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Lang, Lang – Journey of a thousand miles – my story

Lang, Lang – Journey of a thousand miles – my story (1982) Book is available in our online Library.

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Lang Lang: “Number One” was a phrase my father—and, for that matter, my mother—repeated time and time again. It was a phrase spoken by my parents’ friends and by their friends’ children. Whenever adults discussed the great Chinese painters and sculptors from the ancient dynasties, there was always a single artist named as Number One. There was the Number One leader of a manufacturing plant, the Number One worker, the Number One scientist, the Number One car mechanic. In the culture of my childhood, being best was everything.

It was the goal that drove us, the motivation that gave life meaning. And if, by chance or fate or the blessings of the generous universe, you were a child in whom talent was evident, Number One became your mantra. It became mine. I never begged my parents to take off the pressure. I accepted it; I even enjoyed it. It was a game, this contest among aspiring pianists, and although I may have been shy, I was bold, even at age five, when faced with a field of rivals.

Born in China to parents whose musical careers were interrupted by the Cultural Revolution, Lang Lang has emerged as one of the greatest pianists of our time. Yet despite his fame, few in the West know of the heart-wrenching journey from his early childhood as a prodigy in an industrial city in northern China to his difficult years in Beijing to his success today.

Journey of a Thousand Miles documents the remarkable, dramatic story of a family who sacrificed almost everything—his parents’ marriage, financial security, Lang Lang’s childhood, and their reputation in China’s insular classical music world—for the belief in a young boy’s talent. And it reveals the devastating and intense relationship between a boy and his father, who was willing to go to any length to make his son a star.


An engaging, informative cultural commentator who bridges East and West, Lang Lang has written more than an autobiography: his book opens a door to China, where Lang Lang is a cultural icon, at a time when the world’s attention will be on Beijing. Written with David Ritz, the coauthor of many bestselling autobiographies, Journey of a Thousand Miles is an inspiring story that will give readers an appreciation for the courage and sacrifice it takes to achieve greatness.

Fans all over the world are in awe of the Chinese pianist Lang Lang’s magnificent talent and won over by his immense charm. The excitement his performances evoke is well documented in the legions of reviews and profiles about him. What is less known, however, is the heart-wrenching story of his journey from a young prodigy in an industrial city in northern China to one of the greatest pianists of our time.

Journey of a Thousand Miles documents the remarkable story of a boy and his father who sacrificed almost everything–family, financial security, Lang Lang’s childhood, and their reputation in China’s insular classical music world–for the belief in a young boy’s talent.

An engaging, informative cultural commentator who bridges east and west, Lang Lang has written more than an autobiography; his story opens a door to Chinese culture at a time when the world’s attention will be on Beijing. Written with David Ritz, the coauthor of many bestselling autobiographies, Journey of a Thousand Miles is an inspiring story that will give readers new insight into China and classical music, and appreciation for the courage and sacrifice it takes to achieve artistic greatness.

The 25-year-old Chinese piano prodigy chronicles his coming of age.

Lang Lang – Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Aria

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Alabama 1963: John Coltrane and Martin Luther King

Alabama: John Coltrane and Martin Luther King (1963)

On Sunday, September 15, 1963, twelve sticks of dynamite were placed in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The bomb had been planted by the white supremacy group, the KKK, and killed four young black girls between the ages of 11-14.

John Coltrane wrote the song ‘Alabama’ in response to this event and patterned his playing in the song after Martin Luther King’s speech at the funeral for the four girls.

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Coltrane also performed in eight benefit concerts for King in 1964 and recorded several other songs inspired by the civil rights movement called, ‘Reverend King’, ‘Backs Against the Wall’ and his album Cosmic Music dedicated to Martin Luther King.

John Coltrane wrote the song ‘Alabama’ in response to this event and patterned his playing in the song after Martin Luther King’s speech at the funeral for the four girls.

Coltrane also performed in eight benefit concerts for King in 1964 and recorded several other songs inspired by the civil rights movement called, ‘Reverend King’, ‘Backs Against the Wall’ and his album Cosmic Music dedicated to Martin Luther King.

Most people are aware of the church bombing in Birmingham that killed four children in 1963.

Missing from the story is why THIS particular church was targeted.

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It’s a triumphant story, but also sheds a light on the diabolical hatred that infected (and still infects) many Americans.

Alabama, by John Coltrane

The Children’s March | 1963

American short documentary film about the Birmingham, Alabama civil rights marches in the 1960’s, highlighting the bravery of young activists involved in Children’s Crusade (1963). In 2005, this film won an Oscar at the 77th Academy Awards for Documentary Short Subject and was made by the Southern Poverty Law Center (https://www.splcenter.org/).

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Find images about Birmingham, Alabama 1963:

https://www.gettyimages.es/fotos/birmingham-alabama-1963

A little history of the facts

In April 1963 King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) joined with Birmingham, Alabama’s existing local movement, the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), in a massive direct action campaign to attack the city’s segregation system by putting pressure on Birmingham’s merchants during the Easter season, the second biggest shopping season of the year. As ACMHR founder Fred Shuttlesworth stated in the group’s “Birmingham Manifesto,” the campaign was “a moral witness to give our community a chance to survive” (ACMHR, 3 April 1963). 

The campaign was originally scheduled to begin in early March 1963, but was postponed until 2 April when the relatively moderate Albert Boutwell defeated Birmingham’s segregationist commissioner of public safety, Eugene “Bull” Connor, in a run-off mayoral election. On 3 April the desegregation campaign was launched with a series of mass meetings, direct actions, lunch counter sit-ins, marches on City Hall, and a boycott of downtown merchants. King spoke to black citizens about the philosophy of nonviolence and its methods, and extended appeals for volunteers at the end of the mass meetings. With the number of volunteers increasing daily, actions soon expanded to kneel-ins at churches, sit-ins at the library, and a march on the county building to register voters. Hundreds were arrested. 

On 10 April the city government obtained a state circuit court injunction against the protests. After heavy debate, campaign leaders decided to disobey the court order. King declared: “We cannot in all good conscience obey such an injunction which is an unjust, undemocratic and unconstitutional misuse of the legal process” (ACMHR, 11 April 1963). Plans to continue to submit to arrest were threatened, however, because the money available for cash bonds was depleted, so leaders could no longer guarantee that arrested protesters would be released. King contemplated whether he and Ralph Abernathy should be arrested. Given the lack of bail funds, King’s services as a fundraiser were desperately needed, but King also worried that his failure to submit to arrests might undermine his credibility. King concluded that he must risk going to jail in Birmingham. He told his colleagues: “I don’t know what will happen; I don’t know where the money will come from. But I have to make a faith act” (King, 73). 

On Good Friday, 12 April, King was arrested in Birmingham after violating the anti-protest injunction and was kept in solitary confinement. During this time King penned the“Letter from Birmingham Jail” on the margins of the Birmingham News, in reaction to a statement published in that newspaper by eight Birmingham clergymen condemning the protests. King’s request to call his wife, Coretta Scott King, who was at home in Atlanta recovering from the birth of their fourth child, was denied. After she communicated her concern to the Kennedy administration, Birmingham officials permitted King to call home. Bail money was made available, and he was released on 20 April 1963. 

