Tuesday (4/14) on NewMusicBox.com, Frank J. Oteri writes about the closing of the New York sheet music retailer Petelson Music House. “Although it always operated on a much smaller scale, Patelson’s (affectionate patrons inevitably add the possessive) was something of a sheet music version of The Strand. Many times it was impossible to find what you were looking for there, but inevitably other things found you. … While sites like J.W. Pepper and Sheet Music Plus offer many choices, arguably more than Patelson’s had in quite some time, if you can’t peer through a score you’re tempted to buy, you’ll probably only buy scores you already know something about. And while tons of self-published composers and even some of the bigger houses are starting to post perusal materials online, there is no aggregation of the material in a way that allows a chance discovery. Serendipitous browsing inspires thinking outside the box, and it will be a long time before an online simulacrum of such a process can truly replace this kind of interaction. For me, this is the saddest result of Patelson’s demise.”

Posted April 17, 2009