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Be creative at the Piano (Part 1)

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    Be creative at the Piano (Part 1)

    Here’s the method I use every time I want to capture an idea. I draw out 8-bars (or measures) first. Why eight bars? Because it is an ideal framework to work in. Eight bars of music are enough to generate a complete musical
    sentence and can usually be repeated once or twice. Next, I improvise and see what comes up. THEN, I will write down the chords I am playing and the first 2-bars of melody.

    Writing down the first 2-bars of melody helps me remember the entire theme for the 8-bar phrase. I usually stay within one key to make it easy. This means I’ll have 6 chords to work with. In C Major, the chords would be, C Maj. -D min. -E min. -F Maj. -G Maj. and A min. This is more than enough material to work with. In fact, I rarely use more than 3 or 4 chords for the first 8-bars.

    Once you get your first 8-bars down, you’re more than halfway home. Why? Because you already have the beginning. The rest of the piece, if there is a rest of the piece, can be finished by drawing more bar lines AND LISTENING FOR THE NEXT SECTION OF MUSIC. This is always accomplished through improvisation. Your best material will ALWAYS come from improvisation because you are not thinking about creating something.

    Instead, you are allowing the music that is inside you to come to the surface, without forcing it or willing it into being. You use the 8-bar framework to hold your ideas. There is no rule that says you must work within 8-bars. You can use four or even sixteen bar phrases, however, its
    good to be able to feel the form and structure of an 8-bar phrase first. It is the structure used by most composers, and it is wise to understand it.

    Compose Music the Easy Way!

    There are basically two ways to compose music. One way is by starting from the bottom or the harmonic approach. A composer/arranger takes a few chords, a phrase to hang them on and arranges the harmony in some kind of pattern. An example of this is the “loop” you oft en hear in contemporary music. A loop is simply a harmonic background over which a melody (or not) is played.

    The second way to compose music is by starting with the melody. Composers may or may not have some idea of the finished idea (I prefer not to) but the melodic idea is fitted into some kind of phrase. The e most common phrase used is the 8-bar phrase. I find that starting with the melody to be the easier approach. Why? Because melody is easier to move forward then harmony. Sure, you can block out a few chords and arrange them to create a loop, but this becomes static over time. Melody is much easier to go forward with.

    By using the principles of repetition and contrast, we can create a simple ABA form in no time at all. Then we can go back and harmonize each section. I used to favor the harmonic approach at first. It was very easy to simply jot down chord changes on an 8-bar phrase, create some kind of arrangement, and improvise a melody on top. The ere is nothing wrong with this approach at all. But I soon found myself learning towards the melody first. Not because I think it’s better, but simply because it’s the method I like right now.

    Either way, it’s a good idea to compose music using one approach or the other. If you try to harmonize a melody while you’re creating it, it will slow you down and may stop the creative flow.

    A student writes: “You always say, ‘let the music tell you where it wants to go’ but when I try to do this nothing comes. What to do?”

    This is an excellent question because it really cuts to the core of my whole teaching philosophy, which is -never force or try and “will” music into being. Instead, let it come of its own accord. To illustrate this, I’ll share with you my own process with “coming up” with material.

    Usually, I never have problems with the first 8-bars of music – sometimes called the (A) section. But once this section is down, so to speak, the rest of the music (if there is more to come) is usually more difficult for me.
    I know from experience that if I try and force the music to move forward, I may get somewhere, but this music will usually sound stilted or lifeless. At this point, I can do one of two things… I can walk away and hope for fresh inspiration at a later time, or I can begin improvising without worrying or wondering about “more” music to come. I know there is a school of thought that suggests you plunge forward and “make it happen.” This can work and does work to get a product out there. The problem with this approach is what I mentioned previously. When your ego is
    involved in the creation process, your creation will be exactly that – ego centered.

    When it comes from the source or spirit, you get a music that has that X factor. That indefinable quality that you can hear but quite can’t put your finger on. It really all comes down to process or product. Do you want a nice, neat product that can be admired by friends and family? Then it doesn’t matter how you create music. But if you want a music that comes from a deeper place, don’t force … allow.

    creative at the piano free sheet music & scores pdf download

    Composing Music – How To Compose A Theme and Variations for Piano

    Recently, I posted a lesson where I show students how to compose a theme and variations for piano. Now, most composers today do not compose using this musical form. That’s not to say it isn’t still used, but … it can sound antiquated if certain harmonies and sounds are used.

    For example, in the lesson, “August Reflections,” I use the A harmonic minor scale and three chords from that scale to create a theme with three variations. This particular sound has been used for quite a while. I chose it because it does sound familiar, and some students wanted to learn something using a minor sounding scale. Notice that the theme itself is quite simple. It consists of two 8-bar phrases that can be called A and B sections. The two sections are played through and then the first variation begins. It consists of broken chords in the left hand.

    The second variation is a simple crossover pattern using the same chords -only this time, it’s spread out. This gives the necessary contrast without breaking the “mood” of the piece. The last variation is a play on the melody itself. I think I’m using eighth or sixteenth notes here, as I just play around with breaking up the melody.

    Finally, we return to the theme and there you have it… a complete piece of music using the theme and variations technique. A complete step by step breakdown of this lesson is available to course members.

    Composing Using Chord Charts

    A chord chart is a navigation tool. It’s a way for the composer to chart out musical phrases and notate where chord changes occur. It can be anywhere from 2-bars to 200 bars or more, depending on how long the composition is or how many bars it takes to notate a musical idea.

    For example, in the piece “Egrets,” we have an 8-bar phrase with chord changes on top. This is a chord chart. It tells the performer where the chord changes occur, what the melody is, and when to change chords. This is all that is necessary to create a full arrangement of the music. We don’t need to write out every single note. We use the chord changes to create fresh arrangements of how we want the music to sound. Notice that the first 2-bars of melody are written out.

    This was the initial idea. I then drew out 8-bars and finished by putting the chord changes on top. Now, whenever I want to play this little piece, I can play the initial melody and the whole thing comes together. Of course, I could have written the whole thing out note for note, but this would have taken 30 times as long as just notating where the chords change. Another benefit of this method is that the music is left elastic and fluid -that is, the aliveness of the music comes to you each and every time you play it. Why? Because each and every note is not written out. You can play it a little differently each time, and each time the music will speak a little differently to you.

    Composing Your Own Music – Easier Than You Think

    Most teachers make composition so mysterious. First you have to learn harmony… then theory… then form and on and on it goes. But do you really have to learn all of this before launching your own creations? Absolutely not, and I’m living proof of that.

    So, how did I do this? Well, first, I had the desire. If you don’t have this ingredient, most anything you try and undertake will fail. Why? Because you need to have persistence. And persistence is something that works better when you want something badly. And I very badly wanted to create my own solo piano music. Now, everyone has their own way and method of going about this. Mine was to first listen to pianists I love and admired – namely George Winston and John Herberman. You see, besides persistence, you also need inspiration.

    And what better inspiration is there than to actually hear music you love and admire. In fact, I would listen to these CDs over and over. The music eventually seeped into me, but this in and of itself is not enough. Don’t get me wrong … there’s nothing wrong with listening and saying to yourself, “how did he do that?” In fact, I suggest students do exactly this. But you can jump over all this analyzing by learning just a little theory. And when I say little, I mean it.

    What I have my students learn is something called the 8-bar phrase. And this is exactly what it sounds like. Once they get this -and it isn’t hard to get -inroads into composition are quickly discovered.

    For example, in the free workbook I offer with my course, you get tons of experience working with 8-bar phrases. You learn how to first improvise through them using chords. When you can do this – and it’s pretty easy as well – you begin to “feel” how a composition is made up. This approach has worked very well for me over the years as well as for my students.

    Composing for Piano – Learn How to Improvise First!

    When most people hear the word composer, they automatically think of classical composers like Mozart or Beethoven. This is the point where many “would be” composers freeze up because they tell themselves
    that their music could never be as good. And, this is also the point where would be music makers and their desire to create.

    When you compare yourself to another person, you are really defeating the whole idea of creating to begin with. Why? Because your music is as unique as you are! There will never be another person like you and there
    will never be anyone else who can create music like you. So give up your notions of becoming a great composer. Instead, focus on the joy that comes from being in the moment and creating your own music. To do this, learn how to improvise first.

    You must have the ability to move forward without censoring what is coming out of you. Just like writers do with freewriting, so you too must do with improvisation. Once you are able to just sit down at the piano and play without worrying if it’s good enough, you’ll be ready to put pen to paper and compose. Of course, you could compose without learning how to improvise, but chances are the music will sound stodgy and foursquare. It may not have the “life” that most composers shoot for.

    Composing for Piano Using Small ABA Form

    One of the most daunting tasks for beginners is composing music. Just the thought of it creates scary scenarios that demand perfection. But what if you actually knew what you were doing? Instead of fear, joy and a spirit of adventure would guide you to a finished piece of music. Let’s look at how we might compose a small ABA form for piano.

    The first thing I do is draw out 8-bars on a piece of paper. Any paper will do. You don’t have to have ruled sheet music paper to compose…at least not the way I teach it. The reason I tell students to begin with 8-bars is that it’s a very good space to work in. In fact, 8-bars is quite enough to give you your first (A) section. As an example, look at the lesson piece “A
    Peaceful Path.”Here, we have 3-4 minutes of music. We use the art of repetition and contrast, and a small ABA form is generated.

    If you listen to the piece, you’ll hear where the (A) section ends and the (B) section begins. In fact, listening is very important. Most people listen to music as a complete aural experience, and that’s fine. But if you’re interested in musical composition, you should also listen for the form of the piece.

    Most piano music is composed using sectional form. For instance, here is the arrangement of the piece, “A Peaceful Path,” – 2A2BA. This is a shorthand way of notating the amount of repeating that goes on in the piece. The first (A) section, 8-bars, is repeated twice, then the (B) section
    gets repeated twice and finally, we end up back where we started. The e reason ABA form works so well is that it gives the listener a complete musical experience. And it gives them a sense of finality.

    Sadly, the music must end somewhere, and composers have been working on different ways to do this via the form of the piece. Many innovative composers have tried to abolish form, but the question you must ask yourself is “Is this music giving the listener an emotional experience?” There’s a good reason ABA form has been around for hundreds of years. Because it works!

    Best site for sheet music download is right here.

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

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    The Piano Improvisations of Chick Corea: A musical analysis (1/2)

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      This monograph is an analysis of the first five pieces from an album by Chick Corea, Piano Improvisations, Volume One. The titles of the individual pieces are Noon Song, Song for Sally, Ballad for Anna, Song of the Wind, and Sometime Ago. These pieces, which form a suite of sorts, were chosen for a variety of reasons. High quality transcriptions are available, the pieces have never been dealt with in detail, and they embody an intriguing mixture of classical styles, jazz styles, improvisation, and composition.

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      Chick Corea: Lite and Works

      Armando Anthony “Chick” Corea was born June 12, 1941, in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He became interested in music at an early age, beginning piano study at the age of four.

      His first training came through his father Armando, a jazz trumpeter and bandleader in the Boston area. At age seven, Corea began lessons with Salvatore Sullo, a concert pianist in the Boston area. With Sullo, Corea studied traditional piano technique and repertoire, including Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin. Corea was also exposed to jazz from early on. His influences include Bud Powell, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, and Bill Evans.

      He was particularly interested in the music of Horace Silver, transcribing many of Silver’s tunes and solos.3 After graduating from high school, Corea attended the Juilliard School of Music for a short time before
      leaving to pursue jazz as a full-time career. Some of Corea’s first significant professional engagements were with the Latin bands of Willie Bobo and
      Mongo Santamaria, and Corea has retained a strong affinity for Latin music throughout his career. Other musicians with whom Corea worked early in his career (ca. 1964-67) include trumpeter Blue Mitchell and saxophonist Stan Getz.

      Corea joined Miles Davis’s band in 1968, replacing Herbie Hancock as the keyboardist. This was a major event in Corea’s career, giving an international reputation. At that time Miles Davis and his band played a form of free jazz that involved group improvisation, polytonality, and use of electronic instruments.

      After playing with Davis for three years, Corea left to pursue his own nonelectronic approach to free jazz, forming a band called Circle in the early seventies. According to Ian Carr, Circle “went even more deeply into
      the European vein of abstraction. It created an acoustic music which often had no relation to Afro-American forms such as the blues or gospels, no coherent physical rhythmic grooves, but which featured much scurrying and chittering non-tonal improvisation.”

      According to Corea, Circle was based on communication, both between players and with the audience. The group engaged in free improvisation with few limits and no pre-planning. Eventually the music seemed to be unrelated to anything, particularly the audience. Reflecting on his decision to leave, Corea said, “When I see an artist using his energies and technique to create a music way beyond the ability of people to connect with it, I see his abilities being wasted.” Corea’s departure from Circle coincided
      with his discovery of Scientology and the writings of L. Ron Hubbard. Corea was particularly interested in

      Hubbard’s ideas on communication. Regarding communication with the listener, Corea said, “My own particular code as a performer is this: it’s up to me to do something for an audience.”

      In musical terms, Corea’s desire for greater communication with the audience led to a more accessible, lyrical style. A direct result of this was the recording of two volumes of Piano Improvisations in 1971.11 Shortly
      thereafter, Corea formed a band called Return to Forever, which existed with various personnel throughout most of the seventies.

      Return to Forever tended toward electric jazz rock or fusion, often combined with a Latin style. Corea also continued to play more traditional jazz on occasion. Return to Forever broke up in 1980. Since then, Corea has been involved in a wide variety of musical pursuits, including solo performances, duos, and ensembles. Musicians with whom he has collaborated include pianists Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, and Friedrich Guida and vibraphonist Gary Burton. He has also recorded Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra and composed his own three movement piano concerto.

      The most noticeable quality in Corea’s output is the wide variety of musical styles in which he has operated. It is noteworthy that this versatility has not come at the expense of quality. 1^ Ian Carr sums up the consensus of many writers: “Corea ranks with Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett as one of the leading keyboard virtuosi and composer-bandleaders since the late 1960s. He is one of the most original and gifted composers in jazz.” In
      addition to the general admiration for Corea’s work, the Piano Improvisations in particular were given a glowing review in Down Beat magazine. The review begins discussing Corea’s ensemble playing and then moves to the Piano Improvisations’.

      “Chick is an original and a giant. His playing is total; his harmonic thinking, melodies and rhythmic phrasing are so interwoven that everything he plays is complete.
      That may be the reason why he has at long last recorded a solo album. Piano Improvisations Volume One, which happily implies that there
      will be a volume two. His work there is truly beyond words. This is one of the most important piano albums I have heard.”

      The review goes on to praise Corea’s use of a variety of styles.

      The variety of styles in Corea’s output is not surprising, given the diversity of his training and influences. Corea describes his earliest musical training
      with his father, where he learned “how to read and write music, which was all very important groundwork. He’d [i.e. Corea’s father] often write out arrangements of popular tunes that he played with his own band, but he’d
      write them for my level, so I learned notation in a very meaningful way.”

      In addition to jazz and Latin music, Corea was also influenced by a wide variety of classicalmusic. Asked about his repertoire for piano practice,
      Corea replied, “Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata is one of myfavorite piano works. I’ll play anything by Bach, some ofChopin’s etudes, Mozart sonatas, or Messiaen’s pianomusic.”17 Corea’s more experimental music with Miles
      Davis’s band and Circle reflects the influence of otherpractitioners of free jazz, such as Ornette Coleman, andalso the influence of avant-garde composers like KarlheinzStockhausen and John Cage.18 Corea’a use of quartalharmonies could be linked to sources as diverse as Alban
      Berg,-McCoy Tyner,- Horace Silver, and Paul – H i n d e m i t h.

      The eclectic nature of Corea’s style and output is reflected in his opinions on musical style. For Corea, barriers between styles are based not on genuine musical differences so much as they are on artificial social constructs. When asked whether certain fully notated music qualified as jazz, Corea replied, “You have one aspect of this backward, to my way of thinking. The user is the one who creates the style. I don’t ask myself,
      ‘does this work as jazz?’ I’ll create the music I need without thinking about style.” Corea is even more emphatic in a later interview:

      “I’m trying to break down the barriers, actually, between jazz music and classical music. There’s such a rich tradition and a rich esthetic in both areas that I love to operate in. I see no barrier, myslef . …”

      Certainly the Piano Improvisations are as much a manifestation of this philosophy as any of Corea’s works.

      Piano Improvisations: General Comments

      While the Piano Improvisations embody a wide varietyof styles, there are certain aspects that they all share. In the most basic sense, they all have the same texture: melody and accompaniment. Within that framework there is
      considerable variety.

      One of the most striking features of the Piano Improvisations is the degree to which they make use of both classical and jazz styles. Though the line between jazz and classical styles is sometimes indistinct, many elements in the Piano Improvisations can be traced to one tradition or the other. Jazz Influences, There are many characteristics of jazz that occur
      frequently in the Piano Improvisations. The harmonies in jazz are extended or altered the majority of the time. It is very rare to have triads with no added tones. As a result, the extended tones are often omitted in the labeling. For example, a chord labeled as “II” can be assumed to contain a 7th and possibly a 9th without actually labeling the chord as “II7/9. ” The present study follows this convention, in that not every extended note is labeled. An attempt is made to provide as much detail as is necessary to understand the subject at hand.

      The voicings reflect the importance of the extended chord tones. The 7 th, 9th, and 6th (or 13th) are prominent, while the 5th (unless it is altered) and even the root are often omitted. For example, the following would be a common jazz voicing of a C major chord:

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      This sonority could also be interpreted as a quartal harmony based on E. The context can clarify the role of a harmony; for example, the chord above might be preceded by a clear dominant harmony on G. There are cases in the Piano Improvisations in which there is no clear context,
      leading to a certain amount of ambiguity.

      The practice of omitting the root is probably derived from playing in ensembles with a string bass. The piano often leaves out the root to avoid clashing with the line created by the bass player. In solo playing, rootless
      voicing may also be used for pragmatic reasons: it can be difficult to play a bass line, complex harmonies, and a melody simultaneously.

      Rootless voicing of dominant 7th type harmonies leads to a peculiar ambiguity known in jazz as tritone substitution. Two of the main two notes of a dominant 7th chord, the 3rd and the 7th, are a tritone apart. Since
      the tritone does not change when inverted, it is impossible to tell which is the 3rd and which is the 7th in a rootless voicing. This implies two possible roots, a tritone apart: a rootless dominant 7th chord on V could just as easily be interpreted as a dominant 7 th chord built on flat II. The example below shows two different possibilities for the same pitches and their resolutions.