In order to sustain the campaign, SCLC organizer James Bevel proposed using young children in demonstrations. Bevel’s rationale for the Children’s Crusade was that young people represented an untapped source of freedom fighters without the prohibitive responsibilities of older activists. On 2 May more than 1,000 African American students attempted to march into downtown Birmingham, and hundreds were arrested. When hundreds more gathered the following day, Commissioner Connor directed local police and fire departments to use force to halt the demonstrations. During the next few days images of children being blasted by high-pressure fire hoses, clubbed by police officers, and attacked by police dogs appeared on television and in newspapers, triggering international outrage. While leading a group of child marchers, Shuttlesworth himself was hit with the full force of a fire hose and had to be hospitalized. King offered encouragement to parents of the young protesters: “Don’t worry about your children, they’re going to be alright. Don’t hold them back if they want to go to jail. For they are doing a job for not only themselves, but for all of America and for all mankind” (King, 6 May 1963). 

In the meantime, the white business structure was weakening under adverse publicity and the unexpected decline in business due to the boycott, but many business owners and city officials were reluctant to negotiate with the protesters. With national pressure on the White House also mounting, Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent Burke Marshall, his chief civil rights assistant, to facilitate negotiations between prominent black citizens and representatives of Birmingham’s Senior Citizen’s Council, the city’s business leadership. 

The Senior Citizen’s Council sought a moratorium on street protests as an act of good faith before any final settlement was declared, and Marshall encouraged campaign leaders to halt demonstrations, accept an interim compromise that would provide partial success, and negotiate the rest of their demands afterward. Some black negotiators were open to the idea, and although the hospitalized Shuttlesworth was not present at the negotiations, on 8 May King told the negotiators he would accept the compromise and call the demonstrations to a halt. 

When Shuttlesworth learned that King intended to announce a moratorium he was furious—about both the decision to ease pressure off white business owners and the fact that he, as the acknowledged leader of the local movement, had not been consulted. Feeling betrayed, Shuttlesworth reminded King that he could not legitimately speak for the black population of Birmingham on his own: “Go ahead and call it off … When I see it on TV, that you have called it off, I will get up out of this, my sickbed, with what little ounce of strength I have, and lead them back into the street. And your name’ll be Mud” (Hampton and Fayer, 136). King made the announcement anyway, but indicated that demonstrations might be resumed if negotiations did not resolve the situation shortly. 

By 10 May negotiators had reached an agreement, and despite his falling out with King, Shuttlesworth joined him and Abernathy to read the prepared statement that detailed the compromise: the removal of “Whites Only” and “Blacks Only” signs in restrooms and on drinking fountains, a plan to desegregate lunch counters, an ongoing “program of upgrading Negro employment,” the formation of a biracial committee to monitor the progress of the agreement, and the release of jailed protesters on bond (“The Birmingham Truce Agreement,” 10 May 1963). 

Birmingham segregationists responded to the agreement with a series of violent attacks. That night an explosive went off near the Gaston Motel room where King and SCLC leaders had previously stayed, and the next day the home of King’s brother Alfred Daniel King was bombed. President John F. Kennedy responded by ordering 3,000 federal troops into position near Birmingham and making preparations to federalize the Alabama National Guard. Four months later, on 15 September, Ku Klux Klan members bombed Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing four young girls. King delivered the eulogy at the 18 September joint funeral of three of the victims, preaching that the girls were “the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity” (King, “Eulogy for the Martyred Children,” 18 September 1963). 

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Did you know? Bill Evans Harmony Keith Jarrett - The Art of Improvisation

Comparing the improvisation styles of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett

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    Comparing the improvisation styles of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett

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    Autum Leaves Lead sheet, by Joseph Kosma

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    Someday my Prince will lead sheet come, by Frank Churchill

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    Bill Evans – Someday My Prince will Come (Churchill-Morey) LIVE in Iowa (1979)

    Keith Jarrett Trio – Someday My Prince Will Come – LIVE (1985)

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    Keith Jarrett Trio LIVE – Autumn Leaves

    Bill Evans Trio Autumn Leaves

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    Book review: The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet, 1965-68, By Keith Waters. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011

    Book review: The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet, 1965-68, By Keith Waters. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2011.

    Unlocking the Mysteries of the Second Miles Davis Quintet

    The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet, 1965-68 examines six studio recordings—E.S.P., Miles Smiles, Sorcerer, Nefertiti, Miles in the Sky, and Filles de Kilimanjaro—of the Miles Davis “second quintet.” The group featured Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone), Herbie Hancock (piano and keyboards), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums).

    It is difficult to overstate the importance of this group, both as an ensemble and as a collection of individual players and composers, to the evolution and current state of jazz, as well as to other aspects of contemporary popular music. From a strictly personal perspective, when I think of the most significant jazz recordings and groups in the last fifty years, the first two that come to my mind, are the John Coltrane quartet and this version of the Miles Davis quintet.

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    Miles is Miles—throughout his career restlessly and relentlessly pushing himself and everyone else through extensive changes in approaches to jazz soloing, band leading, and composing. Hancock and Shorter, both as players and composers, have been major forces and continue to move music forward in numerous ways; Carter has long been one of jazz’s top bassists and bandleaders; and Williams helped shape modern jazz drumming.

    Keith Waters, in his understated and self-effacing fashion, sets out his goals in his preface: “The analyses presented here…merely explore ideas that may be of particular interest to jazz musicians, listeners, writers, historians, and analysts, present features of the music that I think are audible but may not be immediately apparent, and consider ways in which these recordings broached or broke with jazz traditions”. These are anything but modest goals, considering the intricate, elusively mysterious, and even magical quality of these recordings—certainly among the most important records in jazz.


    Waters listens to the music from an analyst’s point of view of course, but also as an experienced jazz pianist. This enables him to make fascinating and illuminating observations regarding performance-oriented issues, such as the form being lost and found during solos, incorrect entrances, and clashing chords. These touches give us a more direct connection with the music and the musicians and add spice to the analyses.

    Besides his clearly insightful listening, the primary sources for the analyses are Waters’s effective and extensive transcriptions of the compositions and improvisations (there are 63 musical examples). Waters also cites a broad cross-section of literature about the quintet, its members, and these compositions, as well as larger issues in jazz studies. He also refers extensively to Library of Congress sources (Wayne Shorter’s copyright deposits), extant lead sheets, and interviews.

    This is an extremely thorough, in-depth, and insightful analytical study. It is a major addition to the field of jazz studies for a variety of reasons. First, it gives us minutely detailed and skillful analyses of these wonderful and innovative recordings. These sessions present essential compositions from the band members, including of course Wayne Shorter, one of jazz’s great composers—particularly for small group writing—and Herbie Hancock.

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    Waters also puts forth his notion of how to analyze jazz solos, an area still in its relative infancy and rife with slippery slopes. He also makes a successful foray into issues of group interaction, an area that has drawn much attention in the field of jazz studies, including writings by Ingrid Monson, Paul Berliner, and Robert Hodson.

    Perhaps most importantly, while employing his analytical and theoretical skills and drawing on the strengths, vocabulary, and methodology of the field of music theory, Waters also manages to convey how jazz musicians generally think and speak about music without feeling the necessity to contextualize these assumptions within traditional music theory models. For example, he unapologetically speaks of an essential element in jazz, the use of complex and colorful chords with chord tones above the seventh.

