compression algorithm.