      The unplayed root is shown in parentheses:

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      Even the additional extensions of the chord can fit into either interpretation. For example, A-sharp (the raised 9th of the G7 chord) becomes B-flat (the added sixth of the D-flat7 chord). The actual root of the chord cannot be determined and is, in fact, immaterial, since the
      resolution and voice-leading are identical in both cases.

      In traditional jazz, as in classical music, there is a tendency toward root movement down a 5th or up a 4th. The most definitive chord progression in jazz is ii – V – I, very similar to IV – V – I in classical music. The rhythm in jazz tends to be more complex than is the norm in common practice classical music. Syncopation is used quite frequently. There is also a common occurrence known as “swing rhythm” or “swinging eighth
      notes.” When this occurs, the rhythm as notated below:

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      would be performed in approximately the following manner:

      chick corea sheet music

      This is somewhat similar to the use of “nqtes inégalés” in French baroque music. The Piano Improvisations make some use of swing rhythm, but not to a great extent.

      Another convention of jazz, found somewhat more frequently in the Piano Improvisations, is Latin rhythm or bossa nova. Latin rhythm uses straight, rather than swung eighth notes. In this convention the left hand establishes a groove or beat, possibly involving syncopation but still with a perfectly steady pulse. The right hand plays off the relative steadiness of the left
      hand, playing lines that are more syncopated. This often involves the superimposing of ternary figures on a duple meter, as demonstrated by Barry Kernfeld in the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz:

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      This blend of jazz and samba originated in Brazil and became popular in the USA in the 1960s.

      Classical Influences

      Classical conventions are also an important influence in the Piano Improvisations. One of the most obvious manifestations of this is the approach to form. The typical jazz tune form of two verses, a bridge, and a repeat of the verse (AABA) is noticeably absent in the Piano Improvisations. The structures used are similar to traditional classical forms. Corea often uses forms that are conducive to improvisation, such as rondo form or variations on a repeated harmonic progression.

      Some of the more complex harmonies, including altered chords, highly extended chords, polychords, and quartal harmonies, have their origins in late 19th- or 20thcentury classical music. This is also true of the use of
      a wide variety of scales and modes. Many of these traits began to be integrated into jazz before the Piano Improvisations. As a result, it is not always possible to determine whether these influences derive from 20thcentury classical music or from jazz that had already incorporated these elements. In Corea’s case there are indications, such as his familiarity with works of Berg and Messiaen, that he might have encountered this harmonic language in both idioms.

      Individual Pieces: Noon Song

      The tonic of Noon Song is D major, with some emphasis on P major as well. For the most part, the piece remains within the realm of traditional functional harmony. The form is driven by a series of variations on a repeated harmonic progression. This sectional form is cast in a
      large two-part structure. The texture is reminiscent of a Chopin Nocturne, in that the left hand plays an arpeggiated accompaniment with lots of pedal, while the right hand plays a florid melody. There are motives that
      appear throughout the piece, but there is little in the way of consistent “themes” or melodies.

      Throughout most of the piece, there is no meter or sense of pulse, somewhat like the unmeasured preludes of the French clavecinists. There are what sound like downbeats, usually the low notes in the left hand, but in between, there is no consistent beat. The eighth notes are straight rather than in swing rhythm; the tempo is medium slow. There are some areas of the piece that depart from the general tendencies; these sections have more of a sense of meter, a faster tempo, and a different texture.

      The title of Noon Song is appropriate: it is perhaps the brightest of the Piano Improvisations in mood and the only one in an unambiguous major key. Noon Song strikes the listener as an exuberant outpouring of spontaneous melody, but it is also based on a well defined formal

      At the most basic level. Noon Song is a continuous set of free variations, each based on the same chord progression. There is no melodic theme on which the variations are based; formal articulations are created by changes of tempo, rhythm, texture, and local harmonic activity. The piece contains eight variations, and is divided into two large sections of four variations each. This creates a structure in which two different formal approaches or levels exist simultaneously. The use of a repeated chord progression provides continuity and unity, while the two-part structure of the piece is based on contrast and division.

      Though these two trends contrast with each other, they are not mutually exclusive. The coexistence of these two formal approaches is central to the nature of the piece. Virtually every element of the music helps to create this mixture, or is subject to it. This is true of

      the form, harmonies and tonal areas used, motivic
      activity, rhythm, and texture.
      The following chart shows how this is manifested in
      the form and tonal areas used:

      There are several formal elements that add to the unity of the piece. The most obvious of these is that every variation uses the standard chord progression and ends in the tonic key of D major. Furthermore, every
      variation, regardless of how it begins, eventually returns to the music of the opening section.

      Other formal elements show the two-part nature of the piece. Part one never leaves the tonic key. Indeed, the F major chord at m. 13 (which is not tonicized) is the only harmony in part I that is foreign to D major. Part two, on the other hand, contains many departures from the tonic. These range from the unprepared F# major harmony at the beginning of the variation 5 to tonicizations F major and its dominant in variations 6-8. Though each variation in part two ends in D major, they all begin away from the tonic.

      As the piece progresses, the variations depart more radically from the original harmonic progression. These departures, along with the tonal and harmonic elements, are the main factors that establish a binary division of
      the piece. Variation 1 presents the standard chord progression
      in its original form:

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      This is a very traditional, tonal harmonic progression which can easily be expressed in terms of functional harmony: I V7/vi vi V7/V V7 I. Other than the movement from D to P-sharp 7, the motion is guided by the
      circle of 5ths.

      In addition to the chords themselves, the voicings generally remain the same throughout the piece as well. Note that even though the harmonies are tertian, the use of extended chords allows for quartal voicings. This is
      the case in the upper three notes in all the chords except those in m. 4. The areas of D major harmony in this variation, and indeed throughout the piece, are often prolonged using a neighbor chord (also voiced in 4ths) which alternates with the D major chord. In variation 1 this occurs in mm. 1 and 6:

      The sound of this chord has the effect of not quite being either on or off the tonic, similar to a dominant chord over a tonic pedal. Variation 2 also adheres closely to the standard chord progression, though the full progression is preceded by a partial statement at mm. 7-10. The most noteworthy change is the appearance of an F major chord at m. 13:

      Though F is not tonicized here, its appearance forecasts significant areas of F major later in the piece. The way in which the chord is used— as a neighbor chord between two F-sharp 7 chords— also foreshadows the manner in which other excursions from the tonic will be treated.

      Variation 3 (mm. 18-24) proceeds through the progression normally until m. 21, where the usual dominant harmony is replaced by an A major seventh chord. After a prolongation of A major 7, the progression backtracks to the F-sharp chord at m. 22 and then ends in the usual way.
      In variation 4 several new chords are interposed into the standard progression (mm. 25-30):

      G major (IV) appears at m. 26, between D major and F-sharp. When F-sharp arrives it is F-sharp minor, which is prolonged until m. 30 where it is converted to the standard F-sharp dominant sonority. The cadential area which is usually harmonized with V7 I, now contains the following progression (mm. 31-35):

      Note that the E chord is now minor rather than major, hence no longer functioning as V/V. The following chord is not A (V), but G minor (borrowed iv). This is the chord preceding the tonic, resulting in a plagal cadence (with minor iv) rather than the standard authentic cadence. These changes, especially when combined with the crescendo in dynamics and the particularly long time spent on the tonic after its arrival, make for a more dramatic close for this section than for any so far. This is appropriate, as this variation brings part one to a close.

      Variation 5 (nun. 36-43) is quite audibly different from that which comes before. One of the main reasons for this is the change in rhythm. Beginning at m. 36 the slow sensa misura feel gives way to a fast tempo with definite beats and a feeling of 5/4. The texture also changes, from florid melodies accompanied by arpeggiated chords with lots of pedal, to a jumpy staccato melody accompanied by staccato block chords. There is also a change in the treatment of the progression. Variation 5 goes through
      the standard progression twice, beginning each time on V7/vi rather than I. The overall effect of this is that even though the standard progression is in use, B minor rather than D is emphasized.

      The main harmonic variation in variation 5 occurs at the beginning of the section; the end of the section returns to the tonic. This is the paradigm for variations 5 through 8.

      In variation 6, beginning at m. 46, the tonality shifts towards F major (flat III). There has been some preparation for the key of F through the F major chord at m. 13 as well the use of a G minor harmony (ii in F) at m. 34. The move to F is accomplished by using the D major harmony at the end of m. 45 as a dominant. This sets off a progression through the circle of fifths, leading to a strong cadence on F at m. 49. There is a slight detour at m. 47: a “premature” arrival on P. (mm. 45-49):

      At m. 50 F major slides up to F-sharp 7 (V/vi), returning to the standard progression. This half-step motion is identical to that which occurred where F first appeared at m. 13-14. The chromatic neighbor concept has been expanded from a single chord to an entire section. From m. 50 the progression continues in the usual manner, ending on the tonic at m. 53.
      Variation 7 also begins off the tonic, gravitating towards the dominant of F, C major. After beginning on a B-flat major 7th chord, the harmony descends a half step to A minor. At this point, a circle of fifths progression is initiated (reminiscent of the approach to F major in the variation 5), culminating in an ii V I cadence in C major at m. 57 (mm. 54-57).

      At m. 58 C major slides down to B minor. This is similar to the manner in which the two F major sections were “resolved.” Though the movement is down rather than up, the chromatic neighbor concept definitely applies. When B minor (vi in D) is reached, the tonality returns to D major and the standard progression. The progression is completed from the point of return to B minor, and then repeated in its entirety. In the tonic cadences of both statements, A7 (V) has been replaced by G minor (iv).

      This is identical to the plagal cadence used at the end of the fourth variation. It is also similar in that the dynamics are loud and there is a long denouement on the tonic. As in the previous case, this helps to provide a
      more dramatic close to the section. Again this is appropriate, as this section ends the main body of the piece.

      The Coda or variation 8 is similar to variation 6. The left hand accompaniment in the two sections is nearly identical, (m. 46; m. 68):

      The rhythm and contour of the melody are also similar. In terms of harmony, both sections begin on a version of the ii chord in F (ii? at m. 68, V/V at m. 46) and go on to strong cadences in F major.

      At m. 71 F major descends to E minor, ii in D major. Once again a section outside of D major “resolves” by half-step to a chord in the diatonic progression. This time the motion is down to ii (similar to mm. 57-58)
      rather than the usual motion up to V/vi. The remainder of the section follows the standard progression.

      While there is no secondary key area equal in significance to that of a sonata form, for example, F major fulfills a similar function in this piece. Rather than serving as the tonic of a large section, F major guides the tonality of several short sections of music. This creates a structure with several small departures from the tonic, rather than one main departure. These areas of tonal departure are also distinctive in other ways: motives used, texture, rhythm, etc.

      One manifestation of the tension between D major and F major is the conflict between the pitches A# and B-flat. Though A# is not diatonic in the key of D, it is, of course, present in every P#7 chord (V7/vi). A-sharp is also present in almost every appearance of the V7/V chord, as an added sharp 4th (or 11th). B-flat, on the other hand, is crucial to the tonicization of F major, functioning as both the 7th in the dominant chord and the
      3rd in the ii chord. In the case of the plagal cadences at the end of
      variations 4 and 7, G minor serves as the borrowed subdominant in D major. The appearance of B-flat in the context of D major, particularly at such important points in the form, helps to form a link between P major and D major.

      The treatment of form and harmony/tonality plays a major role in creating the mixture of contrast and unity in Noon Song, but motivic elements are equally important in this regard. The same motives are used throughout the piece, but they are used differently in parts one and two.

      The main motive, designated x, is a descending stepwise figure in one of the following rhythms:

      The interval spanned by the motive varies, though it is usually a fourth or a major third. There is often a stepwise ascent over the dominant leading up to the motive, which occurs over the tonic. The first occurrence of this
      is at mm. 5-6:

      This motive, or a version of it, appears at virtually every tonic arrival in the piece. While there are arrivals on the tonic within sections (mm. 11, 39, and 59), the most important cadences are at the ends of the sections (mm. 6, 18, 24, 35, 44, 53, 67, and 75). The treatment of the x motive at these points is another feature that supports the binary division of Noon Song.
      The cadence at the end of variation 1, seen in the previous example, uses a version of the motive that A A A A descends through 8 7 6 5. This version of the motive, designated xl, is used at the cadential points in all of part one: variations 1-4. The motive is varied slightly in variation 2 where the motive begins one step higher than usual, (m. 18):

      The cadences in part two use the x motive, but in new versions. The end of variation 5, for example, uses the following version of the motive, designated x2 (m. 43):

      Variation 8 also uses this version of the motive in the cadence at m. 75. The x2 motive covers a major third (3 2 1) rather than a fourth (8 7 6 5). The descent to 1 gives x2 a more final quality than does the movement from 8 to A 5 in xl. This corresponds logically with the placement of xl in the beginning of the piece and x2 at the end.

      The version of the motive used in the cadences of the variations 6 and 7 is a hybrid of xl and x2. It spans a A A major third like x2, but uses scale steps 7 6 5 rather than 3 2 l–similar to a truncated xl. This version,
      designated x3, first appears at the end of the variation 6 section at m. 53.

      It also appears at both tonic cadences of variation 7 at mm. 62 and 67.
      The chart below provides an overall view of the motives used relative to the form.

      In this format, it is easy to see the motivic contribution to the binary division of Noon Song. Various versions of the x motive also appear at
      other, less important structural points, including tonic arrivals in the middle of sections (mm. 11, 39, and 62) and in various prolongations of final harmony (mm. 6, 44 and 45, and 67).

      Other manifestations of the x motive play a lesser, though significant, role in the piece. One of these, designated x4, consists of two descending eighth notes, often a third or fourth apart: basically the skeleton of
      the other x motives. Considered in isolation, it would be difficult to hear a relationship between x4 and the other X motives. The context in which x4 appears makes the relationship much more viable. Like the other occurrences of X, x4 is used at points of climax— generally strong
      harmonic arrivals. The most striking example of this occurs at the first strong cadence on F major at mm. 48- 49.

      This example, in which x4 is basically the skeleton of xl, also shows another contextual relation to xl. The stepwise ascent in the melody over a dominant harmony is the standard cadential formula throughout the piece. The ascent invariably leads to some form of the x motive. The other occurrences of x4 share these same attributes, though the harmonies involved are not necessarily a local dominant and tonic. The x4 motive also appears at mm. 13 and 15, and becomes the basis of an area of music from mm. 60 to 66.

      The versions of the x motive are the most important motivic material of the piece. There is, however, another motive that plays a substantial role. This motive, designated y, consists of three notes: a beginning note descends to a repeated tone. The rhythm is generally even, often with the feel of a triplet. The lower notes are usually chord tones, while the first note is an upper neighbor. The y motive is first seen at the last note of
      the right hand of m. 1, and the first two notes of m. 2. It is seen below in a more basic form (without the intervening barline and in a lower register):

      The y motive appears in several forms and contexts. It often occurs as part of the ornate melody in the right hand. It is also the origin of the theme at m. 7.

      A small section of music in measure 21 is also based on y , this time in retrograde form.

      At m. 5 the motive is heard in an inverted form which is then extended upwards. This generates a stepwise ascent which is part of the cadential formula used throughout the piece, (m. 5):

      The melody at the beginning of variation 6 is a variant of the y motive in augmentation, (mm. 45-46):

      The next section uses the y motive in a decorated version. This occurs at the cadence in C major and again at the return to the vi chord in the diatonic progression in D major (mm. 57-58).

      The contour and rhythm provided by the added note create a hybrid of the x and y motives.

      The discussion of the x and y motives has centered on their appearance at important points in the structure. They are also part of the melody in many other places of lesser importance, which are too numerous to mention.

      The X and y motives are used throughout the piece. There is another theme that is important only in variation 5.It first appears at m. 36.

      Though the contour and intervallic content vary, the rhythm and articulation are constant. This theme is repeated several times forming a consistent phrase structure from m. 36 to m. 40. This regularity, a quality
      lacking in variations 1-4, is a significant factor in creating contrast between parts one and two.

      Rhythmic characteristics also play a role in distinguishing the two sections of the piece. The first section is in a moderately slow tempo, almost entirely without a regular pulse. There are what seem to be downbeats–the low notes of the left hand–but between them there is no consistent pulse. The second section contains a substantial amount of music that does have a regular beat. This contrast is especially evident at the beginning of the B section, which has a strong metric feel of 5/4, as well as a fast tempo.

      Other areas with a regular beat are mm. 36-42, mm. 46-48, mm. 54-58, mm. 60- 66, and mm. 68-69.

      Along with the contrast in rhythm, there is a corresponding difference in texture. In the non-metric sections of the first part, the left hand generally plays some sort of arpeggiated figure while the right hand plays a highly ornate melody. In the more metric sections of the second part, the left hand plays more bass notes followed by block chords in a regular metric pattern.

      There are qualities of Noon Song, particularly the use of the theme-and-variation genre, that are typical of improvised music. However, in many ways Noon Song is extraordinary. The gradual introduction of a secondary
      key area is unusual, as are the subtle ways in which the contrast between the two key areas is played out. The economy of motivic materials provides coherence, while the variation of motives adds contrast and definition. The
      unusual aspects of Noon Song are not ends in themselves, but contribute to the creation of the two-part form. All these musical elements, common and uncommon, interact to form a balanced, multilevel, formal structure. This skillful layering of different formal approaches permeates the music and is the most fascinating quality of Noon Song.

      Chick Corea, “Noon song“, album Piano improvisations vol. 1, 1971

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      Musical Analysis Keith Jarrett - The Art of Improvisation

      What is Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis of “My Funny Valentine”(2/2)

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      What is Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis of “My Funny Valentine”(2/2)

      The introduction

      The essential character here is one of a folk-like quality (with its preponderance of chords derived from the Aeolian mode and harmonic movement centered around the tonic) combined with classical elements (attention to detail in the voices, and the use of chords in their first
      inversion), jazz voicings, and bars of different lengths, which give it a contemporary edge.

      There is a strong sense of it being improvised in the moment, and this, coupled with the fact that (except for two brief ritardandos) it is played at a moderate tempo throughout, gives it much forward momentum. It builds towards a climax of fast moving chords, which occurs near the end, and then gradually winds down before concluding and moving into the main piece.

      There is no obvious reference to the melody or the verse of the song, rather an approach that sounds like a “Fantasy inC minor”, where the main key of the song is freely explored.