    These chords and chord tones can be manipulated in innumerable ways and are part of the standard jazz harmonic vocabulary; they do not need explaining or rationalizing, or, for that matter, resolving. For example,
    rather than conceiving of the ninth as a consonant chord tone that has a myriad of voice-leading possibilities, the music theory orthodoxy at times imposes its traditional tonal approach on jazz by referring to this tone as a dissonance in need of resolution. Waters has brought in the practitioner’s perspective, and feel that this is an important and much-needed advance in the field of jazz studies and, more specifically, music theory and analysis as it relates to jazz.

    This approach more clearly articulates composers’ and players’ practical application of complex chords. Jazz and pop scholarship—the two often tend to intertwine—is a relatively young field that is rapidly gaining theoretical maturity.

    Within it, from a gross standpoint, are two streams, cultural and analytical. In his preface, Waters speaks to his perception of such a split in the jazz community: “Jazz studies has profited considerably by recent intersections with cultural studies… Yet occasionally such studies critique other approaches that allow more detailed views of musical organization, structure, and theorizing about them”.

    Waters seems to be heading off in advance what he perceives to be unnecessary criticism of his approach.

    Though he has created theoretical models, such as the six levels of form in improvisation, Waters explicitly stakes out ground for “analysis for analysis’s sake,” independently of these models. And while this book is firmly rooted in the music theory world, it also reaches well beyond it, speaking to all jazz musicians regardless of training or familiarity with music theory literature and vocabulary.

    Only occasionally are there analyses employing traditional music theory models that are a slight stretch in this context. For example, at times his claims of long-range voice-leading maneuvers over the course of a solo do not reflect the aural effect as I perceive it and seem to imply an intention that I do not believe is present.

    Waters looks at these recordings holistically—examining the overall forms,
    including the improvisations—and then closely analyzes both the head and improvisations for issues such as harmonic content, motive (or what he calls “a rather general and loose notion of motive” [xiv]), form, and meter (including hypermeter), bringing a unique analytical perspective to each. Some analysts have focused on particular solos, while others concentrate on formal compositional issues; Waters, on the other hand, examines an admirably broad range of analytical topics.

    He seems most comfortable when writing about Hancock’s and Shorter’s compositional and improvisational strategies. He also examines Miles’s contributions, of course, but the trumpeter’s overall presence as a player and bandleader should feel much larger than it does in the book.

    Williams’s contributions, while acknowledged as vast, are sorely overlooked here. Even without transcriptions—a drastic omission by the author’s own admission— the drummer’s role could have been examined in much more detail. While more attention is paid to Carter than to Williams, the bassist’s presence here is also much smaller than I would expect or hope.

    Hancock’s role is certainly emphasized, which is understandable given Waters’s inclinations and the pianist’s pivotal role in the band. Clearly, Waters has chosen to focus on the issues that are important to him, but these biases are big issues for me. In my opinion, Miles is the most important member of this group on many levels, and Williams is next in line.

    So obviously we have a different perspective. After the preface, the book is logically and neatly divided into eight chapters. The first examines the quintet itself, its studio processes and personnel. Chapter 2 gives an extremely detailed description of analytical techniques employed throughout the book. Chapters 3 to 6 examine one album each—E.S.P., Miles Smiles, Sorcerer, and Nefertiti—while chapter 7 tackles Miles in the Sky and Filles de Kilimanjaro. The final chapter examines the legacies of the quintet.

    Chapter 1 contextualizes the group, which Waters position as a link between hard bop practices and the avant-garde. Regarding the group’s compositional impact, Waters states, “The compositions themselves represent a significant contribution to the jazz repertory, and their innovations form a cornerstone of contemporary jazz composition”.

    He substantiates this claim by discussing elements such as chord types employed, chord successions, non-functional progressions, motivic development, and a determined deviation from standard forms.

    Waters also introduces the studio processes of the band, which play an important role throughout the book and add a much-appreciated practical point of view. In the process, Waters debunks Miles’s reputation as a “one-take” artist by closely examining alternate takes. Waters provides detailed discussions of the evolution of each work through the rehearsal process, including comparisons between the recordings and Shorter’s lead sheets, and builds upon what we generally know of these recordings from writers such as Todd Coolman, Jack Chambers, Ian Carr, and John Szwed.

    Chapter 2 provides a detailed overview of the analytical strategies employed throughout the book, and Waters takes advantage of this opportunity to address major issues in jazz analysis. For example, he tackles the ambiguous term “modal jazz” and lays out various complexities and approaches to the style, in relation to both Miles’s recordings and jazz more generally. After historically contextualizing the style, Waters analyzes the quintet’s use of “modal harmony” in depth, as well the members’ approach to mode/scale improvisation.

    Motivic analysis plays a major role in Waters’s analyses of both the compositions and the solos. He states that he examines motivic development less to find cohesion and unity in improvisations than to provide “ways to help hear how these players worked out individual ideas during the flow of improvisation”. His analyses, however, often feel more like a discussion of a composition, highlighting the difficulty of analyzing improvisational material.

    After a brief contextualization, he parses the discussion into three basic areas: the use of motivic cells, the interaction of motivic material between players, and the expansion of motivic material. Another major methodology employed by Waters examines rhythm and phrase structure to discuss meter, hypermeter, and metrical conflict in improvisation.

    Waters speaks of four basic methods here: elasticizing harmonic rhythm, the shifting of accents to create metrical ambiguity, metrical conflict, and the creation of formal ambiguity through the blurring of formal divisions.
    This analytical introduction concludes with Waters’s theory of form in improvisation, which looms large throughout this study.

    He has created this useful system to categorize various approaches to “free” improvisation and “provide a more nuanced view of formal solutions and attitudes in the 1960s, one that more richly describes formal practice and that more closely acknowledges the band’s notion of ‘controlled freedom’”.

    He has classified levels of form in improvisation, ranging from Level 3—where the rhythm section and soloist preserve hypermeter, meter, pulse, harmonic progression, and harmonic rhythm from the head—to Level 0, where the soloist and rhythm section essentially abandon these elements (Levels 1 and 2 are subdivided to make six levels altogether).

    In the following chapters, which examine the albums chronologically, Waters introduces each album as a whole and then proceeds to each composition. After an introduction to the track, he generally chooses one or two primary analytical areas to focus on. One of the great strengths of the book is that he manages to cover an extensive range of issues while also employing a wide array of analytical techniques.

    Each analysis is deep and detailed and allows—indeed requires—intense study. Throughout, Waters contextualizes the compositions, giving us a feel for the composers’ styles and compositional evolution, as well the group’s evolving compositional approach. For example, Waters points out that Hancock’s “Little One,” from E.S.P., is an important composition for the group harmonically, as the pianist explores shifting harmonies over bass pedal points, a significant stylistic element for Hancock and the group. Waters does not contextualize the players’ improvisations as effectively, however, and this is a rich avenue for further study.

    Waters does, however, provide a model for this technique in an analysis of Shorter’s solo on “Pinocchio”. Hancock’s and Shorter’s harmonic conceptions were essential to the character of these recordings, as well as to the future of jazz, and in his discussion of “Little One” Waters provides valuable insight into Hancock’s harmonic sensibilities as a
    composer.

    Loosely and freely borrowing from a Schenkerian perspective, Waters examines the composition’s bass line from a large-scale perspective. He then discusses the tune’s intensely colorful chromatic progressions in close detail from a mode/scale perspective, pointing out that the progressions generally rely upon principles of tritone substitutions but in a fascinating permutation.

