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You are on the homepage of B-Note – welcome! In our offer you will find sheet music of well-known pieces and exciting rarities, of composers you already know and whom you should get to know. For many musicians all over the world, our catalog is a treasure trove in which they like to rummage. And the range is still getting larger - and so is customer base. In terms of turnover, our publishing house is in the top quarter of the largest music publishers in Germany (based on the music branch report of the German Federal Statistical Office, 2017).
As Sigfrid Karg-Elert founded B-Note (so to speak)
Start was in 2003. At that time, the music publisher was founded because his founder Boris Hellmers-Spethmann did not come close to a rare composition by Sigfrid-Karg-Elert. The journalist and part-time church musician and organist went on a search. He found what he was looking for after a long struggle in Switzerland. The owner of the wanted edition sent a copy of the Partita for Harmonium op.37 – pointing out that Karg-Elert has just become public domain and copying is now legal. Till then, Boris Hellmers-Spethmann believed in the legend that copying sheet music is basically illegal (this legend was lovingly cared by many established music publishers) . But it is not. The aspiring publisher wondered: Why not make such rarities accessible to others?
B-Note started rather weakly in the "new Internet": as a digital sheet music provider with download service. The first article on the digital counter was Bach’s D Minor Toccata . But: Much more did not happen. B-Note immediately gained momentum as printed issues came into play. Just like the Founder himself, many musicians do not seem to like self-printed notes, stapled inkjet prints, or greasy copies. The B-Note editions were solidly crafted classical music books – with the difference that they had rare content and were priced significantly below the offerings of many well-known publishers. Both is still valid today.
Hunters and gatherers in the vastness of the music world
B-Note focuses on reprinting out-of-print editions – for the niches in which the publisher has earned a good reputation in recent years. We specialize in organ and ecclesiastical vocal music, further focuses are works for orchestra (scores and performance material) and for some years (and with particular dedication) the harmonium. A special focus is on romance and early modernism.
We see ourselfes as hunters and gatherers. We regularly stalk countless sources: at music antique shops, at music sources on the Internet, in music libraries all over Europe and, quite classically, in the music cabinets of many musicians: our music library, both physical and digital, contains thousands of untapped titles. We develop these editions graphically and in terms of content, bring them into booklet form and offer them to the interested music world in a professionally prepared way as practical editions in proven quality.
Reprints – and numerous new editions
B-Note also releases new editions. A focus here are well-playable organ arrangements of well-known classical pieces and issues for orchestra. A special project is the "Gershwin Orchestra Urtext", in which the symphonic orchestral works of George Gershwin appear for the first time in decades as Gershwins own orchestrations. This series has aroused great interest among experts. The Gershwin editions of our house are played and heard regularly throughout the world.
We conceive, engrave and produce most of these new editions completely in-house. With the music notation software Sibelius and Finale, three digital printing machines and its own further processing, B-Note has the entire production chain in its own hands. We also operate our own shipping. Only through this setup, we can keep the large number of issues from our catalog permanently available.
With this service and this program the publisher has meanwhile conquered a firm place in its target group. We are pleased with the regular response of musicians and are often amazed in which corners of the world which music is played – and positively irritated when once again a work that was a bit alien to us suddenly becomes a bestseller.
At any rate, it makes us very proud that our editions have been on many desks throughout Europe and the world for years and that we can count notable musicians and orchestras among our customers. Thank you for being here!