      Form and Melody

      It is seventy bars in length, runs for approximately two minutes and fifteen seconds, and has a form which is comprised of five main sections that are separated by cadences. It is as follows:

      1st section: 7 bars;
      2nd section: 5 bars;
      3rd section: 1 0 bars;
      4th section: 23 bars;
      5th section: 25 bars;

      A cohesive form is achieved by the use of definite melodic episodes within the sections, and these are again, based on rhythmic motifs which provide the core thematic material. These episodes (except for one instance at bars 44 and 45 where the left-hand answers the right [see ex.50)) are all found in the right-hand part, but often the melodies move from the soprano voice to the first or second alto (as in bars 9 and 10 [see ex.51], 21-25, 33 and 34 etc.) while the soprano continues with longer or sustained notes, thus adding a certain contrapuntal sophistication to the sound.

      keith jarrett jazz improvisation sheet music

      There is no obvious pattern in the lengths or groupings of the episodes, and they vary in length from three bars to nine. The most prominent motif is “A”, and it is utilized in a number of ways. The episodes will be described as before, and are as follows:
      1st section:
      Bars 1-3, 1″1 episode :-This is based on motif “A” (see ex.52). After it is first stated (bar 2 [the figure in bar 1 is a pickup]), it is repeated (bar 3);
      Bars 4-7, 2″‘ episode :-This is based on motif “B” (see ex. 52). After it is first stated (bar 4), it is repeated twice (bars 5,6 [at 6 it is lengthened by a quaver and leads to the cadence figure at bar 7). The figure at the end of 7 is a connecting phrase to the next section;
      2nd section:
      Bars 8-12, only episode:- This is based on motif “C” (see ex.52). After it is first stated (bar 9 [the figure in 8 is a pick up]), it is repeated (bar 10 [it is effectively shortened by a crotchet), then it is played in slightly truncated form (bars 11, 12);
      3rd section:
      Bars 13 and 14, opening phrase. Bars 15-18, 1’1 episode:- This is based on motif “C1” (see ex.52). After it is first stated (bar 15 (includes quaver pick up from previous bar]), it is played in truncated and more syncopated fonm (bar 16), then permutated through a change to 3/4 (bars 17, 18);
      Bars 19-22, 2″‘ episode:- This is based on motif “C”. After it is first stated (bar 19 [incl. quaver pick up from prev. bar, first note is lengthened by a quaver)), it is repeated (bar 21 [figure at bar 20 is a connecting phrase]);

      4′” section:
      Bars 23-25, 1 ‘1 episode :- This is based on motif “C”. After it is first stated (bar 23 [incl. quaver pick up from prev. bar, last note is lengthened by a quaver]), it is repeated (bar 25 [pick up in 24 is longer]); Bars 26-34, 2nd episode :- This is based on motif “D” (see ex.52). After it is first stated (bars 26,27), it is displaced (it’s quaver pick up is on 2+ rather than 1 + ), lengthened by a crotchet and repeated twice (bars 28-31 [incl. quaver and crotchet pick up from prev. bar]). The figure at 32,33 is a cadential phrase derived from “D”. The figure at 34 is derived from “C”; Bars 35-37, 3″‘ episode :-The figure in bar 35 is a connecting phrase. This is based on motif “E” (see ex.52). After it is first stated (bar 36 [does not include first crotchet]), it is displaced (the quaver pick up is on 1 + rather than 2) and shortened by a quaver (bar 37); Bars 38-41, 4′” episode :-This is based on motif “A”. After it is first stated (beat 3 of 38, beat 1 of 39), it is repeated (bar 41 [the figure at 39,40 is a connecting phrase]); The figure at the end of 41,42 is a connecting phrase. Bars 43-45, 5′” episode : This combines motif “F” (see ex. 52) at bar 43 with a cadence figure which is played twice (bars 44,45 [note how this is the same as the one at bar 7]);

      5th section:
      Bars 46-54, 1″ episode :- Begins with what is essentially motifs “F” and “A” combined (bars 46,47 [“F” has a quaver pick up added to it]) and which will now be called “A1” (see ex.52). This is then repeated (bars 48,49 [pick up from prev. bar is lengthened by 2 quavers]), then shortened
      by a crotchet as part of a change to 3/4 and repeated twice (bars 50-53 [incl. pick up from prev. bar, ]), then played in 4/4 but shortened by a crotchet (bar 54 [pick up from prev. bar is 5 quavers]); Bars 55-57, climactic passage (essentially all quavers). Bars 58-63, 2″• episode :-This is based on motifs “A1” and “A”. “A1” is played (bars 58,59), then “A” is played (bar 60 [incl. pick up from prev. bar]), then “A” is displaced (the first quaver is on the last beat of the bar rather than the first) and played 3 times (starts on beat 3 of 60, end on beat 1 of 63); Bars 64-70, 3″‘ episode:- This is based on motif “A”. After it starts (beat 2 of 63), it is repeated 5
      times in various rhythmic permutations which involve changing time signatures;

      Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett  sheet music

      The above analysis clearly shows the solidity of the structural foundation, and it is this, combined with the spontaneity and emotional depth that Jarrett brings to the proceedings, that makes the introduction so successful. This kind of balance was touched upon by Yehudi Menuhin in his description of Bach’s music- “However passionate it may become, there is a/ways form … “

      It is also worth noting that except for bars 26, 27, 49, and bars 64-69, the entire melody is created using the Aeolian scale.


      As mentioned earlier, apart from brief ritardandos at bars 12 and 68, it is played in tempo, and the impression of rhythmic simplicity that one might get upon first hearing is shown, upon close examination to be rather deceptive, as there is much variety here. This is achieved by substantial use of syncopation (as in bars 4-7 [see ex.53], 14-16, 19-22 etc.), space (bars 3
      and 4, 12, 24, 66-70), and again (and most importantly), both the utilization of varied time signatures and the rhythmic manipulation of the aforementioned motifs.

      The manipulation, once more, is achieved by the use of augmentation, diminution, and permutation via changed meters, but in this case, also through the use of a number of displacements. These, (as can be seen from the analysis of the episodes above) can be found at bars 26-29 (see ex.54),
      36,37, and 60-63.

      Again, there is much shifting from 414 to 314, and vice versa (bars til-17, 53-54 etc.), and the changes to 214 + 314 and 514, though creating some asymmetry (see ex.55), tend to be overshadowed by the displacements in this regard. Here again, Jarrett displays a sense of rhythmic flexibility, and freedom with phrasing, and it is hard not to think of his experience as a drummer. He once said “I’ve been playing drums all my life … lt’s really my first instrument!”

      Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett


      As mentioned earlier, this introduction is centered very firmly around the tonic key of C minor, the only real modulation being a fleeting move to C major at bars 25 and 26, which of course reiterates the tonic further (see ex.62). The tonic chord of the relative major, E flat, is used a number of times from bar 23 onwards, and there is a brief chromatic shift to an E flat minor chord at bar 49, but these function only as passing chords (see ex.62).

      Before looking at the bulk of the harmonic content, one other component is also worthy of mention, and that is the final passage which begins at bar 64 (see ex. 56). Even though it contains a number of notes that are outside of the Aeolian scale in its melody, and its hanmony descends chromatically, the fact that it starts on the tonic, with a tonality that has been so well established means it functions simply as a contrasting, extended cadence.

      Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett sheet music

      The most predominant chords used are I, VI, IV, and V, and the fact that they often include suspensions (emphasizing the intervals of the fourth and the fifth) contributes very much to the aforementioned folk-like, modal quality (see ex.57). The frequent use of the leading note (B
      natural) in the V chord (bars 12, 18, and 22) however, the utilization of major chords in their first inversion (bars 17, 25, 32, 35, 37, 40 and 41), and the use of triads in some cadences (bars 24 and 26) tend to reflect more upon the classical tradition (see exs. 58-60). The influence of the jazz
      tradition is probably most obvious in the use of extended and altered chords (see ex.61 ).

      Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett sheet music
      Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett

      The harmonic progressions follow patterns that are typical of western music in general, although the previously mentioned passage at bar 64 is perhaps more jazz influenced. (Note its use of dissonant chords, particularly the ones at bars 66 and 68 where the minor chords feature both minor and major sevenths [see ex.56].) The most frequently used pattern is VI, IV, V (bars 3-6, g,10, 19, 20 etc.), which sometimes resolves to I, but usually moves on to another chord, most often VI (e.g. see bar 5 in ex.62). The II V progression, so common in jazz, features a number of
      times {bars 11,12, 14-16 etc.) but again, only sometimes resolves to the tonic (e.g. see bars 14- 16 in ex.62).

      There are a couple of step-wise progressions, the short one at bars 23-26 also being a sequence, which facilitates the brief modulation to C major. The longer one begins at bar 52, and except for skipping the seventh degree of the scale at 53, it descends scale-wise and is very effective in setting up the climax which occurs at bar 55 (for both of these see ex.62). As well as the aforementioned passage at bar 64 (which utilizes a descending chromatic pattern that actually starts at bar 62), there is one other section which uses a chromatic progression, but on this occasion it is an ascending one. It starts at bar 35 and continues through to the beginning of 42, and unlike the passage at bar 64 utilizes chords which are all closely related to the tonic key (see ex.62). It is important to note how these two sections, along with the previously mentioned one at bar 52, contribute to the drama and overall shape of the introduction.

      Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis

      It is worth noting that the climactic passage from bars 55-57 utilizes many parallel fourth and fifth intervals in its chords, and this, of course, tends to emphasize the modal, folk-like flavor (see ex.63).

      Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis

      Opening melody section

      The first four bars of the song are played at a moderately slow tempo by the piano only, and act as a transition between the introduction and the rendering of the piece by the ensemble and here, Jarrett uses an ascending line progression in the accompaniment rather than the more common descending one (see the chord chart that accompanies the transcriptions).

      The ensemble enters at bar 5 with a straight eighths feel, and the song is given a fairly free reading, with the piano utilizing a single right-hand line accompanied by left-hand chords, and the band playing quite sparsely. The harmony, in comparison with the chord changes that tend to be used (again, see the chord chart ) is slightly simplified, with the 4 bar C minor
      sequence that is central to the song being played (except for the first four bars) as C minor, G 7, C minor, F 7, instead of the descending chromatic sequence, the chords at bars 5 and 6, and 13 and 14 being played as just F minor rather than Ab major, F minor, and the chords in the first half of the bridge (bars 17-20) being played as Eb, Bb 7, Eb, rather than Eb, F min., Eb/G, F min. etc. (Note the use in bar 15 of the common substitution where B major replaces Ab minor, and the Eb dim. add 9 harmony in bar 19 which creates a darker sound than the usual major chord.)

      The melody (once the band has entered) is played very freely, and is subjected to rhythmic variation (bars 5-6 etc.), paraphrasing (bars 9-12 etc.), or departed from completely, as in bars 14-20. The melodic material here becomes part of a rhythmic episode which features the use of a displaced figure, this involving the manipulation of the motif (two crotchets followed by a minim) that occurs in bar 15. This motif (its minim is shortened to a dotted crotchet) of two and a half beats in length is played successively over a number of bars, and of course falls in different places in relation to the ground beat.

      This, in combination with the support of the left-hand chords and the bass’s off-beat figures, creates a suspended feeling and much rhythmic tension. Bill Evans said this about his own use of rhythmn displacement – “… the displacement of phrases, and the way phrases follow one another, and their placement against the meter and so forth, is something that I’ve worked on rather hard … “

      The tension is released at bar 21, where the melody (though altered melodically and rhythmically) is returned to, followed then at bar 25 by another paraphrase, this time utilizing block chords. These are played mainly in dotted crotchet rhythms, are almost all off the beat, and create a climax which lasts until bar 33, where the melody is briefly stated before the solo break begins at bar 34.

      Piano solo

      It is three choruses long (108 bars), and runs for approximately three and a half minutes. The overall shape is as follows:

      – First chorus – moderately slow tempo, melody occasionally alluded to, comparatively sparse, builds slowly towards the second; Second chorus- double time feel (continues for the rest of the solo), no obvious reference to the melody, becomes busier, more intense and builds to a high point at the end; Third chorus -double time feel, intensity sustained but kept in check before building to climax, winds down.


      Again, form is achieved mainly by the combination of broad shapes that has been described above. (Note that, like before, the high points [bars 66- 70 and 97-104] both use the very high register.) Once more, there is not any sustained use of a particular motif or theme, but instead, a sense of the solo being through composed.

      There are again, however, many thematic episodes here, and once more they tend to assist with the overall development of the solo, and sometimes facilitate changes in intensity (e.g. bars 49-51[see ex.64], 64-66). On the whole, they tend to be relatively short and are generally two to four bars long (bars 17- 20, 29- 32, 57 (beat 2)- 58, 81-83 etc.). There is one longer one and this can be found at bars 3-12 where the figure in bar 4 is utilized in bars 9-12 (see ex.65).

      Jazz Improvisation Keith Jarrett

      It seems clear when looking at the profile of this solo and Stella by Starlight’s that Jarrett is manipulating the shape of the improvisation with great awareness, as he goes along. Another comment of his further illuminates this – ” … when I’m playing I think in terms of structure, but a
      very fluid structure that could change at any instant.”


      The overall impression here is again one of flexibility, and once more, there is much variety in terms of the different rhythms and their combinations, the lengths of phrases, where the phrases begin and end in relation to the bar lines, and the phrases’ relationship to the beat.

      A good example of the variety of rhythms and their combinations can again be found at the beginning of the solo, this time in the first twelve bars (see ex.66). Of particular note is the opening phrase (bars 1 and 2 alone containing crotchets, quavers, a quaver triplet, and semiquavers),
      and the succession of anticipated quavers at bars 5 and 6. Other examples can be found at bars 20-26, 29-35, 37-47, 61-66 etc. The phrases vary in length from half a bar (bars 47, 65, 72 etc.), to five and a half bars (bars 91-96), but once more, they tend in general to be one or two bars long. Where they begin and end in relation to the bar lines again shows
      Jarrett’s flexibility, and this will be illustrated as before, by examining the first sixteen bars (also see ex.66).- First phrase:- starts on 4+, ends on 1; Second p])rase:- starts on 2+, ends on 1; Third phrase:- starts on 3+, ends on 2+; Fourth phrase:- starts on 2+, ends on 1; Fifth phrase:- starts on 2, ends on 3; Sixth phrase:- starts on 3+, ends on 4+; Seventh phrase:starts
      on 1, ends on 4; Eighth phrase:- starts on 4+, ends on 2+; Ninth phrase:- starts on 4, ends on 2.

      Once more, the above example also shows some of the syncopation present, and in this case it is considerable. When we look within those same phrases, there is also much to be found, and this is reinforced by the few accents here, which favour the off beats. In general however, the accents in the lines tend to be both on and off the main beats.

      Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis

      There are three other important aspects here, and the first of these is the occasional use of displaced figures. They all vary a little from one another, but tend (as previously mentioned) to make the time sound as though it was turned around. These can be found in bars 14,15, 29,30, 49-51 (see ex.68), 64-66, and 77-79. The second, is a few instances of the behind the beat playing that is so prominent in Stella by Starlight, (bars 1, 3 [see ex.69], 24) and one of playing ahead of the beat (bar 104 [see ex.70]). These again of course, create a sense of rhythmic elasticity, though it seems that with Jarrett (in this case at least), the swing feel of Stella is far
      more conducive to this kind of approach than the straight eighths feel that is found here. The third is the small number of irregular groupings of notes that are found mainly in the last part of the solo (bars 94, 100 [see ex.71], 104) and which create the impression of brief departures from the
      ground beat.

      Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis


      Again, the chord changes here essentially follow those in the melody section, but with a number of variations. The bass’s role is again, both functional and melodic, but in this case the melodic figures tend to utilize the fifth more than any1hing else, as this is more in keeping with the traditional approach to pieces with straight eighths and Latin feels. A couple of the harmonic sections are treated quite loosely, and the first of these is the section which is found in the second bar of each four bar C minor sequence. Here, Jarrett often plays just G 7, but Peacock frequently plays D, G, and occasionally this results in a momentary conflict (e.g. bar
      24 [see ex.72]).

      The second is the descending chromatic sequence found in bar 22 of the
      structure. In the first two choruses (bars 22 and 58), the piano plays all C minor but the bass plays C, B. Bb, Eb, and in the third (bar 94), the piano outlines the changes whereas the bass plays more of a C minor figure (see ex.73). Obviously, these variations contribute to a sense of harmonic freedom.

      Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis

      The most sustained and substantial variations however, occur from bars 66 to 72 (see ex.74). In bar 66, we see an Eb 7 alt chord played under a D 7 line (harmonic suspension), followed in 67 by a Bb minor chord over a B bass note (harmonic anticipation), and then in 68 we see E min. 7, A 7 in place of Eb 7 (a tri-tone substitution). In bar 69 we not only see a D bass note in place of the usual Ab, but also the beginning of an interesting three bar harmonic episodes. Here, (at the very end of the bar) Jarrett plays a root position F major 7 chord in the left hand, anticipating the next bar (which would normally be F minor 7, Bb7), but really functioning as a G7sus chord.

      Peacock immediately responds with a G pedal figure at bar 70 (which he maintains throughout), and Jarrett shifts the left-hand chords down chromatically whilst playing right-hand lines that essentially outline G7. All of this creates considerable drama, as it bypasses the resolution to the
      relative major in favor of a dominant pedal. (It is also interesting to note that at bars 106 and 107 the resolution to the relative major is again bypassed in favour of a II VI progression in C minor.)

      Another variation can be found at bars 43 and 44 (see ex.75), where the bass plays an Ab figure at bar 43 (non-specific chord quality) in place of the usual D, and then at 44 plays D, G, rather than just G. The piano line at 43 suggests Ab minor for beats 1, 2, and 3, and G7 for beat 4 (there is no left hand in this bar), and then at bar 44 it outlines 07, G7.

      The above examples demonstrate very well the level of spontaneity and empathy that is present between the players. Author Geoff Dyer made the following comment about the trio – ” … while listening to the trio, it is often impossible to tell who is leading and who is following, who is
      initiating and who is responding.”

      Jazz Improvisation? Keith Jarrett – A musical analysis

      Another example of harmonic suspension can be found at bars 80 (a 07 chord is outlined over a
      G7 [see ex.76]).

      More examples of harmonic anticipation can be seen at bars 36 (see elS.77) and 108 (where the line is all G7, but the chords are 07, G7). Another example of chord substitution can be found on beat 3 of bar 1 02, where a C# minor harmony is played in place of G 7 (see ex. 78).