    For this recording, however, Waters primarily examines Miles’s solo, initially discussing his handling of a Fsus4 chord in terms of scales and modes. While Shorter and Hancock avoid the third in their solos, “Davis’s solo offers a study in how he negotiates and reevaluates that harmony in real time over the course of his three choruses. It suggests a remarkably rapid learning curve in adapting to that harmony, and altering the harmonic implications of the opening 4 bars in each chorus”. This is an engaging examination of a soloist’s thought process and his journey through an improvisation.

    Waters also uses this solo to make an important observation regarding the limitations of mode/scale analysis: “Davis seems unconcerned with careful negotiations of each individual harmony. Instead, the solo attains much of its expressive power through memorable and malleable motives”. Waters’s discussion of Miles’s use of motives is perceptive and detailed, yet I feel he does not quite manage to convey the actual character of the solo. I found myself longing for more adjectival writing that attempts to express the beauty, excitement, and other intangibles that make a solo, soloist, or composition special.

    Waters has shown himself quite capable of doing so, but seems a bit reticent in this regard. For example, in this solo, I find myself completely enthralled by Miles’s careful and extremely colorful pitch choices as he floats over this knotty and complicated harmonic progression, though it clearly presents him with a bit of difficulty. Also, his ability to make the strange melody he creates seem natural and melodic— almost as if he is playing “Bye, Bye Blackbird”—is essential to his style and appeal.

    Waters alludes to this when he states, “Davis seems uninterested in negotiating and expressing each harmony carefully…”, but he does not capture Miles in the analysis as I hear him. Davis’s lyrical quality and melodic gift are not discussed, nor is the enigmatic yet unmistakable emotional content of his work. So again, Davis’s impact on this music is not nearly as significant in Waters’s overall analysis as I feel it deserves to be.

    Thankfully Waters does not support the wildly faulty and often-discussed notion that Miles was a limited trumpet player technically. But Waters also says little to refute this idea. Davis in fact became a wonderful player, as evidenced by his magnificent work as featured melodist and soloist on studio recordings such as Birth of the Cool and the albums with arranger Gil Evans. Additionally, on the recordings discussed in this book, his solos are, in my listening, the most direct and musically and emotionally compelling. Unfortunately, Waters’s writing does not convey Miles’s brilliance, his level of musicianship, or the sound that has captivated
    me for so many years.

    This does not apply to Hancock’s playing, however, and Waters’s analysis of Hancock’s “Madness” from Nefertiti is a prime example. The CD set of the complete studio recordings of the quintet includes alternate takes that give us added insight into the workings of this group, and for “Madness” there is also a rehearsal take.

    For the rehearsal, they play the tune as a slow waltz in two sections—evidently Hancock’s original conception of the piece—while the released take and alternate takes are in a quick 4/4 with only one section.
    After a brief discussion of the form, Waters analyzes the head of the released take, which consists of six chords/harmonies, all rich and colorful. The fifth, however, cannot be labeled with a traditional chord name, and Waters solves this dilemma by naming it the “Madness” chord (he does this elsewhere with the “Riot” chord, also on Nefertiti). The “Madness” chord consists of a B in the bass, left-hand pitches A3-C4-Eb-Ab, and right-hand pitches B-D-D#-E/Fb.

    Naming the chord is only the first problem, and Waters goes on to relate it to doubly diminished harmonies (simultaneous diminished seventh chords a half step apart) used by Hancock. This proves problematic, as he points out, because the chord, combined with the six-note melody stated by the horns, employs eleven of the twelve chromatic pitches.

    Though all of Waters’s analyses are cogent and insightful, I cannot help but feel that he is most at home when discussing Hancock’s playing. He offers a detailed analysis of Hancock’s “Madness” solo, declaring it “an improvisational tour de force.” I greatly appreciate Waters’s overview of what makes this solo so exceptional.

    He discusses an array of issues such as group interaction, and the freedom
    from meter and hypermeter while maintaining a sense of pulse (Level 1 in his scheme of form in improvisation). Waters then details Hancock’s navigation through three cycles of the six-chord progression, focusing on his use of the diminished scale (octatonic collection).

    Fortunately, in this solo analysis, Waters has a brief yet solid section that addresses the rhythm section’s improvisational strategies, which are crucial to this tune. In this case, however, a more thorough analysis of the drums and bass would be quite illustrative and helpful in conjunction with the harmonic analysis of Hancock’s solo. It would also help explore more deeply the “controlled freedom” that this group was so intently developing. In the case of Williams, for example, a discussion of his cymbal patterns (a crucial element in his playing and influence)—
    as well as the dynamics, colors and orchestration aspects of the drum kit—would have proved useful.

    This is another important area for future study. Waters’s approach to “Pinocchio,” also from Nefertiti, shows off another of his analytical strengths—his insight into Wayne Shorter’s compositional style, including
    contextualization of his composing and playing in relation to his past work.

    In chapter 2, Waters discusses Shorter’s use of motivic expansion in his solo on “Orbits,” from Miles Smiles, and notes that in “Pinocchio” these principles carried over into his composing. In the analysis of “Pinocchio” he traces the main motive as it expands throughout its three statements while also transforming harmonically, and contrasts this with Shorter’s earlier reliance upon “motives that recur at regular 2-bar intervals”.

    Shorter’s solo on “Pinocchio” is then parsed into five sections, each introducing new motivic material. Waters also points out connections between these sections, stating for example that “As Shorter initiates new motivic ideas every 8 bars, the pitch material at Sections 3 and 4 emanates from the pitches stated just previously.

    This illustrates a compelling improvisational tactic in which events flow out of preceding material and suggests that soloists establish musical relationships and continuity not only from overt motivic correspondences, but also from pitch relationships that then launch new motivic ideas”. While Waters makes a strong argument for the tactic in this particular case, further exploration is needed to support his broader claim that it is a feature in other soloists’ improvisations.

    As he does elsewhere, Waters points out discrepancies between The Real Book (the most prominent “fake book” used by musicians) and the recording, noting that some previous analyses have relied on incorrect lead sheets. In a quick but fascinating examination, he adds that while the fake book changes appear to be more tonally functional at first, the actual changes on the recording are actually more functional upon closer inspection. His analysis is steeped in both the functional harmony and jazz tradition, and his language is understandable to anyone with either theoretical or practical experience—a rare combination in works of this sort.

    He manages to blend his jazz musicianship and his analytical chops in an unusually effective manner—another indication of the value of this book as it both corrects and builds upon past work on this material.

    The Studio Recordings of the Miles Davis Quintet, 1965-68 advances the field of jazz analysis through its thoroughness and analytical insight, applying creative approaches to explain music that has often seemed structurally opaque and mysterious and that has often been discussed only in superlatives. This study has few counterparts for comparison and stands in a rather lonely position in the world of contemporary jazz analysis.

    ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

    BENJAMIN BIERMAN is a composer, trumpeter, bandleader, and assistant professor at John Jay College, CUNY. He has published articles in Jazz Perspectives and American Music Review, and has contributed essays to the book Pop- Culture Pedagogy in the Music Classroom as well as the forthcoming The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington.

    Download Miles Davis’ sheet music and play along books from our Library.

    Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue (Full Album)

    00:00 – So What 12:16 – Freddie Freeloader 22:03 – Blue in Green 27:42 – All Blues 39:15 – Flamenco Sketches

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    “Kind of Blue” is a studio album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, released on August 17, 1959, by Columbia Records. Recording sessions for the album took place at Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York City on March 2 and April 22, 1959. The sessions featured Davis’s ensemble sextet, with pianist Bill Evans, drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Paul Chambers, and saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley.