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      The variations here, of course, create tension, add color, and contribute to a sense of harmonic sophistication and freedom.


      Not surprisingly, a lyrical quality again pervades here, but the overall melodic character is quite different to Stella by Starlight. The minor key and different rhythmic feel of the piece (particularly the double time section) obviously contribute to this, but it is also testament to Jarrett’s range and ability to improvise fresh lines each time he plays. lan Carr, talking about one of Jarrett’s solo tracks, compared his fast runs with those of Art Tatum- “… whereas the latter (Tatum) often performed the fast runs which were his stock-in-trade and part of his habitual repertoire, Jarrett seems to be actually conceiving and playing new lines at this
      amazing speed and intensity.”

      The organizational approach tends to be based upon scalar shapes. More than anything else, but there is a large variety of these (a lot of which utilize chromaticism), and arpeggiated figures feature throughout. The previously mentioned allusions to the original melody can be found in bars 5 and 6 (see ex.79), 10, 26, and 31-33, and once more, grace notes can be
      seen in the last bar of the solo break, and bars 8 (see ex.80), 9, 12, etc.

      Before the aspect of chromaticism is looked at, the general diatonic shapes will be described, and again, these range from scale passages (bars 3 [see ex.81], 49 and 50 [beats 4 and 1 respectively], 74 etc.), to scalar-type figures (bars 53 [see ex.82], 67, 78 etc.), to more purely melodic shapes (bars 2 [see ex.83], 7 [beats 3 and 4], 31, 38 etc.), and to melodic shapes which feature large intervals (last bar of solo break [see ex.84], bars 1, 22, 46, 70, etc.).

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      The use of chromaticism will be described as before:-
      The use of chromatic notes as,

      1) Components of chromatic scale passages (bars 42 [last 2 semi quavers to beat 2 of 43 – see ex.85 ], 91[first 6 semi quavers, 94 [beat 2]etc. ).
      2) Passing tones (bars 15 [see ex.86], 28 [beat 1, 2nd semi quaver], 36 [beat 3, last semi quaver], 56 [beat 2, 2nd semi quaver] etc.).
      3) Approach tones (bars 7 [see ex.87], 27 [last semi quaver], 28 [beat 2, last semi quaver], 52 [first semi quaver] etc.).
      4) Dissonant tones which fall on the main beats and then resolve (bars 8 [beat 3], 16 [see ex.88], 28 [beat 3, 3rd semi quaver], 41 [B natural], etc.).
      5) Upper and or lower neighbour tones (bars 36 [see ex.89], 46 [beat 3], 54 [beat 3]).
      6) Components of general or universal melodic shapes (“1” – bar 55; “2” – bars 43, 59 [beat 4, slightly modified], 68 [beat 3]; “3” – bar 93; “4” – bars 36, 56 [beat 3], 68 [beat1], 90 [beat 3], 1 08 [beat 2 – These differ slightly from the original model, but have the same shape]; “5” – bars 43, 56 [beat 4], 69 [beat 1], 103 [beat 3 – These tend to differ a little from one another, but all have similar shapes] – For examples see ex. go).

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      jazz sheet music

      The arpeggiated figures tend to utilize either traditional seventh-type formations (bars 18-20 [see ex.91], 59 [beat 2], 71 [beat 4], 89, 90 etc.), superimposed triads (bar 21 [see ex.92], bar 39 [G/C minor= C min maj.9], bar 66 [Bb/07 = 07alt.] etc.), or combinations of triads (bar 95 [see ex.93], bar 102 [Bb & Ab minor/07 = 07alt.,013b5b9].). Obviously, these provide contrast to the prevailing scalar approach.

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      The role of the left hand

      In general the left hand is used throughout, although there are two sections where it is absent for a number of bars {60-63 and 72-78), and in the second of these, it contributes to the leveling out that occurs at the beginning of the third chorus. This connection actually typifies the overall role here, as the left hand tends to be an integral part of the changes in intensity.

      In the first chorus, there are many sustained chords along with shorter ones, and they tend to be both on and off the beat, this mirroring the steady build of the solo (see ex.94). In the second and third choruses (which feature the double time feel), the chords on the whole tend to become shorter and more syncopated, and are particularly active in supporting the increases in intensity.

      This often involves the playing of longer chords which are heavily accented and off the beat (bars 48-51(see ex.95), 65, 69,70 [see Harmony] etc.) as well as shorter, busier configurations (bars 52 (see ex.96), 56, 66, 68 etc. The long chord at bar 105 delineates the beginning of the brief wind down section (see ex.97).

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      Closing melody section

      The character here contrasts very much with the preceding bass solo section (which maintains the aforementioned double time feel), and is played essentially with a half-time feel. This is achieved primarily by Jarrett’s use of a more sustained, minim based left-hand accompaniment, and the pattern that DeJohnette plays on the ride cymbal.

      Again, we see the retention of enough elements from the opening melody section (essentially the same chord changes, a similar approach to the melody, a certain sparseness, occasional hints of the same rhythmic ploys) to ensure thematic continuity, but also enough differences (the previously mentioned half time feel, subtle harmonic variations, a little more of the original
      melody, less rhythmic tension) to give it a change of character, and make it clear to the listener that a musical journey has taken place. Once more, Jarrett’s cadenza begins at the final resolution point (bar 35).

      The cadenza (see ex.98)

      This is 37 bars long, and lasts for just under a minute. Its basic structure is fairly simple, as it essentially utilizes one melodic motif throughout, and uses a harmonic progression which descends chromatically from the dominant of the relative major, Bb, to the tonic, C minor. (Note that this progression ties in with the chromatic progressions that occur in the introduction.)

      The motif is derived from the melody notes that originally occur in bar 34 (see ex.99), and these, of course, are derived from the main theme of the piece. As it begins, Jarrett changes into 3/4 and doubles the speed (the quavers of the closing melody section then become crotchets), and much like the introduction, it is played in tempo throughout (except for a brief ritardando at the end).

      However, the rhythm of the melody in this case is a constant stream of crotchets, and potential monotony is avoided by the use of (again) varied time signatures (the aforementioned 3/4 combined with many bars of 4/4 and 5/4), changes to the melody notes (which of course reflect the changing harmonies), and the use of counter melodies in the tenor part. The tonal center of C minor is established by the reiteration of the tonic in the last 10 bars, and the movement of the counter melody, which circles around the fifth until the final resolution.

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      Jarrett’s statement here functions very well in providing a thematically based conclusion to the piece, and does so once more with just the right balance of repetition and variety.

      Overview and Summary

      The introduction, again of course, functions as a prelude, but because in this case the melody of the song is not used, there is very much a sense of it being a piece in itself. This compositional quality is enhanced by the consistent pulse, which leaves little room for reflection. Its shape tends to be that of a gradual build towards a climax and then a winding down, which clearly signifies a delineation between sections, and of course sets the mood for the opening melody section.

      This section obviously introduces the melody of the piece and the ensemble part, but also has its own profile, which is most apparent in the first half of the B section (where a rhythmic displacement occurs). The first eight bars of the C section (where there is a rhythmic block chord passage), and then in the last four bars where there is a clear breathing space between sections.

      The piano solo once more functions as a development section. And in the first chorus it steadily works towards the second, where the change to the double time feel, though creating a different mood, feels like a natural progression. Again, the second and third choruses continue the development. Essentially, by increasing the levels of intensity via plateaus until a climax is reached. The wind down following the climax of course serves to delineate the piano solo from the bass solo, but in this case it is only four bars long. And the intensity level is still relatively high.

      The closing melody section, once more, functions as the final part of the development by the ensemble, and again (as previously mentioned) makes it apparent that a musical journey has occurred through another change in character. This character changes immediately once Jarrett signifies his intention to begin the cadenza, and prompts the band to drop out. The
      cadenza then functions as a coda that has obvious thematic content, similarities to the introduction, and is again, of course, played by the piano alone.

      The overall impression one gets from this performance is similar to that of the previous piece. There is a sense of it being a musical story which is high on passion, very flowing, and definitely “in the moment” at all times. Again, this story is made up of many musical episodes which are underpinned by a strong sense of form and structure, but the level of
      spontaneity makes it a different story to Stella by Starlight, and the straight eighths feel and inherent differences in the introductions (of course) contribute to this.

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      Keith Jarrett – Tokyo Solo 2002 Encores

      Musical Analysis

      Mozart Fantasia in C minor, K. 475 (piano) with sheet music

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      Mozart Fantasia in C minor, K. 475 (piano) with sheet music

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      Formal analysis: Mozart’s Fantasia K. 475, C minor

      It must be noted that, at the time when W. A. Mozart’s Phantasie K. 475 was created (1785), the elements of musical fantasy – which primarily caused the accentuation of the emotional basis in music in general or, in other words, conditioned the strengthening of musical fantasy as an expression of emotional sentiment, or contributed to the emphasizing of musical-fantasy enthusiasm as a direct expression and emotion – brought about their self-alteration and self-immersion into emotions.

      Namely, they seemingly immersed themselves into, or identified themselves with, the elements of the then new general tendencies of (re)animating emotionalism, which would especially develop in 19th-century music (Popović Mladjenović, 2009).

      Mozart’s Phantasie transcended the historical and stylistic moment in which it was created, thus what Mozart began was finished by Liszt in his piano composition W. A. Mozart’s Phantasie in C minor, K. 475 103 Sonata in B-minor (1852–1853). It is perfectly reasonable that Mozart’s Phantasie served as a model to Franz Liszt for a typological definition of his one-movement sonata cycle.

      The sections existing in Mozart’s (Sonate)-Phantasie (Table 1) represent parts of the sonata form, but at the same time, the same sections, owing to their pronounced singularity (in the sense of thematic and tonal contrasts) constitute quasi movements in the imagined sonata cycle, and this effect is further enhanced by the frequent extreme changes of tempo. (The used score: W. A. Mozart, Sonaten und Fantasien für Klavier in vier Bänden, Urtextausgabe, Band III, Veb Breitkopf & Härtel Musikverlag, Leipzig, 1956.)

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      Observed from this angle, Mozart’s Phantasie offers a considerably sharper picture of the applied formal model. The model which is applied is the sonata form with mirror recapitulation.

      The other possible model is the one-movement sonata cycle:
      1st movement – Adagio (Exposition)
      2nd movement –Allegro (Development)
      3rd movement – Andantino (“Recapitulation of the second subject”)
      4th movement – Piú allegro + Tempo primo (“Transition from the exposition”+recapitulation of the first subject, and coda /entirely Tempo primo viewed as Coda of the 4th movement and, at the same time, of this possible one-movement sonata cycle/).

      The most provocative relation in the work is the absence of thematic correlation in the “repeated” second subject (Figure 2). In this case, interaction is accomplished by the construction and character, as secondary elements. Elements from the structural level are additionally supported by tonal elements: by no means less important is the fact
      that the musical flow of the second subject is both times in a major key, against the minor key reserved for the first subject (D-major and B flat-major – a key that is a major second apart from the principal key of C-minor).

      Formal analysis

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      Also, the transition from the exposition represents the starting point for the development, for its considerable extension in the reverse recapitulation, as well as in the coda of the entire work. In addition, the ends of these segments of the music unfolding in time (transition, development, extended transition in recapitulation and coda) perform recognizable musical semantic functions. In addition, the functions with formal meanings especially distinguish themselves with respect to the three-part structure of the development and recapitulation of the transition.


      Concerning the perceptive segmentation of the music unfolding in time, which implies a ‘step-by-step’ analysis, the least number of the registered segments was detected by two respondents, while one respondent detected the greatest number, thus exceeding the others. The number of segments observed by the other respondents ranges between 12 and 24. These other respondents mostly detected the greatest number of sections and subsections of the given music piece, whereas they did not single out the macro-parts of the form, nor did they segment the infraphrasal (micro-syntactic) level.

      The greatest differences in segmentation were observed with respect to the first subject and the transition from the exposition, as well as the recapitulation of the first subject and coda. The transition from the exposition is the locus which is very rarely differentiated as a unique entity, separate from the first subject.

      The first subject is rarely segmented as a sentence-periodical structure. Rather, it is perceived as a unique entity with a separate “head” (“head”-motif) of the first subject (that is, the first four bars of the entire work), which is also observed in all the cases in the recapitulation of the first subject, but its further unfolding is, like the coda, exposed in the recapitulation to the most varied designations. The last bar of the coda and, at the same time, of the work as a whole is singled out as an entity with a special meaning in almost all the cases.

      The development and the recapitulation of the extended transition were segmented into three sections by most respondents, regardless of the fact that their mutual boundaries were not always identically delineated by all of them, which is interpreted by the fragmentary structure, especially in the recapitulation of the transition, so that in this way equivalent relations (at a distance) are established between these two separate sections of the musical flow, with the same or similar musical semantic meaning.

      What is especially surprising is that the most provocative relation in the composition – the absence of any thematic similarity between the second subject from the exposition and its “repetition” in the recapitulation – was correctly observed and detected by all respondents.

      Namely, both times the second subject in all the cases was segmented in a most meticulous and precise way, as a rounded binary form with the unmistakable linkage and separation of that which is linked and that which is separated within this form, with all the designated unwritten and written repetitions, including a reference to the same subsections (which are located at a distance) in W. A. Mozart’s Phantasie in C minor, K. 475 107 those parts of the music unfolding in time. It is evident that the thematic plan is not decisive for the perception and reception of the (non)equivalent parts and their interrelations, and for the creation of cohesion networks of widely varied relations in one consistent and thoughtful music unfolding in time.

      It must also be noted that one of the respondents, who designated only 7 segments or, in other words, detected, within them, quite correctly (relative to the offered musicological/musical-theoretical analysis of shaping the music of Mozart’s Phantasie) all the sublevels of segmentation (sections, subsections, periodical and phrase structures, infraphrasal and motif level), while the respondent who detected the greatest number of 30 segments, also determined most correctly all the groupings of the segments, from the most ramified level up to those largest sections which refer to parts of the sonata form or a possible sonata cycle.

      In the case of both respondents, one might say that both analyses – the ‘step-by-step’ analysis, characteristic of the listener and the author, and analysis of the analyst conditioned by the point of view of the observer (by watching and listening to the score inside oneself) which ranges from division into larger sections and then into smaller and the smallest – were made simultaneously, but in opposite, dual directions. In fact, the methods are mutually intertwined and, accentuate the same things, only reversely, because music is an abstract construction founded on the intuition of separation, but at the same time of connection, too. The differentiation and integration of equivalent and non-equivalent elements from the domain of musical components are not divergent, but parallel and complementary processes.

      We aimed to clarify that whenever a more pronounced process of musical shaping takes place, a conflict is possible between the potential of the habit brought about by the automatization of activities and the actual distribution of energy in the particular musical composition. Thus, in the listener himself, there is an unconscious, unperceived struggle for the identification of the carrier of expression, a struggle between the superimposed processes of thinking in the course of perception, a struggle between the possible (expected) continuations, meaning – in a word, that general, comprehensive musical dynamics are displayed.

      The segmentation of Mozart’s Phantasie, the emotional response in relation to the segments, or the relation between the emotional response and the segmented musical structure in the music unfolding in time of Mozart’s Phantasie, show that in spite of the non-standard quality of modeling, Phantasie is unmistakably perceived as a sonata, even though it is rather freely conceived (all the sections of the form are specifically interrelated; the apparently loose thematic and tonal connections of all the parts are linked into a firm whole).

      Elements with a special formal meaning indicate the existence of knowledge of the identity – of the sameness of the role of musical details despite permanent changes they are exposed to. Connected with this, if the notion of musical perception was decomposed and enriched by the notions of integrity and identity, the position of the researcher of perception would be improved to a certain extent.

      The pillars of musical structure

      It is very interesting that, in a considerable number of cases, the correction of segmentation (mostly unconscious and/or intuitive, since the segments were evidently not singled out subsequently, but were clearly localized post festum in the right place, through the textual designation of the point of gravity in the score) was made while designating the structural pillars. In most cases, the structural pillars were precisely elaborated, together with the number of segments detected and mutually adjusted at a high level among the respondents.

      Their relatively correct designation refers both to the observation of one dominant feature which coordinates the unfolding of the music at a given moment, and to the differentiation of the summary action of a number of mutually adjusted elements. These elements, in the same combination, occur several times in the work (primarily in the equivalent parts of the form), functioning as the leading direction of the current moment of the musical flux (for example, temporhythm-meter-dynamics; rhythm-articulation; rhythm-texture; dynamics-harmonyagogics…).

      In general, the fact that the number of perceived structural pillars is greater than the number of segments observed (the smaller one being in question here) indicates that in the course of listening the respondents were exposed to the entire network of floating points of gravity which changed frequently and fast. Actually, this is one of the main characteristics of the music unfolding in time of Mozart’s Phantasie, which, in emotional terms, and both at the expected and unexpected moments, strongly and constantly dynamizes the musical content.

      The almost continuous progression, the increase of tension arches and, thus, even at the moments of the regression of the music unfolding in time – the second subject in the exposition and in the reverse recapitulation – point to the emotional energy potential of such a dynamized music unfolding in view of the relatively fast change of sections a and b (and their variants), which are dominated by different structural points of gravity.

      The tempo, meter, rhythm, dynamics, articulation, texture, as the combined structural pillars, are mostly linked to the transition, development and extended recapitulation of the transition (or, it can be probably said, the transition functioning as the second development, which cuts through the point between the recapitulation of the second and first subject), while the melody, harmony, agogics, also as the primary combined
      points of gravity, are linked to the first subject and its recapitulation and coda, while the change of individual, specified pillars, such as the melody (section a of the second subject) and the rhythm (section b of the second subject), to both second subjects.

      In relation to the aforementioned, the emotional expression, which is linked to the structural points of gravity on the macro-level, is more than clear and coincides with the emotional response to the segments of the work. On the micro-level, however, that ambiguity, in the sense of existence and maintenance of the coupling of the specified same pair: the musical features – the emotional response vanishes in a large measure and, moreover, resists any attempt at generalization, because it simply emerges and acts depending on its micro-local context.

      The melody is probably the most distinctive such musical feature in Mozart’s Phantasie, which, in general, is not susceptible to linking to a specific type of emotion, or the spectrum of induced similar emotions. Depending on the musical context in which it assumes the role of the structural point of gravity, the melody is linked to extremely different emotions: both those of uncertainty and safety and fear, helplessness, as well as relaxation and indifference and foreboding, sadness, tension,
      explosion, scream.

      This insight is certainly related to the changed degree of absence of the same or similar thematic material for the establishment of equivalence of the parts of the music unfolding in time, which are at a distance in the musical flux (that is, in time!). In that sense, it becomes evident that other forms of combining and adjusting musical features in the struggle for assuming the leading role in the regulation and dynamization of the musical structure, as well as other methods of producing its specific emotional coloring begin to dissolve and/or substitute that kind of consistency and automatism of any music unfolding in time, mostly based on conventions (Popović Mladjenović, 1996).

      The emotional response pattern in relation to the segments As for the emotional response to the segmentation of the structure and musical semantic function of its parts, the respondents with the least and the greatest numbers of the designated segments (7, 24, 30) grouped them into larger parts (not into the largest!) and tied to them a specific emotional expression.

      In their doing so, one can naturally observe a very high degree of coincidence of emotions induced by those structures, through the nuanced demonstration of individual specifics. Something that is a general feature in the case of the three above-mentioned respondents (the grouping of segments with respect to the structural emotion) occurs sporadically in the case of the other respondents as well. In all those cases, one can observe the following connections, both between the parts of the form themselves and between their musical-semantic function and the induced, quite specific emotional expression.

      However, in the case of the second subject, both in the exposition and the
      recapitulation, the emotional responses of absolutely all the respondents were the same.

      Musical Analysis

      Beethoven – Piano Sonata No 17 in D minor op 31 2 “Tempest” performed and commented by Glenn Gould

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      BeethovenPiano Sonata No 17 in D minor op 31 2 “Tempest” performed and commented by Glenn Gould

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      Piano Sonata No. 17 (Beethoven)

      The Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2, was composed in 1801–02 by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is usually referred to as The Tempest (or Der Sturm in his native German), but the sonata was not given this title by Beethoven, or indeed referred to as such during his lifetime.

      The name comes from a reference to a personal conversation with Beethoven by his associate Anton Schindler in which Schindler reports that Beethoven suggested, in passing response to his question about interpreting it and Op. 57, the Appassionata sonata, that he should read Shakespeare‘s Tempest; some however have suggested that Beethoven may have been referring to the works of C. C. Sturm, the preacher and author best known for his Reflections on the Works of God in Nature, a copy of which he owned and, indeed, had heavily annotated.

      Although much of Schindler’s information is distrusted by classical music scholars, this is a first-hand account unlike any other that any scholar reports. The British music scholar Donald Francis Tovey says in A Companion to Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas:

      With all the tragic power of its first movement the D minor Sonata is, like Prospero, almost as far beyond tragedy as it is beyond mere foul weather. It will do you no harm to think of Miranda at bars 31–38 of the slow movement… but people who want to identify Ariel and Caliban and the castaways, good and villainous, may as well confine their attention to the exploits of Scarlet Pimpernel when the Eroica or the C minor Symphony is being played (pg. 121).

      Innovations in Beethoven’s Op. 31 No. 2 “Tempest” Sonata

      The Op. 31 No. 1 & No. 2 sonatas were most likely written in Heilegenstadt, as is suggested both by their presence in the Kessler sketchbook (dating them to 1801-1802) and Ferdinand Ries’s accounts. According to Czerny, after writing his Op. 28 sonatas, Beethoven said to his friend Krumpholtz: “I am not very well satisfied with the work I have thus far done. From this day on I shall take a new way”, which Czerny later associated with the Op. 31 sonatas. Beethoven’s comment about the “new way” has created a lot of controversy, and different scholars have had different interpretation of what it meant.

      Nonetheless, the sonata Op. 31 No. 2 is unquestionably one of the greatest classical sonatas and occupies an important place within Beethoven’s career. Rosen calls the opening of the Op. 31 No. 2 sonata “the most dramatic that Beethoven had yet conceived, with a contrast of tempos and motifs, and a radical opposition of mood.” The Op. 13 sonata “Pathétique” also starts off with a similar juxtaposition of tempos and motifs, but in that case, the materials present in the starting Grave/Allegro molto con brio do not germinate the rest of the movement as will be shown to be the case in Op. 31, no. 2.“The opening motif…is a motto and it will govern the entire work”.

      This opening is constructed in a set of antecedent/consequent phrases. The first phrase, in Largo and pianissimo, is an upward arpeggiation of an A major chord in first inversion that starts out as a rolled chord. Nonetheless the top note of the rolled chord – A – continues melodically into a rhythmicized horizontalization of the A chord. The consequent to this is a dynamic Allegro phrase characterized by falling two-note slurs in the right hand that are contrasted by a rising bass line.

      Beethoven sheet music

      This material repeats bar 7, now transposed into F major, but there is no clear cadence to be found until bar 21, where, in a seemingly new thematic material, the last four notes of the Largo antecedent phrase are now taken up in the bass register while the right hand accompanies by tempestive fast triplets in forte.

      An important aspect to keep in mind here is the registral space that is opened up between the iterations of the main thematic material in the bass and the melodic responses in the right-hand line. At bar 41, the two-note slur motivic figure of the consequent phrase from bars 2-5 returns, but in a different melodic and harmonic guise.

      Beethoven sheet music

      Thus, the first two pages of the sonata generate from the first five bars, as the closing theme of the exposition (bars 75-87) derives its melodic content from the 5-4-3-2- 1 descent of the initial Allegro motive, though now in the dominant key. As Jones notes, even the chromatic turn around of bars 5-6 returns in new guises but with the same melodic pitches in bars 22 and 55.

      Beethoven sheet music

      Thus the first two pages of the sonata generate from the first five bars, as the closing theme of the exposition (bars 75-87) derives its melodic content from the 5-4-3-2-1 descent of the initial Allegro motive, though now in the dominant key. As Jones notes5, even the chromatic turn around of bars 5-6 returns in new guises but with the same melodic pitches in bars 22 and 55.

      The development starts with a re-interpretation of the Largo rolled chords as arpeggios, which are longer (i.e. containing more notes) and thus allow for higher expressivity. After three permutations of the Largo motive, very unexpectedly the material of bars 21-40 (based on the Allegro part of the main theme) returns now in F# minor and fortissimo, thus completely skipping the actual Allegro theme, as it appears on bars 2-5.

      Even the earlier (and sometimes not most convincing) analyses of the piece have noted the unusual nature of this development section, which is not constructed, as most developments in classical sonatas were, upon sequences and breakdown of motives, but rather it moves to a hole new key area. The idea of keeping the exposition materials practically intact (though transposed to a foreign key) is thus definitely a new element that Beethoven brings with this sonata.

      Nonetheless, what does happen as expected in this development section is an increase in tension, which is in part achieved through a gradual and carefully paced ascent in the bass line, from F# to D. Rosen notes that “the use of a rising bass at moments when the tension must be heightened is indispensable to Beethoven starting with op. 2, no. 2”. In the first movement of Op. 31, no. 2, the bass rises gradually over 20 bars (98-118) as the development section gets underway. An implied augmented sixth chord based on Bb propels the piece into a 12-bar prolongation of the A major dominant in fortissimo (bars 121- 132). Then a 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 melodic descent (for A major) in whole notes, with an A pedal in the bass, brings us to bar 137, where we get a hint of the recapitulation, through the C# and E grace notes that create an A chord.

      Beethoven sheet music

      The sforzando B flat in bar 139 then implies a dominant ninth chord, which is never played out vertically but is rather filled in horizontally as the 9th interval is outlined on the strong beats of bars 139 through 143 . It is interesting to note here that the dominant ninth plays an extremely important role in Beethoven’s compositions in preceding the recapitulation (as will also be shown even more prominently in the second and third movements) and it plays that same role here of creating a tension and an expectation of future release.

      Nonetheless, it should be remembered that the main “theme” in the exposition did not include a single root position tonic chord, and thus the recapitulation at bar 143 reinstates not the stability of the tonic but rather the instability of the dominant, as present in the exposition.

      Yet, we are now in a very different place than we were in the beginning, and the Largo is a much longer and more convoluted version of the first two bars. This is possibly the most extraordinary moment of the entire sonata, where the “expressive implications [of the mysterious arpeggios] are made explicit”. Within the recitative passage, the dominant ninth chord is again horizontally implied as the tension is not released but rather increased in a moment where, though in pianissimo, uncertainty of expectations is heightened to the edge.

      With the second iteration of the Largo motive (starting with the original first inversion C major chord) the piece comes to a halt at the tonally ambiguous Ab of bar 158. Beethoven swiftly enharmonizes the Ab to a G# that is part of a first inversion C# major chord leading to improvisatory arpeggios in F# minor. What is lacking in this recapitulation section is the strong tonal arrival on D minor that came originally at bar 21. In fact the whole passage of bars 21-40 is not recapitulated.

      The material that was originally in the dominant (starting at bar 41), as expected, is now recapitulated in the tonic, but it should not go unnoticed that the only strong cadence and arrival in the tonic (after that of bar 21) comes at the end of the movement (bar 217). This concept is very important not only for the development of Beethoven’s personal style and that of classical music but also in its role in the birth of romanticism. It is noteworthy that already in 1802, with Op. 31 No. 2 Beethoven creates a “sense of an unstoppable transformation process by constructing the music in unprecedentedly long spans, avoiding strong cadential closure”.

      This sense of unstoppable transformation in the first movement is also due the “processual” character of its structure. I have thus far described the different musical phrases as being in the exposition, development, or recapitulation, thus conforming to the generally accepted notion of sonata form. Nonetheless one of the things that make Op. 31 No. 2 special is its redefinition of sonata form in terms of a transformational process, rather than a neatly divisible form.

      It has already been mentioned the motivic relationsbetween the different materials in this movement, but it is also important to note howthese materials function structurally. At the outset of the piece, the rolled/arpeggiated A major chord in the first two bars appears to be more like introductory material that precedes the main theme than the exposition of the main theme itself.

      It is only later in the piece, when this material returns, both reworked (as in bar 21) and verbatim (as in bar 143) that its significance is realized. In Dahlhaus’ words: “bar 1 first presents itself as a prelude lacking in thematic significance, later (when viewed in retrospect from bar 21) as the anticipation of the theme and finally (after it has emerged that bars 21-40 are a modulating developmental passage) as the actual exposition”. “Bars 1-2 ‘are’ not either prelude, or anticipation or thematic exposition” but they set in motion a “dialectic process, where earlier meanings continue to coexist on equal footing with later ones”.

      The listener thus “follows the process of transformation” in which the motives/themes fulfill several functions at a time and the processual aspect of structure coexists with, if not supersedes the theoretical divisions of sonata form. In this case, in fact, the fact that bar 1 cannot easily be identified as either introduction or exposition is in no way a weakness. Rather, “ambiguity should be understood as an aesthetic quality” as it is “the very contradictions of the form that constitute its artistic character”. While the motivic relationships and their transformations are probably the clearest within the first movement, there are notable connections between the movements as well.

      The second movement “transforms elements from the first movement in a warmer context”. The arpeggio from bar one of the first movement is now re-taken in the warmer and more stable Bb key (in root position), while the “double dotted rhythms are reminiscent of the recitative”.

      Beethoven sheet music

      continue to coexist on equal footing with later ones”12. The listener thus “follows the process of transformation” in which the motives/themes fulfill several functions at a time and the processual aspect of structure coexists with, if not supersedes the theoretical divisions of sonata form. In this case, in fact, the fact that bar 1 cannot easily be identified as either introduction or exposition is in no way a weakness. Rather, “ambiguity should be understood as an aesthetic quality”13 as it is “the very contradictions of the form that constitute its artistic character”14.While the motivic relationships and their transformations are probably the clearest within the first movement, there are notable connections between the movements as well.

      The second movement “transforms elements from the first movement in a warmer context”15. The arpeggio from bar one of the first movement is now re-taken in the warmer and more stable Bb key (in root position), while the “double dotted rhythms are reminiscent of the recitative”. It is quite striking to note that the last two notes (F – D) outlined in the melody of the final chords of the first movement are also the same exact notes that are outlined in the first melodic passage of the second movement (bar 2), though now in the new harmonic context.

      As Taub notes, it is quite important as a pianist to voice the last two chords of the first movement to the top, in such a way that they will remain in the listener’s auditory memory until they are picked up again in the second movement.

      In contrast to the first movement’s design, the structure of the second movement is much simpler and more easily and unequivocally identifiable as a sonata form withoutdevelopment. On the other hand, there are several subtle compositional links with the first movement. One of the key characteristics of this movement is the registral space that is opened at the very beginning, which is reminiscent of the technique used in the first movement (bars 21-40 and 99-121). Similarly to the first movement, “the opening thematic statement is richer in what it implies than in what it actually contains”. As the first theme material repeats at bar 9, what was essentially hollow space in the first eightbars starts to get filled in, as the rhythmic pace also picks up.

      Beethoven sheet music

      The transition passage, with its relentless and tension-building character provided by the drum-roll figure in the bass leads into the second theme (at bar 31, in the dominant, F major), which is by contrast the most serenely beautiful material of the entire sonata. Nonetheless, after only eight bars, the tension starts building, as Beethoven introduces again the dominant ninth chord that had such a prominent role in the opening movement to prepare for the return of the tonic in the recapitulation.

      The second time through the first theme (bars 51-59) Beethoven completely fills in the initial registral gap with cascading and notes that embellish the main melodic line. After the recapitulation in the tonic of the second theme and a quick motion to the subdominant (bar 85), the main theme returns for a final time at the coda (bar 89), where the registral gap again widens and the texture gets thinner. The last bar is a very concise distillation of the motivic material that as made up most of the movement and in the same time it foreshadows the melodic motion ( 3 – 2 – 1 ) that the main theme of the third movement is made of.

      The second movement, both because it is cast in the most traditional form of the three movements, and because of its relatively symmetric form serves as a central axis for the outer two movements, which share several characteristics, especially in terms of their harmonic language. While, in contrast to the first movement, the third movement starts with a clear tonic D in the bass, the pedal A in the tenor voice does introduce a tonal ambiguity that, as in the first movement is really only resolved at the end. While from the very beginning the 3/8 Allegretto sets up perpetum mobile-type rhythmic activity, it is only at bar 30 that the true “Sturm und Drang” nature of the first theme appears.

      Here, now in forte (while the first eight bars were in piano) the melodic content of the first theme is transferred to the low register of the bass while the right hand imitates the left hand rhythm but off by two eighth notes, thus creating an incredible pull and tension in the rhythmic structure.

      Beethoven sheet music

      appears. Here, now in forte (while the first eight bars were in piano) the melodic content of the first theme is transferred to the low register of the bass while the right hand imitates the left hand rhythm but off by two eighth notes, thus creating an incredible pull and tension in the rhythmic structure. After this figure repeats transposed down to C major, through an augmented sixth chord on F we arrive at the second theme (bar 43), which is yet another reconfiguration, in a different metric and harmonic context, of the two note slur figure from the first movement theme.

      Beethoven sheet music

      We have now clearly modulated to the dominant A minor, butas in the first movement, Beethoven avoids a strong cadential closure (here in the dominant) through “elision” (bar 51) and “interruption” (bars 59 and 63). Even when A minor is reached through a perfect cadence (bars 67 and 73), the subito piano transforms the phrase endings into the start of a new forward-propelling phrases. Anotherdominant ninth chord at the last four bars of the exposition lead (after the repeat) to an unexpected F# diminished chord that starts the development section.

      As Jones notes, this development section is very characteristic in its persistence of the same rhythmic pattern, derived from the first theme – in fact the second theme material appears nowhere in the development. The first theme material does appear almost verbatim and the choice of the key to which Beethoven transposes it here (bar 150) – B flat minor– is quite intriguing. After a long transitional section including, at its end (bars 189-214), a 26-bar longprolongation of the dominant ninth sonority (whose importance in preceding the recapitulation has been noted in the previous movements), the opening theme returns again in the tonic.

      As expected of a recapitulation the second theme is nowrestated in the tonic. Nonetheless, the original “Sturm und Drang” material from bar 29 is nowtransposed to the key of B-flat minor.As noted earlier, in the first movement, Beethoven first uses F# minor in the beginning of the development section (bar 98) and then returns to this foreign key in the middle of the recapitulation (bar 161), where improvisatory material replaces the theme of bars 21-40, which is not recapitulated. Of course, the theme of bars 21-40 preceded the recapitulation, but it was there constructed in F# minor, the key that returns at bar 161.

      A similar maneuver happens in the third movement, whereBeethoven uses in repetition the key of Bb minor. Starting in bars 130 of the development section, the key of Bb minoris emphasized until finally, at bar 150, the first theme suddenly reappears (bars 150½- 157½ are a direct transposition to Bb minor of the first theme). As in the first movement, in the third-movement recapitulation section, Beethoven breaks out of the normal sequence of keys to go back to Bb minor (the “foreign” key, as F# minor was in the first movement).

      As Rosen remarks (p. 172), Beethoven again uses this idea of returning, in the recapitulation, to the most unusual key of the development section in his “Hammerklavier” Sonata, but Op. 31 No. 2 is his first attempt at such a technique and thus represents a very important innovation.

      It is important to note here Beethoven’s merits with regards to establishing key-relationships as an important compositional element. Toveyobserves that “the darker colors, such as Ab to C (Vi to I) are often evident in Mozart” while “the brighter key relations, such as C to E (I to III) are apparent in Haydn’s late works”. But “neither Haydn nor Mozart took the risk of giving a remote key an essential function in a continuous and highly organized movement”.

      It is only after Beethoven, especially with Schubert that we see the major third key relation becoming typical. For example, in the exposition of the String Quartet in G Schubert goes through a tonal sequence D-F#-Bb-D. Curiously, these are the same keys that Beethoven goes through in his Op. 31 No. 2 sonata, but in the sonata they are all in their minor mode.

      Nonetheless, it must be noted that Beethoven was experimenting with key areas for some time and the innovations did not start with Op. 31 No.2, rather they continued in the path of Beethoven’s search for an individual style. In the sonata Op. 26 (written 1800-1801) Beethoven tries the idea of remaining in the same key of Ab throughout the four movements (the third movement being in the minor mode). Op. 27 No. 1 (written 1800-1801), on the other hand goes from Eb (movement 1 – Andante) to C minor (movement 2 – Allegro molto e vivace) to Ab (movement 3 – Adagio con espressione) and back to Eb (movement 4 – Allegro vivace). The sonata Op. 27, no. 1 is one of the set of two sonatas subtitled by Beethoven “Quasi una fantasia”, the second of which is the slightly more celebrated “Moonlight” sonata. In both these sonatas Beethoven tries out new models for the different component movements defying the general expectations of what a piano sonata was supposed to be.