    After the entry of Evans into his sextet, Davis followed up on the modal experimentations of Milestones (1958) by basing Kind of Blue entirely on modality, in contrast to his earlier work with the hard bop style of jazz. Though precise figures have been disputed, Kind of Blue has been described by many music writers not only as Davis’s best-selling album, but as the best-selling jazz record of all time.

    On October 7, 2008, it was certified quadruple platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It has been regarded by many critics as the greatest jazz album of all time and Davis’s masterpiece.

    The album’s influence on music, including jazz, rock, and classical music, has led music writers to acknowledge it as one of the most influential albums ever made. In 2002, it was one of fifty recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. In 2003, the album was ranked number 12 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

    This book will be available from our Library as from January, 2022.

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    Did you know? Bach meets The Beatles

    Did The Beatles get inspired by J.S. Bach?

    Did The Beatles get inspired by J.S. Bach?

    The English rock band The Beatles, formed in Liverpool in 1960, is widely considered the most influential band of all time. Led by songwriters Lennon and McCartney, the band was part of 1960s counterculture and inspired an international fan frenzy called “Beatlemania.” They stormed the United States pop market in what was dubbed the “British Invasion” and enjoyed huge commercial success.

    The Beatles essentially wrote simple songs emerging from folklore roots. Although primarily rooted in contemporary rock ’n roll, they absorbed different influences and styles, “having been inspired by everything, from Negro blues to Magyar dances.”

    And as a scholar writes, “they borrowed here and there with unabashed enthusiasm and made it all their own.” And while they considered “Beethoven a con, just like we are now,” Paul McCartney once said “Bach was always one of our favorite composers.”

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    Paul and John sang in the church choirs of St. Peter and St. Barnabas in Liverpool, but none of the Beatles could read music. They certainly had no training in classical music and/or on an instrument. That particular aspect was introduced and fostered by their mentor and producer George Martin (1926-2016), a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music. Martin had studied composition, conducting and orchestration, music theory, harmony and counterpoint, and he usually arranged the songs of the band.

    Martin strongly denied that he was the real creative genius behind the Beatles. On the contrary, he insisted, “I worked only to their original designs and to their specific requests, even to details of arrangements which they sang to me and which I often transcribed on the spot in the studio.” George Martin was recurrently called the “Fifth Beatle,” and classical influences in the band’s music should essentially be credited to him.

    Prior to working with The Beatles, Martin had worked at Parlophone, a branch of EMI, as a producer of classical and baroque records. Tellingly, he always called “classical music his first love.” Martin himself dabbled in composition, and he orchestrated a number of Bach works in the manner of Leopold Stokowski. In addition, he worked traces of Bach into several Beatles songs, and that included the megahit “Yesterday.”

    Paul McCartney wrote the melody and chord progression, but it was Martin’s idea to accompany the song with a string quartet. Sir Paul remembers, “that on that session, George explained to me how Bach would have voiced it in a choral voicing or a quartet voicing. And he’d say, ‘This would be the way Bach would do it’.”

    Paul also remembered “the original inspiration for “Blackbird” was from a well-known piece by Bach, which I never know the title of, which George and I had learned to play at an early age…we felt that we had a lot in common with Bach. For some reason, we thought his music was very similar to ours.” That particular famous Bach tune, transformed and transposed in “Blackbird,” turns out to be the “Bourrée” from the Lute Suite in E minor, BWV 996.

    beatles sheet music pdf

    The Beatles: “Blackbird” (Studio Version 1968)

    After Paul McCartney listened to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 on a television program, he had the idea of incorporating the high trumpet sound into one of his songs. “Penny Lane” is a nostalgic celebration of his childhood in Liverpool, and the second part of the song features a tune played by the piccolo trumpet.

    The song “All you Need is Love” sports a coda by George Martin. The band gave Martin permission to write whatever he wanted, telling him “Put together any tunes you fancy, and just play it out like that.” As such, Martin mingled together the melodies of “Greensleeves,” “In the Mood,” and Bach’s 2-part Invention No. 8 in F Major. A scholar writes, “despite the role of a favorite composer that Bach allegedly played for The Beatles, there are only a few concrete traces in their work, and most of them lead directly or indirectly back to the “Fifth Beatle” George Martin.

    Download all the Beatles’ song from our Library.

    Bach meets the Beatles – Variations in the style of Bach – “All you need is love” John Bayless, piano

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    Musical Analysis Did you know?

    APPROACHING PIAZZOLLA’S MUSIC: an analysis of his music and composition styles (2/2)

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    APPROACHING PIAZZOLLA’S MUSIC: an analysis of his music and composition styles (2/2)

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    Milonga del ángel

    As for Soledad, Milonga del ángel has the milonga rhythm as a basis more or less throughout the entire piece. Except for the middle section, the primary melody is repeatedly presented.

    Consequently, the element that is processed is not the melody; instead, it is of more interest to study the contexts of which the melody is placed.

    piazzolla sheet music

    The articulations between the sections are characterised by a continuous flow, and there is no dominant chord that prepare for their arrival; however, the sections are still smoothly merged.

    The first primary section (P) establishes the harmonic environment and presents the primary melody twice. Furthermore, the secondary section (S) starts with modulating sequences and then continues with a part that is reminiscent of P. The last section is more or less a recurrence of the first section, although with a more refined environment. As with Soledad, it
    is possible to read the large scale structure as an ABA structure. In fact, these two milongas are rather similar in large and middle scales respectively.

    In the introduction (O), the motivic chord gesture that opens every subsection, except for T and 2T, is presented. Letting this gesture end the O subsection smoothly merges the O and P subsections; thus, the subsections overlap each other.

    The changes of key areas between subsections enter without fifth motions in the bass line. Instead, the changes are characterized by ascending chromatic motion. Either it is only the melody that is moving, or it is both the melody and the bass line. The bass line’s gesture is probably derived from the arrastre gesture and therefore I define this kind of key change for as ‘change of key area by arrastre’.

    With a single bar gesture as basis, the primary melody is present almost the entire piece through. While preparing for the melody’s arrival by establishing an atmosphere, the introduction also presents a motivic gesture that is frequently recurrent throughout the piece.

    In P and P2, the same process continues, though in different keys, and in P1 and P3 it is slightly accustomed. Remains of the primary melody is also to be found in the S(P) subsection. Just like in Soledad, there is a large amount of ‘jazzy’ II-V-I chord progressions in minor mode; altered fifths and ninths are used frequently. Except for T and 2T, the bass line is pending, moving in fifths or moving in descending motion. In the following illustration, notice how the usage of reinterpretation of the chord in bar four (C#7b9/B to E13b9no1/B) enables an immediate transfer to Am.

    Just as in Libertango, the melody is moving in triads when the bass line is pending; it seems like the melody is active when the bass line is passive, and the melody is passive when the bass line is active. As the illustration shows, the melody is a descending motion from the second to the fifth note in the scale. Linked together with an arppegio, the structural motive
    (D B A G F#) is presented at the beginning and at the end.

    Unlike the other subsections, T is a more rhythmical passage where two tresillo rhythms and the mordent rhythm confront each other in sequences. P1 and S(P) may be smoothly merged without T though, especially since they end with the same note. Perhaps it is not satisfying defining this passage as a transition; hence, it might rather be defined as an excursion or as sequenced tonicizations (to make it more graphically, I have excluded the chords in the illustration).