      While the “Moonlight” with its contemplative first movement possibly gave way to more speculation, Op. 27 No. 1 is definitely worthy of attention. Two elements particularly in this sonata are an important precursor to Op. 31 No. 2. Firstly, the key relations (especially in major thirds) are present not only betweenthe movements but also within the movements. Jones shows very clearly the big-scale tonal scheme of the sonata:

      Beethoven sheet music

      Secondly, in an unprocessed way, we find here an attempt to integrate the movements within a unified work by means of using the same motive in two different movements. The first 6 bars of the third movement are largely cut and pasted before the coda in the fourth movement, transposed by a fifth up. Obviously this relationship is not extremely subtle, but it can be seen how Beethoven then reuses this idea of motivic unity in Op. 31 No. 2 in a less apparent but exceptionally consistent manner.

      In the sonatas Op. 27, no. 2 and Op. 28 Beethoven goes back to the idea of one-key for the entire work, with C# minor (Adagio sostenuto) – Db (Allegretto) – C# minor(Presto agitato) in Op. 27 No. 2 and D (Allegro) – D minor (Andante) – D (Scherzo) – D (Rondo)in Op. 28. Then he returns, with Op. 31, no. 1, to the 3-movement sonata with G-C-G the keys of the respective movements, but he uses the “foreign”, major third-related key of B major for the second subject at the first movement’s exposition (bar 66), after the first subject’s G major. “The Op.20’s sonatas confirm that for Beethoven the piano sonatas were a field of experimentation”.

      Especially with the “quasi una fantasia” sonatas Beethoven attempts to unite the different movements as one continuous composition and, after having toyed with the number, quality and inter-relation of the movements, Beethoven concentrates his experimentation in Op. 31, no. 2 on the inner workings of each movement. In a way, within the general goal of creating a unified sonata, his focus shifts from the outer appearance of the movements (in the Op. 20’s) to the inner workings of each movement (Op. 31).

      A final note about Beethoven’s experimentations in the Op. 31 sonata has to do not with structure, but with sound. It is fascinating that the three movements of the Sonata Op. 31, no. 2, as well as Op. 31, no. 1, end quietly, without the classical formal ending with big chords31. Considering the fact that both these sonatas were written during Beethoven’s permanence in Heilegenstadt, it would not be a very far-fetched theory to say that this experimentation with sound might have been at least in part due to Beethoven’s increasing awareness of his hearing loss32.

      Nonetheless, the soft ending of each movement also serves to “prolong the atmosphere beyond the final chords”. This not only imbues a greater meaning to the short moments of silence between the movements but it also aids in creating the feeling of the sonata as a continuous work, to which end also serve, the motivic relationships within and between movements as well as the avoidance of cadences.

      Thus, whether autobiographically induced or not, the experimentation with sound eventually has an effect in the structural unity of the piece. Many scholars have considered Beethoven’s realization of his future permanent hearing loss in Heilegenstadt during 1802 as a crucial point that defined his compositional style. Solomon claims that Beethoven’s this served as a “fresh start”, a turning point in his style.

      Nonetheless, such absolutist claims should be read with caution. Kinderman points to letters of Beethoven to Wegeler and Amenda in 1801 where it is clear that already for at least a couple of years before that he has been seriously preoccupied with his hearing loss. Thus it is very hard to identify within a moment or even a few weeks/months Beethoven’s personal crisis associated with his hearing loss. In Jones’ words, “rather than representing a turning point [the Heilegenstadt testament] may be seen as continuing a crystallization of thoughts that Beethoven had been exploring for some time”.

      On the musical side, it has also been shown here that, while the Op. 31, no. 2 sonata presents multiple innovative compositional techniques, many of such techniques were already used or toyed with in previous works. Further, to say that Beethoven’s “new way” started suddenly in this one piece would be a very simplistic and even offensive way to regard music of such stature. Perhaps closer to the truth is the notion that in his long artistic life of improvement and innovation, Op. 31, no.2 is but oneof many noteworthy examples.


      (Tovey 1931; Tovey 1944; Thayer 1964; Sonneck 1967; Tyson 1973; Webster 1978; Kerman 1983; Broyles 1987; Solomon 1988; Wolff 1990; Dahlhaus 1991;Kinderman 1995; Lockwood 1996; Jones 1999; Rosen 2002; Taub 2002; Lockwood2003)Broyles, M. (1987). The Emergence and Evolution of Beethoven’s Heroic Style. New York, NY, Excelsior Music Publishing Co.Dahlhaus, C. (1991). Ludwig van Beethoven: Approaches to his Music. Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press.Jones, T. (1999). Beethoven: The ‘Moonlight’ and other Sonatas Op. 27 and Op. 31. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.Kerman, J. T., Alan (1983). The New Grove Beethoven. New York, NY, W. W. Norton & Company.Kinderman, W. (1995). Beethoven. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA, University of California Press.Lockwood, L. (1996). “Reshaping the Genre: Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas from Op. 22 to Op. 28 (1799-1801).” Israel Studies in Musicology 6: 1-16.Lockwood, L. (2003). Beethoven: the Music and the Life. New York, NY, W. W. Norton & Company.Rosen, C. (2002). Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas: A Short Companion. New Haven, CT, Yale University Press.Gjergji GaqiMU 48317Solomon, M. (1988). Beethoven Essays. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press.Sonneck, O. J. (1967). Beethoven: Impressions by his Contemporaries. New York, NY, Dover Publications Taub, R. (2002). Playing the Beethoven Sonatas. Portland, OR, Amadeus Press.Thayer, A. W. (1964). Life of Beethoven. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press.Tovey, D. F. (1931). A Companion to Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. London, UK, The Associated Board of the R.A.M. and the R.C.M.Tovey, D. F. (1944). Beethoven. London, UK, Oxford University Press.Tyson, A. (1973). Beethoven Studies. New York, NY, W. W. Norton & Company.Webster, J. (1978). “Schubert’s Sonata Form and Brahm’s First Maturity.” 19th Century Music 2(1): 18-35.Wolff, K. (1990). Masters of the Keyboard: Individual Style Elements in the PIano Music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, and Brahms. Bloomington, IN, Indiana University Press.

      Musical Analysis

      Some principles in Jazz musical analysis (1)

      Some principles in Jazz musical analysis (1)

      Melody Analysis

      Analyzing melody is done by numbering each note according to the mode (C Mixolydian, in this example).

      Jazz musical analysis

      An Avoid Note

      In this example, the 4th note is the Avoid Note to the Mixolydian. Therefore, it will be marked as (4), which indicates it is one of the Scale

      Jazz musical analysis

      The definition of the Avoid Note is:
      1) Do not start with.
      2) Do not hold with.
      3) Do not end with.

      A Passing Note

      Jazz musical analysis

      Passing Note is a note located between the notes from the mode. A Passing Note must be preceded by a 1/2 step, and followed by a 1/2 step
      as well. Note that D# in this example is not T#9th because the Passing Note function is obvious.

      An Approach Note

      Jazz musical analysis

      An Approach Note , unlike a Passing Note, is a note that is followed by a note from the mode by a 1/2 step. Note that D# in this example is not T#9th because the Approach Note function is obvious.

      A Double Approach Note

      Jazz musical analysis

      A Double Approach Note is a note that is followed by an Approach Note. Note that a Double Approach note must have the opposite direction
      of an Approach Note by a whole step.


      Jazz musical analysis

      Anticipation is defined by a value smaller than the beat value (i.e., Quarter Note in 4/4). In this first example, if the note A is a quarter note placed on 2 instead of an 8th note on the end of 2, it becomes T13th against C7, and will be changed to b7th on beat 3 even though the note is tied over.

      Jazz musical analysis

      The second example shows that the Anticipation appears followed by a rest. It is easier if the imagination is used to hear the ring of the note over the rest.

      Steps required for a good musical analysis

      1. Arrow and Bracket Analysis, and the Key of the Moment indication with the box.
      Jazz musical analysis

      2. Roman Numeral Analysis and Mode (Scale) Analysis.

      Jazz musical analysis

      3. Indication for M.I.(Modal Interchange) and/or D.R.(Deceptive Resolution) if applicable.

      Jazz musical analysis

      4. Scale Degree Analysis.

      Jazz musical analysis

      How to get the correct mode scale with no screw-ups

      Jazz musical analysis

      Let’s find the correct scale for Eb Aeolian using the chart above.
      First, write out the notes across an octave from E to D (ignore the b at this point).

      Jazz musical analysis

      Next, using the chart above, find the Parent key for Eb Aeolian. The Aeolian is located at the Major 6th above the Parent key. You will get Gb Major going down a Major 6th from Eb as the Parent key.

      Apply the key signature of Gb Major to the scale above. The key signature for Gb Major is Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Cb.

      Jazz musical analysis

      This is the Eb Aeolian scale. Easy, Isn’t it?!

      Harmonic Rhythm

      Harmonic Rhythm is a division line in music that evenly divides the section. I.e., a 32 bars music form is divided in 16 bars x 2, the 16 bars section will be divided in 8 bars x 2, the 8 bars section….., a measure in 4/4 is divided in 2 beats x 2…, and so on.

      • Harmonic Rhythm creates a sense of section which affect melody as well as chord changes.
      • Note that the Blues form differs in division. The 12 bars form could have been divided into 6 bars each, but the 6 bars section cannot be divided into 3 bars each because it is an odd number. Therefore,
      the Harmonic Rhythm in a 12 bars Blues form is 4 bars x 3.
      • In most of the standard jazz music, which written in a 32 bars form, the Harmonic Rhythm subdivision is 8 bars x 4, because most common form styles are “A-A-B-A” and “A-B-A-C”.

      jazz analysis

      Compounf Chords

      Inversion is a chord with the bass which is replaced with a chord tone other than the root.

      Download the best scores and sheet music transcriptions from our Library.

      Hybrid is a chord with a bass which is other than any of chord tones. Note that the any kind of 3rd against the bass can not be included in the upper structure chord, because it will characterize a chord to the bass. Basically, the upper structure chord is derived from the scale notes against the bass. However, because the 3rd of the bass is not included, ambiguous sound will be created.

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      1) Derived from D Dorian with b7, 9, 11, and 13 those which create the upper structure chord. Since the b3rd (F) is missing from this chord, it will not sound D-7. It rather sounds C Maj7 with the 9th on the bass.

      2) Derived from G Mixolydian with 5, b7, 9 and S4. Note that the avoid note (S4: C) can be used because the 3rd (B) is missing from this chord. The sound will be D-7 with the 11th on the bass.

      3) Derived from # Locrian with 11, b7 and S2(b9). Note that the flat 9th interval created derived from D# between D and E is acceptable in two reasons. The one is because Locrian is a semidominant functioning mode, so as altered dominant tensions are, flat 9th interval will create more resolution sense. The other is because the upper structure chord creates strong unity as a chord, the ear can separate it from the bass. However, the caution must be taken when it is used.

      Polychord is a chord combined with two triads or 7th chord. Usually, the upper structure is created from the available tensions of the bottom chord. This is extremely useful when the key-board voicing is needed to be specified for ensemble arranging reasons.

      Download the best scores and sheet music transcriptions from our Library.

      Download the best scores and sheet music transcriptions from our Library.

      And now, lte’s listen to some beautiful Jazz & Blues Music: Blue Note Trip-Swing Low Fly High Full Album CD1


      00:00​ Hidden-Buscemi 03:27​ Our Love Is Here To Stay-Teddy Edwards 08:36​ Jive Samba-Cannoball Aderley 12:00​ Blue Juice-Jimmy McGriff 16:14​ For Corners-Digable Planets 23:24​ Bridge To Bama-Soulive 30:39​ Wont Open Your Senses-4 Hero 34:39​ Azule Serape-The Three Sounds 39:09​ A Time To Remember-Osunlade 43:44​ Ronnies Bonnie-Reuben Wilson 49:38​ Feeling You, Feeling Me Too-Gene Harris 51:27​ Blackjack-Donald Byrd 57:20​ Jasper Country Man-Bobbi Humphrey 01:00:33​ Funky Sneakers-Willie Bobo

      Musical Analysis

      Charlie Parker’s compositional study

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      Charlie Parker’s compositional study

      Charlie Parker (1920–1955) has long been admired as an improviser, but as brilliant as his solo skills were, Parker was also a significant jazz composer, an aspect of his musicianship that has not been sufficiently investigated and appreciated. Parker ranks as one of the most important jazz composers of his era by virtue of the quality and continuing popularity of his best-known tunes. Performed widely, they are considered seminal within the jazz repertory. Yet, despite the importance of his contribution, Parker’s approach to composition was casual, and as a result there seem to be no extant working manuscripts that might suggest how Parker composed his pieces. This article explores what we can infer about Parker’s compositional process from those instances where he made revisions to improve or (in one case) create the final product. In particular, there is one instance of Parker revising a work already completed (“Ornithology”), one instance of Parker combining two pieces by another composer into one of his own (“My Little Suede Shoes”), and two instances of Parker composing in the studio where we can hear his revisions immediately (“Red Cross” and “Blues (Fast)”).

      Ornithology by Charlie Parker

      Parker composed at the last minute, usually because he needed material for recording dates. Even more last-minute, there are instances of Parker composing during sessions themselves. For example, bassist Tommy Potter recalls,

      On record dates he could compose right on the spot. The A. & R. man would be griping, wanting us to begin. Charlie would say, “It’ll just take a minute,” and he’d write out eight bars, usually just for the trumpet. He could transpose it for his alto without a score. The channel [bridge] of the tune could be ad libbed. The rhythm section was familiar with all the progressions of the tunes which were usually the basis of originals. (Reisner 1962, 183)

      The story of the trumpet parts related by Potter is corroborated by the reproduction of two such parts in Parker and Paudras 1981. A photograph on p. 196 shows a trumpet part labeled “Si Si,” which is in fact the tune now called “Blues for Alice,” while on p. 190 we see a photograph as a collage, including a trumpet part whose name is obscured but is the tune now called “Si Si.” The names of the two tunes were probably interchanged when the records were originally produced. Parker and Paudras 1981 also shows us that Parker would indeed write out a part for himself if the tune were complicated enough and composed in advance, for on p. 313 there is a photograph of a manuscript marked “Bird” in the upper left corner.

      The manuscript is an alto part to Parker’s “Passport Rhythm,”. Atop the page, in place of a name for the tune, we see what may be “No. 2,” so it may have been the second piece Parker composed for the session.

      charlie parker sheet music pdf

      In the late 1990s, I had the opportunity to photocopy sample Parker autograph manuscripts at the Institute of Jazz Studies and came across two other Parker trumpet parts that were preserved from his recording session of August 8, 1951, the same session that produced “Blues for Alice” and “Si Si.”
      These parts contain no crossings-out or rewritten passages, and as such tell us virtually nothing about Parker’s compositional process. They may have been copied from prior manuscripts, which would have allowed us to see Parker revising his work on paper, but none of these seem extant, However, they do provide a melody notated by Parker and examples of his music manuscript.
      The Library of Congress (L. C.) has an extensive selection of copyright deposits of Parker compositions. Of the four pieces discussed in this article, “Blues (Fast)” is the only one that lacks an L. C. deposit. However, none of the other three is in Parker’s hand, and in fact the total number of L. C. deposits that were copied by Parker is small: only four out of a total of 90 deposits. An example of an L. C. deposit in Parker’s hand appears, in “Bill’s Bounce.” It may be compared to the previous examples of Parker’s manuscript.
      Far better known than his manuscripts are stories of Parker composing quickly. One of the most important Parker studio sessions was his first as a leader, which took place November 26, 1945 for Savoy Records. Sadik Hakim (Argonne Thornton), a pianist who probably performed at the session, recalls the haste of Parker’s preparation:

      I was living in the same apartment with Charlie Parker at that time (it was November 1945). He got a telegram from Savoy in the morning telling him to get a group together and make a recording date. By 10:30 A.M., he had written the two new blues, “Now’s The Time” and “Billie’s Bounce” (actually it should be Billy’s, it was dedicated to Billy Shaw), and for the other two numbers he planned to use a “head” of his those fellows were playing then which was called “Thriving From a Riff” on the record and later called “Anthropology,” and finally “KoKo”—which is based on the chords of“Cherokee,” of course. He asked me if I wanted to play on the date. Naturally I was quite thrilled and honored to be working with him. (Hakim 1959, 11)

      So early on in Parker’s maturity, as he achieved leader status, we find him composing when he needed material. However, toward the end of his life, rapid composition for a specific purpose was still the norm. Consider drummer Max Roach’s story of how “Chi Chi” was composed in 1953:

      And Bird came by, and I said “Damn!” It was like 3 o’clock in the morning. I lived on 30th Street between 3rd and 2nd Avenues and I had a basement apartment. He’d come by anytime and, of course, I let him in, whatever. He saw me laboring over this goddamn music. He said, “What’ cha doin?” I said “I got a session I’m producing; my first, myself, tomorrow.” So he says, “OK here’s a gift.” And this is the truth Phil, he sat down at a little kitchen table and a cheap piano—and I wish I had saved that goddam ’script; I never throw anything away—he wrote off the tune like a letter and I did it the next day [April 10] with Hank Mobley. We recorded it, then Bird recorded it. That’s “Chi Chi.” (Schaap 1988, 30)

      Charles Colin, a music publisher in New York City who later published Parker’s work, attended a Parker session supervised by Norman Granz, Parker’s final record producer, and provides us with a memorable account of the proceedings. Note in particular Granz’s frustration at Parker showing up without material:

      Charlie Parker’s quintet of sidemen patiently awaited instructions from Charlie. Out of the blue, Charlie Parker announced to Norman Granz: “I don’t have any music and I just can’t remember the chord changes of the bridges. We’ll fake the first eight and repeat the second eight bars but remembering the bridge is a big problem.”
      Frustrated, Norman screamed, “Here we go again! This one tune is gonna take the whole night and way into the next morning! Send a messenger to Colony Music on 48th Street and Broadway for an original copy of the piano sheet music. At least we can lay down the right chord changes.”
      This was shockingly exciting for me. I never experienced such a star holding up and delaying an important and expensive recording session. Frustrated, Norman admitted this was nothing new. Evidently this was a common occurrence for him but it was one of the most amazing, heart-beating experiences I’ve ever encountered!
      The messenger finally arrived with the sheet music and Charlie created instantaneous head arrangements! His first instructions were to have a four drum beat. Charlie would play the first eight bars by himself, then repeat the next eight. Then one of the side men would take the next eight repetitive refrains. With this layout, the quintet ran it down for the first cut! (Colin 1994, 5–6)

      The session described by Colin was not the one that created “Blues (Fast),” a piece discussed later in this article, since the piece in question was based on a popular standard and not blues changes. However, Colin’s observations corroborate Tommy Potter’s and are undoubtedly pertinent to Parker’s sessions in general; that is, since Granz claimed that Parker’s lack of preparation was the norm, Colin’s account may be taken as typical of Granz’s problems in trying to run a small-group Parker session. Also significant is the amount of time taken for Parker to create the tune, for “Blues (Fast)” required twelve takes.