    The similiarities between Soledad and Milonga del ángel are quite recognisable: e.g. the ‘jazzy’ chords; frequent mordents; accompaniment gestures; lyrical melody; and naturally the milonga rhythm that saturates them. A major disparity though, is the way the change of key areas are realised; in Soledad by descending chromatic motion with pedal, and in Milonga del ángel by ascending chromatic motion. In the latter case though, the gesture is implemented just before the new key arrives; in the former case, there is a preparation that lasts for several bars and it is not that clear where the new key enters.

    Just as Soledad, Milonga del ángel has an ABA-structure and with the milonga rhythm as basis it is characterised by long note values, ‘jazzy’ chord progressions and change of key area by arrastre. Throughout the piece, the primary melody is located in different environments regarding harmony, tempo and instrumentation.

    Fuga y misterio

    In the same manner as for Fugata, I prefer to analyse Fuga y misterio as three sections: fugue exposition; middle section with melody and accompaniment; and a closing coda-section, which differs from the first two sections.

    Covering half the piece, the first section (P) is a fugue exposition in four parts, which through a large-scale fifth motion changes key from E-minor to G-minor.

    The secondary section (S) presents a contrasting theme that is accompanied by a chord progression that is derived from the fugue theme. Leading back to the primary theme, this section reveals the chord progression that has been hinted in the exposition. The last section (K) is a slow cantabile passage where a new melody theme is presented. While the fugue exposition (P) has a polyphonic texture, the other sections have a texture of ‘melody and accompaniment’. Though every section is in minor, the two first sections are a little ‘edgier’ due to the augmented fourth (or the jazz blue note) that is exposed already from the beginning. The large-scale structure can be read as an ABC-structure.

    In the fugue exposition, which is characterized by a rhythmical contrapuntal texture, there are strong accented rhythms. Short note values are predominating. Just as in Fugata, the most frequent surface rhythm of the fugue theme is tresillo 1. The key change between these subsections is realized by transforming the tonic chord into a dominant (e.g Em E7 Am).

    Thus, unlike the exposition in Fugata, there is no preparation of the new dominant. In the following illustration, notice how the last bar of the fugue theme is a diminished variation of the two first bars.

    Reaching G-minor, the exposition is accomplished and the key of the secondary subsections (Em) is introduced without preparation; the only gesture that indicates E-minor is an ascending diatonic bass line (B C# D#). With the marcato base as a basis, the secondary subsection presents a contrasting melody that is characterized by mordents and harmonic
    intervals such as the diminished 10th and the added 11th, which serves as top notes in chords.

    The last secondary subsection is a recurrence of the fugue theme, presented in a homophonic environment though. As pointed out earlier, the last subsection (K) is a cantabile passage that differs quite a lot from the other passages. It is slower, have longer note values, and it is the
    first time in the piece that there is a descending bass line in crotchets present.

    The fugue exposition is rather similar to the one in Fugata, especially regarding the treatment of gestures, counterpoint and change of key areas; it is rather clear to see Piazzolla’s influences from the inventions of Bach. Notice also how the usage of instrumental rubato automatically implies that tresillo rhythms are accented.

    The melody has typically stepwise motion or motion as skips, which reaches chord notes.

    Similar to Fugata, this applies to all fugue parts. The most common intervals in parallel motion are thirds and sixths. In contrast to Fugata’s chord progression, which is based on a descending bass line, the chord progression in Fuga y misterio is instead based on II-V-I progressions. With a cycle of fifth as a basis, the II-V-I sequences implies tonicization; Bm-E7-Am Am-D7-G instead of E7-Am-D7-G.72 The first subsection of S is a more homophonic passage where the secondary melody is harmonized with block technique.

    As pointed out earlier, the chord progressions are rather similar to the progressions in the exposition’s first eight bars, though with altered chords similar to the ‘jazzy’ one’s used in Soledad and Milonga del ángel. In the first four bars, which are rather static due to its harmony based on primary chords, the low notes in the bass line is reached through octave leaps. This implies an accentuation that enhances the static state. As in e.g. Fuga, there are also several percussive gestures produced by dissonant chords.

    Due to its different style regarding tempo, harmony and melody, the last subsection has a completely different character. The most significant characteristics are the descending bass line and the 9-8 appoggiaturas that are exposed in the melody. Implemented as sequences, the chord progression is rather similar to the one that is to be found in the primary subsection of Soledad.

    The very last bars are a descending chromatic gesture presented by diminished seventh chords, though with the tonic pedal as bass note. Ending with a B7b9 (without root note though), these last four bars functions as codetta. The gesture may be regarded as a T-DD-s progression, which is similar to the motivic chord gesture in Libertango.

    Fuga y misterio has a structure similar to the one found in Fugata: A fugue exposition as a start; melody and accompaniment in the middle; and a closing section that is rather different than the other two. There is no key change between sections (but the key changes within sections though), and the harmony is characterized by chord progressions with primary chords
    and fifth motions by tonicization sequences.

    Summary

    This chapter will give emphasize techniques and musical events that are, in a general perspective, mutual to the compositions that have been analysed. As suggested of LaRue, I have chosen to categorise the characteristics of Piazzolla’s music that I have found into four categories: harmony; melody; rhythm; and structure (I prefer using structure as a category instead of growth). The sketches and the tables are not exact rules of how Piazzolla’s music functions; they are rather to regard as suggestions how to relate to his composition style.

    The change of key areas may be categorised into two main categories: maintaining the key or entering a new key. As pointed out in chapter 1.5, LaRue defines this as ornamental modulation and structural modulation respectively. The techniques, which are to be found in both categories above, I define as ‘tonicization’ and ‘descending chromatics with pedal’.
    Thus, they are used for both purposes. The following illustration shows my suggestion on how to regard the tonicization technique.

    The latter one is concerning the relation between a descending chromatic motion and its pedal accompaniment in the end of subsection. Unlike the tonicization technique, this procedure does not include any intermediate tonic states; there is either no change of key area at all, or the passage has the aim to modulate. It seems like when a new key is going to be established the pedal is fading out before the new dominant chord (this is not the case in the K-section of Fugata though). When the key is maintained the pedal keeps on going, and it seems like it frequently has a role of a dominant. In its simplicity, it may be illustrated as follows:

    Additionally, Piazzolla also changes key without preparation by implementing the arrastre gesture74 (as described in Milonga del ángel). As pointed out in Soledad, two techniques are sometimes combined.
    There are three characteristics regarding melody that I want to point out. The first one I define as ‘ostinato gestures’, which are rhythmical patterns based on tresillo rhythm 4 and 7.

    Frequently subordinated the main melody though, they contribute to the melodic tension by exposing characteristic intervals (e.g chord notes like b9, #5 and 13).

    The second one, which describes the relation between the top voice and the bass line, I have chosen to define as ‘uniform ambitus’. It seems like when the bass line is pending, the top voice has a more active role; it moves in arpeggios and repeatedly presents an immanent chord progression. Consequently, when the bass line is more active the melody’s ambitus decreases.

    The third characteristic regarding melody is the melodic motion. Applicable in small dimensions, when descending, the melody tends to have a stepwise, often chromatic, motion.

    Furthermore, when ascending it tends to move in leaps or in arpeggios; consequently, there are also neighbor notes implicated.

    Two common large-scale structures that the analysed pieces share are the ABA-structure and the ABC-structure; ABA in the milongas, and ABC in the fugues.