      Aside from stories of Parker composing at the last minute, just before or during sessions, we have little to go on regarding how Parker may have thought about creating his compositions. The four pieces discussed in this paper vary considerably in their approach (and my treatment of them will vary accordingly), but I have chosen them because they allow us at least to glimpse some of the ways that Parker thought about creating pieces. Before proceeding to them, however, let me conclude this introduction with general remarks on jazz composition to set the stage for the Parker tunes.

      A jazz composition is a distinct musical piece by one or more musicians (its “composers”), created for or during a jazz setting, and intended for future performance or realization or later becoming available for such future performance or realization. This accords with the views suggested by some scholars that a musical composition must be “discrete, reproducible, and attributable.” Jazz compositions can be divided into three groups: large-scale works, smaller-scale works intended for improvisation, and directly improvised works.

      Larger-scale jazz compositions vary widely in scope, but always seem to show self-contained sections. “Tiger Rag” (LaRocca, 1917), “Carolina Shout” (Johnson, 1917), or “The Pearls” (Morton, 1923) are examples from the early jazz repertory that are small enough to fit the three-minute format of the 78-rpm record, but are nonetheless multi-sectioned works. More ambitious larger-scale works similarly involve multiple sections, and one or more of these might be extensive in scope. Larger-scale works may also combine elements of the Western concert-music tradition or other musical cultures with features of jazz, and sometimes conductors may be involved in directing the ensembles. Some sections or parts of sections may involve improvisation. Many jazz composers have written large-scale works, for example Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Mary Lou Williams. Charlie Parker was interested in this repertory, and he contributed improvisation to the recording of Chico O’Farrill’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite, but he did not write such works.

      The second type of jazz composition is the smaller-scale work expressly written for improvisation, and it is for this improvisational repertory that Parker composed his more traditional pieces. Works in this repertory are typically in standard song forms and often appear in fakebooks with melodies, chord symbols, and sometimes lyrics. Jazz instructional programs and method books often provide a sampling of such tunes and direct students to learn them, as they are considered fundamental to performing jazz. This improvisational repertory can itself be divided into two groups: popular songs (many of them “standards” of the American Songbook) and jazz tunes (generally understood as tunes written by jazz musicians, usually for improvisation, and sometimes called “heads”). Popular standards, by their very nature as songs, are more likely to be well known and have lyrics. Long-lived jazz tunes may be called “jazz standards,” a category often used to include those popular standards preferred by jazz musicians. Among the many jazz musicians who have written for this improvisational repertory are some of the best known.

      In addition to works written prior to being recorded, Parker also directly improvised pieces that took on a life of their own, issued as recordings with Parker credited as composer. I consider these works to be Parker “compositions,” although they are not compositions as traditionally conceived. The oral component of jazz (and presumably other musical cultures with similar characteristics) urges us to expand the idea of “composition” to account for products of improvisation with sufficient compositional attributes. Take A of Parker’s recording of Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” (Gershwin-Gershwin, 1930) on October 28, 1947, is a well-known example of his studio recordings. Although the Gershwin piece provides the title to the recording, the significant item at hand—what we care about vis à vis Parker as a jazz performer—is his interpretation of or improvisation on the pre-existing piece. The recording is a performance not of a Parker composition but rather of a Gershwin song, even though its melody is not expressly stated. The record’s title and excerpts from the original melody, particularly toward the end of the recording, connect the performance to the Gershwin original.

      In contrast to Parker’s “Embraceable You,” consider take C of Parker’s recording of “Bird of Paradise” from the same session: the recorded improvisation is based on the form and harmonies of “All the Things You Are” (Kern-Hammerstein, 1939), but not its melody. Mayhew Music Co. and Charlie Parker Music Co. jointly registered a lead sheet of the improvisation with the L. C. (deposit EU659286) on February 23, 1961, as “Bird of Paradise” and credited the piece to Charlie Parker. Therefore, the piece is not only a Parker recording, but also a Parker “composition.”

      Parker’s “Ornithology”

      1. “Ornithology” is based on the form and harmony of “How High the Moon” (Hamilton-Lewis, 1940). It remains one of the most significant compositions of early bebop. Parker sometimes neglected his best tunes, but not “Ornithology,” which he performed consistently through his career. Perhaps the conjunction of “Bird” and “Ornithology” was too tempting to ignore: how could this not be a trademark tune?
        There are two important questions regarding the creation of “Ornithology.” Was it co-composed or was it the work of a single musician? Secondly, who emended the piece between Parker’s studio recording of 1946 and the version he played later in his career? While suggestive possibilities can be provided regarding both issues, conclusions remain elusive.
        If “Ornithology” was co-composed, Parker’s partner was Benny Harris (1919–75), a bebop trumpeter and composer much on the scene in the early 1940s. “Ornithology” was among the four bebop tunes by Parker published early on in his career, and its first publication by the Atlantic Music Corporation (Parker 1948) credits him and Harris as co-composers. The subsequent reissues of the recording continue to list both composer credits, as does the BMI database (accessed December 5, 2017).
        However, it is possible that Parker or Harris worked alone. Among Parker scholars who believe that Harris was the sole composer are Giddins (1987, 64), Feather and Gitler (1999, 296), and Priestley (2005, 34). Others, such as Gioia (2012, 323) or Russell (1973, 8), imply, without insisting on the fact, that it was Parker’s work only. Koch (1999, 344) and Woideck (1996, 123) accept it as co-composed. The L. C. copyright deposit of the tune (EU51930), which might be considered significant evidence, lists only Parker as composer, but, as we have seen, deposits of jazz tunes were often informal and not especially accurate. Significantly, none of the writers just mentioned offer any proof that either Harris or Parker composed it alone. Those who feel that the work is entirely Harris’s may have drawn their conclusions from the fact that Harris apparently initiated work on the tune, and also that Parker tended to compose solely for recording sessions. Still, neither Harris nor Parker in their lifetimes ever challenged the tune’s status as co-composed, and, as to be discussed next, a consideration of its opening gesture seems to favor co-composition.
        The prehistory of “Ornithology” begins with “How High the Moon.” Benny Goodman was the first to have a hit record with the latter tune, at a time when guitarist Charlie Christian was a member of the band. Christian, then, may have introduced the tune to the late night jam sessions frequented by the beboppers (Gioia 2012, 150–51). Among them, Dizzy Gillespie began to play it regularly (Gillespie and Fraser 1979, 207; Feather 1977, 9). Gillespie, Parker, and Benny Harris were members of the Earl Hines band in 1943, and so Gillespie may then have introduced the tune to Harris; further, if Parker and Harris did any joint creative work on “Ornithology” at all, it may have occurred during their tenure with Hines. In any event, Harris became a big fan of the original, according to pianist Al Tinney, leader of the house band at Monroe’s Uptown House from 1940 to 43: “There was this guy Benny Harris used to come over to Monroe’s Uptown House, played with a mute, his favorite tune was ‘How High the Moon.’ So every time Benny would walk in, I knew that we would have to play ‘How High the Moon’” (Patrick 1983, 164).
        Benny Harris apparently used the start of Parker’s solo on “The Jumping Blues,” which he recorded with the Jay McShann Orchestra in 1942, for the beginning of “Ornithology.” (25) Although this is the standard explanation for the beginning of the tune, the melodic idea is one that appears in the Kansas City scene, appearing at least as far back as Lester Young’s well-known 1936 solo on “Shoe Shine Boy” and on other recordings as well. The top staff, shows the relevant bars from Young’s “Shoe Shine Boy” solo.

      We know that Parker memorized Lester Young solos, including the “Shoe Shine Boy” solo. (He reproduced this solo at a jam session recorded in February 1943. Using the same saxophone fingering, Parker plays the tail of what becomes the “Ornithology” idea at the beginning of the “Honey & Body” recording from early 1940. About two and a half years after recording “Honey and Body,” Parker recorded “The Jumpin’ Blues” solo on July 2, 1942, a phrase that combines the beginning of the fragment first heard in Young with its tail, first heard in “Honey & Body”. Note that the keys are all consistent (concert F), and the “Ornithology” lick is now set in place with the “Jumpin’ Blues” solo. Of course, I am not claiming that the “Ornithology” opening was arrived at methodically through these occurrences, but rather their association is suggestive of the opening taking shape.
      About six months after recording “The Jumpin’ Blues,” Parker joined the Earl Hines Orchestra (December 1942). Harris was also a member of the band, and became fascinated with the Parker “Sepian Bounce” solo, as reported in Feather (1977, 26). He probably became aware of the “Jumpin’ Blues” solo at this time as well, as it was recorded at the same session as “Sepian Bounce,” and may have been experimenting with it compositionally. Harris was later performing with Coleman Hawkins, and the latter player may have picked up the “Jumpin’ Blues” lick from him. Later, Hawkins, perhaps continuing to be interested in the lick, used it for the out-chorus of “Hollywood Stampede”, where it is varied accordingly through the circle-of-fifths progression of “Sweet Georgia Brown.”
      It was also around this time, the early 1940s, that Harris was frequenting Monroe’s Uptown House and, as we have seen, was fascinated by “How High the Moon.” At some point, Harris may have been inspired to take the “Jumpin’ Blues” lick and apply it to “How High the Moon” changes rather than the “Sweet Georgia Brown” changes heard in “Hollywood Stampede.” However, because “How High the Moon” was being performed in concert G major, Harris needed to change the key, thus transforming the “Jumpin’ Blues” lick in F into the “Ornithology” lick in G.
      Parker, meanwhile, continued to play variants of the “Jumpin’ Blues” idea in F, as heard in the “Billie’s Bounce” solo of November 26, 1945. When we first hear him playing “Ornithology” at the Finale Club in February–March of 1946, the beginning of the piece is finally set. Thus, it’s probable that Parker, if he had a hand in composing the “Ornithology” melody at all, had worked on it with Harris before traveling to Los Angeles in December of 1945, and the beginning of the piece may have been determined as early as 1943.
      The formula that begins “Ornithology” has remarkable precedents, showing Parker’s connection to both Young and the Kansas City jazz scene of the 1930s as well as its close association with his personal style. Harris probably composed mm. 3–6, but, as pointed out by Sturges 2006, he almost surely wrote mm. 7–8, as these bars appear in a “How High the Moon” solo that Harris recorded in 1945 with Don Byas.
      A motive D is bracketed in mm. 4, 6, and 8, consisting of a descending third on the bars’ downbeats, usually with the rhythm of quarter-eighth-eighth. As the tune proceeds from m. 8, motive D continues to appear. The appearance of motive D in Harris’s solo and then in the tune suggests that Harris probably wrote mm. 7–11 as well.

      Finally, to complete the tune, the composer(s) needed to work up the remaining five bars of the form, i.e., the half cadence set up by mm. 12–16 in the first half, and (on repeat) the full cadence in mm. 28–32. We hear the first attempts at the Finale Club performance of February or March 1946—material that proved unsatisfactory. The cadences to the first half may have been partially planned, as Davis and Parker each play the same ascending figure to D5 before Parker improvises the turnaround. In the second half of the performance of the head, the cadence appears to be improvised before pianist Joe Albany plays repeated Ds to introduce Parker’s solo. (As the recording is a fragment, there is no out-chorus.)
      The studio recording of “Ornithology” was made around the same time as the Finale Club performance, on March 28, 1946. The first time through the tune, the pianist improvises the turnaround through mm. 15–16. The second time through the tune, in mm. 28–32, the triplet figure is passed among the players without alteration and with no definitive cadence.
      The triplet-figures themselves are a mystery. They weren’t present at the Finale Club recording, and so perhaps the musicians worked out the idea at the session itself, with Parker’s direction or at least acquiescence. Koch refers to the triplets as “the difficulty in this tune” (1999, 90), while Henriksson calls them “aesthetically unpleasing” (1998, 136). As Sturges points out (2006, 10–11), the repeating triplet figure is not idiomatic to bebop style and is effective only if there are several players trading it off. It’s especially bland with only one player taking the melody.(36)
      Nonetheless, the earlier version of the piece with the triplet figures continues to circulate widely. It appears in the tune’s first publication (Parker 1948, 6). Most significantly, it continues to appear in The Real Book, Vol. 1 (ca. 1975, 335) and in the popular Charlie Parker Omnibook (Aebersold 1978, 6).(37)
      Parker was hospitalized with a mental and physical breakdown after a Dial session on July 29, 1946, and was a patient at Camarillo State Hospital in California until the end of January 1947. As he began performing again, “Ornithology” became part of his standard playlist and can be heard at various Hi-De-Ho Club gigs in Los Angeles in March 1947. In these performances, which were recorded in part by Dean Benedetti, performances of the theme are often cut off; what fragments of them are heard, however, all feature the triplet version.
      Between March 1947 and May 1948, the endings of each half of “Ornithology” were rewritten. These revisions can be first heard on a Parker performance made in Washington, D.C. on May 23, 1948. At the presentation of the theme, Parker continues to play the triplets for the first half of the tune, while for the second half he plays the revision. On the out-chorus, Parker plays the revised version for each half.
      With the changes taken from “How High the Moon,” it’s evident that the harmonic rhythm doubles for the final cadence with the tonic arriving at m. 31; this contrasts the one-bar harmonic rhythm that leads to the half cadence. Parker, then, essentially negotiates the chromatically descending chord progression twice as quickly in the second half, and as such the top line F –F–E–E –D descends more precipitately to set up the GM I chord at m. 31.
      In the second half, the descent of the piece’s primary line — is clarified by the interweaving of the arpeggiations through the chromatic chord progression. This interweaving places the primary line’s final descent squarely on each bar’s downbeat, thus imparting a finality that obviates a codetta or other extension to conclude the tune (aside, perhaps, from a brief drum fill). The large-scale voice leading that ends the first half is less clear, but a Schenkerian – // – – interrupted form may be inferred with the interrupting /V occurring at mm. 15–16.

      As mentioned at the beginning of this discussion of “Ornithology,” it is unclear who created the revision that Parker played for the remainder of his career. I would suggest that the precision of the voice leading points to Parker as the reviser of the tune. Increasing that probability considerably is the occurrence of a particular rhythmic figure in the first ending: a four-note pattern bracketed in Example 10a, mm. 13–14, then again in mm. 15–16. This standard Parker formula is found in many of his compositions. The first part of the tune, on the other hand, contains none of the Parker syncopations that are characteristic of his pieces. Certainly a key improvement Parker brought to the revision is an outstandingly clear voice leading of the melody for the cadence of each half, giving the tune the snappy ending that has helped define it ever since.

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      Best Classical Music Musical Analysis

      Bach – Prelude and Fugue in A minor BWV 543 with sheet music (piano solo arr.)

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      Bach – Prelude and Fugue in A minor BWV 543 with sheet music (piano solo arr.)

      Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) wrote many organ works during
      the years at Weimar as court organist and chamber musician to Duke
      Wilhelm Ernst. The masterpieces from this period (1707-18) show the
      great influence of the North German school. From this period comes a
      great number of virtuosic toccatas and fantasies which employ long
      pedal solos, figurations, massive chords, pedal points and improvisational sections.

      The occurrence of these characteristics provides evidence that the A-minor prelude originated in this period. The fugue was probably reworked in the Leipzig period.

      It has little in common with the prelude but does have characteristics of Bach’s earlier fugues. Each section is long, and there :s much use of a single motive developed in many sequences.

      The fugue subject, according to Keller, shows its similarity to
      a fugue by Pachelbel and the theme of “Concerto No. 811 by Corelli that
      Bach transcribed for the harpsichord. In all probability, the main
      derivation seems to be from Bach’s own “Fugue in A minor” for harpsichord.

      Example 8. Bach’s Fugue in A Minor for Harpsichord, BWV 944.

      bach prelude fugue sheet music score download partitura partition spartiti

      Differences between the harpsichord work and the organ work are quite evident. The harpsichord work is longer with expanded episodes and a greater wealth of harmonies, but the organ fugue contains a more complex contrapuntal texture. The subject of the harpsichord work had to be altered to fit the pedals, and the organ fugue subject itself is modified in the pedal entries.


      The prelude is in a large sectional North German style, as previously mentioned. It contains several rhapsodic passages and is improvisatory in nature. The first section (measures 1-25) is monophonic in a toccata style that moves rhythmically in sixteenth notes alternating with triplet passages. The establishment of the A-minor tonality is achieved in the opening outline of an A-minor arpeggio that moves chromatically through diminished seventh chords to alternate with major and minor triads.

      Example 9. Prelude in A Minor, BWV 543, ms. 1-2.

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      The change of rhythmic figuration from sixteenths to triplets lasts
      only two measures (5-6), but returns three measures later with the entrance of a tonic pedal point. Within this triplet figuration, a quarter note motive of neighbor tones accompanies the ascending and descending motion. A flourish of activity in ascending thirty-second note scales drives towards the chordal ‘Buxtehude shake’ and pedal arpeggio, ending the section with a cadence on the dominant.

      The second section of the piece begins with a long pedal cadenza
      that restates the opening arpeggiated triads. The manuals use a half-step motive to embellish the D-minor chord that unfolds in four-voice texture
      before continuing in two voices. The section concludes with another
      rhythmically active thirty-second note passage developing the hall-step
      motive. It cadences in G-major.

      bach prelude fugue sheet music score download partitura partition spartiti

      Three-part texture predominates in the third section of the piece
      (measures 36-47). Motivic use of arpeggiation in parallel thirds and
      sixths alternate with chordal arpeggiation of the pedal. The section begins
      in C-major and concludes in A-minor.

      The last section is a long cadential extension that involves alternation of I-IV-V. A neighboring-tone motive in sixteenth notes is developed extensively in a four-part texture, and it concludes in an exciting climax. The final tonic cadence uses a Picardy third.