    As pointed out earlier, Piazzolla freely uses the tresillo rhythm and its shifts. In addition to the original rhythm, which is the most common, it seems like the second, the fourth and the seventh shift are the most common rhythms that are based on the tresillo. Particularly clear in
    Fugata, the tresillo rhythm is also to be found in large-scale patterns. In this piece, the tresillo rhythm is carefully distributed which makes the ABC-structure mathematically equal to 3:3:2.

    Piazzolla’s sheet music available for download from our Library.

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    APPROACHING PIAZZOLLA’S MUSIC: an analysis of his music and composition styles (1)

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    Libertango (Piano solo) – Astor Piazzolla con partitura (sheet music)

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    APPROACHING PIAZZOLLA’S MUSIC: an analysis of his music and composition styles (1/2)

    Table of Contents

      APPROACHING PIAZZOLLA’S MUSIC: an analysis of his music and composition styles (1/2)

      1. Astor Piazzolla. Introduction.

      Astor Piazzolla was born 1921 in Mar del plata, a town south of Buenos Aires, where he lived his first two years. Due to various circumstances, his family moved to New York where Astor spent most of his childhood. His parents, who had emigrated from Italy, worked hard for their living in New York. Vicente, Astor’s father, loved the traditional tango music of Argentina and when Astor was eight years old, hoping that his son someday would be a tango musician, he gave him a bandoneon1 for his birthday. Astor did not fancy the traditional tango at all, but he enjoyed classical music though.

      One day he heard someone of the neighbours practicing the piano; a concert pianist had moved into an apartment and was now practising music that fascinated Astor:

      “At that age I didn’t know who Bach was, but I felt as if I had been hypnotized. It is one of the great mysteries of my life. I don’t know if it was Johann Sebastian Bach or one of his sons. I believe I have bought all Bach’s recorded works, but I could never find that music again. That pianist practiced nine hours a day: three hours of technique in the morning, three hours of Bach in the afternoon, and three at night, trying out repertoire for his concerts. He was Hungarian. His name was Béla Wilda, and soon he became my teacher.”

      As his teacher, Béla Wilda introduced classical music in Astor’s life and he helped out adapting Bach’s music to the bandoneon. Occasionally, Astor played bandoneon at school and soon he became popular; he had a great talent and playing the bandoneon was quite rare in New York back then. At this time he met the famous actor and tango singer Carlos Gardel, and because of his talent, he began to accompany Gardel at some presentations.

      Astor learned some tangos and he also participated in a Gardel movie. In 1936 the Piazzolla family moved back to Mar del plata and at this time Astor hade a new great musical discovery; it was a tango orchestra he heard on the radio. This inspired him deeply and in 1938 he moves, all by him self, to Buenos Aires to be a tango musician. After some years of playing in different tango orchestras he starts playing in one of the most coveted orchestra; the orchestra of Anibal Troilo. After a while Astor become the arranger of the orchestra and in the meantime he is studying composition for Alberto Ginastera.

      In the late 40’s Astor starts his own orchestra and by impulses from the classical music he develops his own style. All the while he continues to study composition and he also studies piano and orchestra conducting, and in 1953 he wins first prize in a composition contest that takes him to a one-year trip to Paris.

      With the famous pedagogue Nadia Boulangier as teacher he is studying counterpoint, harmony, and pastiche composition. She told him that everything he brought to her was well done but she couldn’t find the true Piazzolla in his works. Astor had not told her that he was a tango musician; knowing her poise in the world of classical music made him ashamed of his past:

      “Nadia looked into my eyes and asked me to play one of my tangos at the piano. So I confessed to her that I played the bandoneon; I told her she shouldn’t expect a good piano player because I wasn’t. She insisted, ”It doesn’t matter, Astor, play your tango.” And I started out with ”Triunfal”. When I finished, Nadia took my hands in hers and with that english of hers, so sweet, she said, ”Astor, this is beautiful. I like it a lot. Here is the true Piazzolla – do not ever leave him.” It was the great revelation of my musical life.”

      This was the great break point for him, and when returned from his study period with Nadia Boulangier in Paris he formed his Buenos Aires Octet, and it was at this time he started to develop his own composition style for real. By growing up in New York and Buenos Aires, he was influenced by the Blues and the Tango. As a result, combining this with inspiration from Bach (whose inventions he learned from Belá Wilda) and Stravinsky, he led the tango into a new era. With influences from classical music Piazzolla used techniques that were not traditional in tango music. He applied a contrapuntal way of thinking and expanded the formal structures of tango music by processing thematic material.

      From Bach’s legacy for example, he used the fugue technique, layered voices, sequences and pedal lines as compositional tools. Influenced by Bartok, Stravinsky and Ravel, he applied extended harmonies and orchestration techniques that were not in traditional tango music.7 Piazzolla collaborated with various ensembles where he explored the expression of his style, and the musicians he worked with often contributed their personal performance style. These contributions turn out to be significant components of Piazzolla’s style.

      2. Some characteristics of Piazzolla’s style

      According to Quin Link, an essential rhythmic pattern that became Piazzolla’s hallmark is the tresillo. The basic structure of this rhythm is 3+3+2 and it originates from the song tradition milonga canción where it has 3+1+2+2 as structure. The latter one is also known as the milonga rhythm, the habanera rhythm, or the rumba rhythm. The surface rhythm in Piazzolla’s music is often accentuated with the tresillo or its variants obtained by shifts. By shifting it in stages eight various rhythms is created where some of them are more common than others. Furthermore, these rhythmic cells can be paired together across two or more measures and form a 2:3 feeling, for instance 133333.

      As expected, several of the characteristics in this style are derived from the traditional tango. Some of them, like the tresillo, are more frequent than others. One that is applied repeatedly as well is the marcato technique. It is a melody line in steady crotchets, typically played by the piano and the double bass. The marcato technique provides a foundation in rhythmic terms.

      However, it also has an important harmonic function similar to the walking bass line in jazz. Additionally, an essential rhythmical pattern in the idiom is the arrastre, which is an upbeat gesture that originates from when the bandoneon opens its bellows before a downbeat. The arrastre is imitated by the piano as an ascending scale and by the strings as a slide.2 To resemble a percussive effect, the piano’s arrastre is performed as an indefinite series of notes.

      Astor Piazzolla sheet music partitura

      Piazzolla applied the percussive gestures that had been common in traditional tango in his compositions. Effects like: lija(sandpaper); golpe(knock); látigo(whip); perro(dog); and tambor(snare drum) were often performed by the violin and occur frequently in his style. One further percussive technique is the strappato that often is played by the double base, and the strongly accented rhythmical patterns that the piano often reproduces in a percussive way.

      In Instrumental Rubato and Phrase Structure in Astor Piazzolla’s Music, Kutnowski analyses the phrase structure in Piazzolla’s music, and detects a technique that he defines as instrumental rubato. It concerns the rhythmic transformations a melody endures when it rushes towards the end of a phrase faster than required or expected. He argues that this technique origins from the song tradition in tango, in particular from the singer Carlos Gardel.

      The rubato was usually improvised by the singer. Consequently, when played simultaneously by several instruments, it had to be notated in the score. Furthermore, Kutnowski describes the phrase structure in Piazzolla’s music as an overlapping technique , where the last measure of a phrase at the same time is the first measure of the next phrase. Additionally, he argues that it creates a feeling of continuity.

      3. Libertango. Analysis.

      Published in 1974, Libertango is probably one of the most well known compositions of Piazzolla’s voluminous music catalogue. Many artists have recorded it; Gracie Jones, for instance, had a successful hit with it in the eighties (with lyrics in English) and YoYo Ma played it on his Grammy Award winning album Soul of the tango.

      There are many versions of this piece, however, I have chosen to analyse the arrangement that I believe represent the most common one. Libertango is a piece in four beat with an ABA- structure. By being present in the bass line the entire piece though; the tresillo rhythm indeed saturates the piece. With the bass line as a foundation, the piece is characterised of an ostinato gesture and various melodies that are combined in a contrapuntal way.

      The primary sections have a chord progression based on a pedal bass line and a bass line in descending motion. As a contrast, the secondary section’s chord progression is based on a fifth motion with tonicization.

      Accordingly, the harmony is overall based on regular II-V-I progressions in minor mode, and besides the short ornamental modulations that the tonicizations represent, there is no change of key area whatsoever. The primary sections reminds actually of a jazz chorus; with some variations, it is repeated over and over.

      The first subsection starts with presenting the ostinato gesture and the bass line, which rhythmically complete each other due to their accentuated rhythms; the latter has the tresillo no 1 and the former has no 7. As for the introduction subsection in Milonga del ángel, this subsection establishes the environment and is waiting for the melody to arrive.

      Astor Piazzolla sheet music partitura

      By being present the entire piece and due to their rhythmical features, the ostinato and the bass line provide the backbone of Libertango. The melodies that are added one by one as a new subsection enters, consists mainly of long note values; consequently, they form a kind of complementary to the rhythmical backbone. Although not as clear as for the bass line, the melodies have a descending motion.

      Consequently, the tonicization sequences in S are the only passage where the overall descending motion is abandoned for a moment. The bass line in the primary subsections may be defined as either pending or descending. As a complement to the bass line’s motion, it seems like the melody has a more active role when the bass line is pending; and vice versa, the melody is pending when the bass line is descending.

      Astor Piazzolla sheet music partitura

      As the illustration shows, the melodies move as triads while the bass line is pending. This implies that the motivic chord progression (t DD D), characteristic for Piazzolla’s music, is clarified. When the bass line descends, it is more or less the same chord progression; however, it is now the bass notes that clarify the chords. While the chord progression in P is based on this motivic chord progression, the chord progression in S is instead a cycle of fifths that is prolonged by tonicization. Correspondingly, this technique may be characteristic for Piazzola’s music.

      Astor Piazzolla sheet music partitura

      As illustrated above, the sequence starts by transforming the subdominant (Dm) into a temporary tonic. It is then given the role as a supertonic (Dm7b5) in relation to the new temporary tonic (C).

      (Next Post: “Milonga del Angel” and “Fuga y Misterio” and Summary)

      Piazzolla’s sheet music available for download from our Library.

      Best songs of Astor Piazzolla.

      TRACKLIST

      Astor Piazzolla – Adiós Nonino Astor Piazzolla – Tristeza De Un Doble ‘A’ ( 08:04 ) Astor Piazzolla — Ave Maria ( 15:18 ) Astor Piazzolla — Bíyuya ( 20:58 ) Astor Piazzolla — Buenos Aires Hora Cero ( 27:10 ) Astor Piazzolla — Chin Chin ( 32:43 ) Astor Piazzolla — El Penultimo ( 39:11 ) Astor Piazzolla — Escualo ( 44:44 ) Astor Piazzolla — Fuga Y Misterio ( 48:07 ) Astor Piazzolla — Oblivion ( 51:25 ) Astor Piazzolla — Jeanne Y Paul ( 54:58 ) Astor Piazzolla — Libertango ( 59:10 ) Nuevos Aires — Balada para un Loco ( 01:03:20 )

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      Books in our Sheet Music Library? YES (290)

      Books in our Sheet Music Library? YES (290) Please, visit our “Rare & curious Piano & Music Books” section.

      Did you know that, in our Sheet Music Library, we also keep a bunch of very interesting books, including some auto- and biographies? It also holds some really rare and hard-to-find old books.

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      Miles Davis – The Autobiography

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      Woody Allen – Apropos of Nothing

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      Journey of a Thousand Miles

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      and: Playing with Flying Keys

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      And many more. Just search the word “biography” in the mentioned section.

      Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation COMPLETE (full documentary* including the extra interviews)

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      The Beatles – Songwriting Secrets of the The Beatles

      The Beatles – The Songwriting Secrets of The Beatles (2010)

      This work examines the actual songwriting techniques of John, Paul, George and, occasionally, Ringo. Packed with examples of The Beatles’ music, it explains the chord sequences, structures and harmonies that created one of the most influential sounds of the 20th century.

      Download The Beatles’ complete sheet music songbooks from our Library, including jazzy versions of their songs.

      More than thirty years after The Beatles split up, the music of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison lives on. What exactly were the magical ingredients of those legendary songs? why are they still so influential for today’s bands? This groundbreaking book sets out to exlore The Beatles’ songwriting techniques in a clear and readable style. It is aimed not only at musicians but anyone who has ever enjoyed the work of one of the most productive and successful songwriting partnerships of the 20th century.

      Author Dominic Pedler explains the chord sequences, melodies and harmonies that made up The Beatles’ self penned songs and how they uncannily complemented the lyrical themes. He also assesses the contributions that rhythm, form and arrangement made to the Beatles unique sound. Throughout the book the printed music of the Beatles’ songs appears alongside the text, illustrating the authors explanations. The Songwriting Secrets of The Beatles is an essential addition to Beatles literature – a new and perceptive analysis of the music itself itself as performed by what Paul McCartney still calls ‘a really good, tight little band’.

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      From humble beginnings in murky, Liverpool clubs in the early sixties, four songwriters emerged who would change the course of popular music forever: The Beatles. Within only a decade they created an arsenal of songs which set the template for all popular music that followed, and, over half a century later, their music still beats with the same vitality, pangs with the same melancholy and grips with the same fervour.

      The Beatles - Songwriting Secrets of the The Beatles sheet music pdf

      How is this possible? What mystical components were fused to create these extraordinary emotions? Why are they still so influential today?

      The Songwriting Secrets of The Beatles sets out to answer these questions. Chord sequences, melodies, harmonies, rhythms and structures are all examined in a clear and readable style, unlocking the musical secrets within – not just for advanced musicians, but anyone who has ever felt the power of these songs for themselves.

      Printed music and lyrics feature within the text and in this Omnibus Enhanced digital edition, audio tracks accompany many of these examples, allowing rhythms, melodies and instrumentations to jump directly out from the pages.

      The Songwriting Secrets of The Beatles is essential for any musician who has marvelled at The Beatles creative intelligence; a new and perceptive analysis of both the most enduring and captivating songs of our age.

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      Best The Beatles Songs Collection – The Beatles Greatest Hits Full Album 2021

      00:00 – Let it Be 03:18 – Hey Jude 08:03 – A Day in the Life 11:46 – Yesterday 13:55 – Here Comes the Sun 16:54 – Strawberry Fields Forever 21:02 – In My Life 23:59 – Something 27:04 – Here Comes the Sun 30:04 – Strawberry Fields Forever 34:03 – Penny Lane 37:30 – Let it Be 40:55 – A Day in the Life

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      Yesterday – The Beatles For Jazz Piano with sheet music

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