      The fugue has an unmistakably simple plan and is very well constructed. A long exposition is followed by an episode in D-minor and another long section of middle entries at different pitch levels that is interspersed with several short episodes. An episode and final statement of the subject in the tonic precedes the coda. The coda contains a brilliant pedal cadenza and a final flourish of arpeggios and scales based on secondary diminished chords before the final cadence.

      The fugue subject is in compound (6/8) meter and consists of chordal outlines. The subject is constructed with descending sequences of a sixteenth- note motive.

      Example 10. Fugue subject, ms. 1-5.

      bach prelude fugue sheet music score download partitura partition spartiti

      The subject is five measures long, and uses a real answer. The order of voice entries in the exposition (measures 1-30) are: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. The countersubject employs a descending five-note scale motive that sequences several times.

      The subject is five measures long, and uses a real answer. The order of voice entries in the exposition (measures 1-30) are: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. The countersubject employs a descending five-note scale motive that sequences several times.

      An episodic passage (measures 31-44) develops motives from both the countersubject and subject. The episode begins in D-minor in a three­-voice texture and returns to A-minor for the final statement of the subject in the soprano (measure 44).

      The exposition cadences in the dominant, and leads to a section using the subject in sequence, alternating with short episodic passages. This section begins in E-minor with a statement of the subject embellished in the tenor. Sequential development of new material accompanied the subject. Subsequent entrances are found in the alto, soprano, and alto, respectively.

      The entrances of the voices occur in related keys which are interrupted by short episodes that modulate. The first alto entrance is in C, and there follows a short interlude of sequences based on the second part of the subject. The soprano entrance in G-major and the alto entrance in D-minor completes the statements of the voices.

      A sequential treatment of the subject in a two-voice texture modulates from G-minor to A-minor (measure 95). Stretto between the soprano and bass precedes the true entrance of the subject in the tenor. A long episode in A-minor uses the subject and countersubject, developed by sequences and inversion. A statement of the subject is found in the tenor, in E-minor (measure 115) to mirror the original key of this long development section.

      An episode of eleven measures precedes the entrance of the subject for the final time (measure 131). The last tonic statement is in the tenor and moves directly to a dominant pedal point against sequential collnterpoint.

      The fugue climaxes with a pedal cadenza based on motives from the subject and arpeggios. The second half of the cadenza shifts to the manuals to increase in rhythmic activity with thirty-second notes. The return to a single-line toccata style outlines D#dim7 and G#dim7 chords over a pedal E before the final cadence.

      Performance practice of the piece demands use of several plenums,
      or principal choruses, to display the prelude and fugue in dynamic levels that contrast the introduction of new material. Registration should conform to the Baroque standards of clarity of line and pureness of sound especially important for the independent lines of the fugue.

      Rhythm is an important performance consideration in this piece. The rhythmic drive of the fugue develops from the natural feel of the compound meter which tends to stress the beat.

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      Musical Analysis

      Diving into Rachmaninoff’s compositional style

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      Diving into Rachmaninoff’s compositional style

      Historical Background

      An understanding of Rachmaninoff’s works and revisions, habitus, and production of diasporic capital, must take into consideration his life, his personality and the setting in which his personality developed. Before proceeding to a detailed history, I will outline the essentials. His training occurred within the Russian conservatory system, introduced to Russia in the 1860s by Anton and Nicolai Rubinstein on the model of those in Western Europe.

      rachmaninoff free sheet music & pdf scores download

      The Russian conservatories demanded exceptional technique and emphasized the Austro-German canon, Lisztian virtuosity, and Russian heroes like Tchaikovsky or the Russian National School. Rachmaninoff studied with Nikolai Zverev in Moscow, who instilled in him a strict regimen of practicing, before studying at the Moscow Conservatory with Alexander Siloti, his first cousin and a student of Nicolai Rubinstein and Franz Liszt. Rachmaninoff’s musical education coloured the virtuosic musical language found throughout his works in later life.

      After emigrating from Russia in 1917, Rachmaninoff committed much of his time to a career as a concert virtuoso, establishing an international reputation and financial stability. Yet his performance career demanded industrious practicing and extensive touring, with only a few new compositions.

      Rachmaninoff was born on April 1, 1873, at the Semyonovo estate in the Starorussky uyezd (district), in the Russian Empire.26 The second son of an aristocratic and educated family of six children, his parents were both amateur musicians. His father, Vasily Rachmaninov played the piano, and his mother, Lyubov Rachmaninova, taught him piano for a time. His paternal grandfather studied piano with John Field.

      Among his siblings, his sister Elena attended Moscow Conservatory for voice, where she died tragically young.

      Because his father failed to manage the estate, the Rachmaninoffs
      were forced to sell their home at Oneg and move to Saint Petersburg. This financial and social catastrophe would prove to be a blessing in disguise for Rachmaninoff: his now lost family status would have required Sergei to follow the family tradition of military service. With that door closed, pursuing a career in music became a possibility for him.

      Rachmaninoff – Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27 3rd mov. Adagio (Advanced piano solo) & sheet music

      In 1882, on the advice of Rachmaninoff’s former piano teacher Anna Ornatskaya, he attended the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. There he received a general education in languages, history, geography, math, and Russian Orthodox doctrine, as well as music. His immaturity at the time led to academic failure in spring 1885. Rachmaninoff’s mother followed the advice of his elder cousin Alexander Siloti, professor at the Moscow Conservatory, to send Rachmaninoff to Siloti’s former teacher in Moscow, Nikolai Zverev.

      Zverev ran a small music boarding school in his home, where Rachmaninoff studied under vigorous discipline starting in September 1885, and continued to board following his September 1886 entry into the Moscow Conservatory. In addition to lessons and practicing, he and his two peers at Zverev’s enjoyed exceptional opportunities to attend concerts, operas, and plays, and to perform weekly concerts that were attended by the leading musicians of Moscow and famous visitors.

      Of these musicians, Anton Rubinstein made the most lasting impression on Rachmaninoff, and Rachmaninoff would make frequent references to Rubinstein for the rest of his life. During January and February 1886, Rachmaninoff attended Rubinstein’s seven-week “historical concerts” series, performed at Nobility Hall, Moscow Conservatory on Tuesday evening and repeated at the German Club on Wednesdays mornings (Grossman 2006: 10). Of Rubinstein’s performances, Rachmaninoff later observed that:

      In this way, I heard the program of these historical concerts twice, and was able every Wednesday morning to re-examine my impressions of the previous evening… It was not so much his magnificent technique that held one spellbound than the profound, spiritually refined musicianship, that sounded from [each work] he played… Once he repeated the whole finale of the Chopin Sonata [B-flat minor], perhaps because he had not succeeded in the short crescendo at the close, as he would have wished (Riesemann 1934: 51).

      It is important to bear in mind that Rachmaninoff wrote these words, which interpret Rubinstein as a musician that sought “profound” perfection through repeating and correction—performed revision—in the context of his exile.

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      Rachmaninoff began attending the Moscow Conservatory in the fall of 1886, studying piano with Siloti, counterpoint with Taneyev, and harmony with Arensky, while still boarding with Zverev. He received the Great Gold Medal, Moscow Conservatory’s highest honour, upon his graduation in 1892.

      Significantly for Rachmaninoff’s development as a composer, there existed a rivalry between the Saint Petersburg and Moscow Conservatories. Sabayenev notes that the “catechism of Chaykovski and Nikolay Rubinstein” dominated Moscow:

      Moscovites hated and did not know Wagner, disliked the Russian National School in the persons of Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakoff, and Mussorgski (especially the last), maintained a skeptical attitude toward Liszt and Berlioz, considered Brahms a nonentity, and worshipped Chaikovsky as the people of Saint Petersburg never worshipped him either before that or later (Sabayenev 1927: 104).

      Although some of Sabayenev’s assertions may be overstated—Rachmaninoff worked with and came to admire Rimsky-Korsakov before his exile, and his teacher Siloti had himself studied with Liszt in Weimar—he does an excellent job of illustrating Moscow as the more traditional music centre, as well as less progressive than Saint Petersburg, which was dominated by the Russian National School of the “Mighty Handful.”

      Rachmaninoff embarked on a career as a conductor and freelance composer, earning Tchaikovsky’s admiration for Aleko in an episode that is often recounted in biographies as a public endorsement and passing of the torch.

      He composed and premiered the soon-to-be inescapable C-sharp minor prelude in Moscow, a work which would quickly become known worldwide through Siloti and expanded his reputation (though not earning him royalties). In November 1893, Tchaikovsky’s sudden death inspired Rachmaninoff to dedicate his Trio élégiaque No. 2 in D minor to him. Rachmaninoff’s budding career met a setback in 1897, when the panned premiere of his Symphony No. 1 in D minor began a three-year period of depression and professional inactivity (Bertensson and Leyda 2001: 73). He credited his recovery in early 1900 to hypno-treatment from Dr. Nikolai Dahl. His career resumed in 1901 with the successful premiere of one of his most enduringly popular works, the Piano Concerto No. 2.

      The next decade and a half (1901-1917) saw Rachmaninoff marry (his cousin Natalia Satina, May 12, 1902), become a father (his daughters, Irina and Tatiana, were born on May 27, 1903 and July 4, 1907, respectively), and pursue a productive composing career. Rachmaninoff participated in a Russian nationalist music discourse that connected Russian folk music, Russian Orthodoxy, and national identity. His music was given broad historical import by his contemporaries, who saw in it ideas of progress, nationalism, and tradition within a discourse concerning Russia’s role in the world, musical and otherwise.

      The premiere of Concerto No. 1 took place in 1892 at Moscow Conservatory. Rachmaninoff worked on the original Piano Sonata No. 2 during 1913 between Rome, Berlin, and his Russian country estate, Ivanovka (Norris 2001: 711). Rachmaninoff’s productivity may have been connected to the stability and purpose he experienced at the time through his role as husband and father, and the apparent stability of Russia and Europe (Martyn 1990: 24).

      This period saw the composition of his cello sonata (1901), more than fifty piano works, including two sets of preludes (1903, 1910) and two sets of Études-tableaux (1911, 1917), two piano sonatas (1907, 1913), a Concerto No. 3 (1909), nearly fifty art songs, the Symphony No. 2, The Isle of the Dead (1909) and the choral symphony, The Bells (1913). The Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5 and Russian Revolution of 1905 caused Rachmaninoff to settle temporarily in Dresden from November 9, 1906 to April 1909. Before re-settling in Russia, he spent the 1909-1910 concert season in the US, where he premiered his Concerto No. 3 with the New York Symphony Orchestra under Walter Damrosch. After a period back in Russia, Rachmaninoff became uneasy about events following the February 1917 Revolution.

      The outbreak of the Great War brought a coalescence of cultural activity impacted by the war effort. But the sudden death of Scriabin in April 1915 came to be seen by members of the music community as a sing of the spiritual defeat of Russia itself (Mitchell 2011: 36). After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent Civil War of 1918-1922, Rachmaninoff joined approximately 1.5 million Russians in fleeing Russia during the 1917 Revolutions and subsequent Civil War, with 20,000 joining Rachmaninoff in the United States (Zelensky 2009: 46).

      Rachmaninoff came to be embraced by many as the definitive Russian composer and an epitome of “old Russia” for the white émigré community (Bertensson and Leyda 2001: 71). Among members of the Russian émigré community, Rachmaninoff symbolized the Russian nation in the sense of the word narod, which denotes the Russian folk in the sense of both “nation” and, more specifically, peasants (Mitchell 2011: 301).

      When the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution, he decided to take the first opportunity to flee, which came in December with an invitation to concertize for a year in Denmark and Sweden. Starting with the 1918-1919 concert season, Rachmaninoff settled in the US and pursued a relentless performance career which continued until his death. It is clear in Rachmaninoff’s own writing, that before his exile he considered himself a composer first. As he wrote: “I wonder if I should… make up my mind to abandon composition altogether and become, instead, a professional pianist, or a conductor, or a farmer” (Bertensson and Leyda 2001: 179-180, my italics).

      However, after his exile, he found that providing a stable income for his family required that he pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. In the remaining twenty-five years of his life, Rachmaninoff performed 1,643 concerts, of which more than 1,000 were in North America. During February 1943, Rachmaninoff felt too exhausted to continue his scheduled recitals that season. He was soon diagnosed with cancer and died at his home in Beverly Hills on March 28, 1943. Interestingly, Rachmaninoff did not seek U.S. citizenship until the year of his death. Until the advent of the Second World War, it seems Rachmaninoff hoped for the fall of the Soviet government in his lifetime and considered himself a permanent exile.

      Rachmaninoff revised his Concerto No. 1, Sonata No. 2, and Concerto No. 4 in the context of his post-1917 exile. His connections with the white émigré community were personal as well as professional, as he donated a great deal of charitable assistance to Russian white émigrés and Soviet civilians throughout this period. Rachmaninoff revised Concerto No. 1 in 1917—the year of his emigration—and 1919, Sonata No. 2 in 1931, and Concerto No. 4 in 1926, 1928 and 1941. Russian émigré discourse acknowledged Rachmaninoff as essential to their group identity (Mitchell 2011: 308). In my analysis, I will demonstrate that it was also inscribed in his music.

      Pianism and Compositional Style

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      As a pianist as well as composer, Rachmaninoff gained a widespread reputation as faithful defender of the Romantic tradition. His piano style draws from Romantic composers such as Chopin and Liszt, featuring lyrical melodies, rich sonorities, and elaborate technical figures (Gillespie 1965: 276). Rachmaninoff’s music often features themes of longing and peace (Culshaw 1949: 48). These twin themes feature deeply in his own personality.

      Mitchell describes extra-musical associations in Rachmaninoff’s music, such as the use of Russian folk elements, widespread discourse of his “Slavic” nature, and his popularity that “suggested an innate connection to the Russian narod” (Mitchell 2011: 301). Additionally, commentators generally recognize two aspects of Rachmaninoff’s musical style as particularly “Russian.”

      These are the evocation of Orthodox Church bells and the melodic influence of Russian Orthodox chant music (Crociata 1973: 7). These elements also take meaning in the context of the Russian diaspora as a space of national memory. The Roman Catholic plainchant Dies Irae played a pervasive role in his works as well, found in more than twenty of his compositions (Culshaw 1949: 51).

      Like many other composers, Rachmaninoff conceived of the Dies Irae as representing evil and composed using Dies Irae programmatically (Coolidge 1979: 203).

      In addition to these two compositional techniques, it is arguable that the most recognizably “Russian” attribute of Rachmaninoff’s music came from the moods his music depicted, such as pessimism and gloom. The Russian word toska, a word that is important to understanding Rachmaninoff’s music, encompasses such ideas, and operates as a “favourite Russian mood.” Minor keys and modal melodies predominate in Rachmaninoff’s compositional style, a tendency which many of his contemporaries identified as “Russian” (Frolova-Walker 2007: 29-42). Vladimir Nabokov defines toska as:

      A sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels, it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning… In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, lovesickness (Steinberg 2008: 819).

      Before the composer’s exile in 1917, Rachmaninoff’s music was dismissed by many Russian music critics of the time as “salon music,” not to be classed among Russia’s greatest music. An influential music discourse in pre-1917 Russia directly criticized negative moods in Russian public life as degenerate and backward (Steinberg 2008: 820). Yet in the context of the Russian diaspora, Rachmaninoff’s combination of toska, pessimism, grief, and “traditionalism” combined with individual impressions of a shared Russian identity, greatly shaped by Rachmaninoff’s diaspora-influenced habitus. For members of the Russian diaspora as well as non-members, Rachmaninoff’s music came to represent an idealized Imperial Russia, or simply put, “old Russia.”

      Rachmaninoff described himself as a “stranger in an alien world” at the end of his life. He resisted the changes of compositional trends and styles that emerged during his own lifetime, as well as the proponents of those changes. His Romantic personality self-consciously informed his compositions and views toward the composer-composition relationship:

      I am not a composer who produces works to the formulas of preconceived theories. Music, I have always felt, should be the expression of a composer’s complex personality. A composer’s music should express the country of his birth… It should be the sum total of a composer’s experience (Piggott 1978: 56).

      For Rachmaninoff, the expression of the composer in his or her works represented a fundamental imperative: “a composer’s music should express” these aspects of his own personality. When criticized for writing antiquated music, he scorned the anti-traditional spirit behind so-called “twentieth-century music,” saying:

      The poet Heine once said, “What life takes away, music restores.” He would not be moved to say this if he could hear the music of today. For the most part it gives nothing. Music should bring relief. It should rehabilitate minds and souls, and modern music does not do this. If we are to have great music we must return to the fundamentals which made the music of the past great. Music cannot be just color and rhythm; it must reveal the emotions of the heart (Brower 1926: 8, my italics).

      For Rachmaninoff, music’s true or authentic role involves revealing the composer’s heart, and for him personally, in conscious opposition to “modern music.” His works feature impassioned virtuosity, and despairing, introspective melodies (Norris 1980: 555). Rachmaninoff clearly intended for his music to reveal his own heart, which may be interpreted as his deepest social behaviours—his habitus, making Rachmaninoff’s work consciously intended to construct cultural capital, “old Russian” capital, and even diasporic capital.

      Concert Performance Style

      Rachmaninoff’s repertoire pointed to his own character as a Moscow Conservatory-trained musician. Rachmaninoff’s repertoire included his own works first and foremost, but also was characterized by the canonic Romantic composers: Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, and Liszt (Kammerer 1966: 158). He also included works by Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Grieg, Borodin, and Tchaikovsky. His favourite modern compositions were the early works of Debussy, Ravel, and Poulenc, as well as his Russian colleagues Scriabin and Medtner.

      Rachmaninoff’s sister-in-law and cousin, Sophia Satina, described Rachmaninoff’s daily practice regime as consistently four to six hours a day, starting with one hour of scales and individual finger exercises (Norris 1980: 555). Discussing how to prepare a work for performance, Rachmaninoff said: “You must take the work apart, peer into ever corner, before you can assemble the whole (Norris 1980: 555).

      Central to Rachmaninoff’s views on preparing a performance, he would determine the climax “point” for each piece. Following, he would determine the structure logically on either side of the “culminating point.” He explained to Marietta Shaginian:

      Maybe at the end or in the middle, it may be loud or soft; but the performer must know how to approach it with absolute calculation, absolute precision, because, if it slips by, then the whole construction crumbles, and the piece becomes disjointed and scrappy and does not convey to the listener what must be conveyed (Crociata 1973: 6).

      In this letter, Rachmaninoff indicates that if the performer fails to approach the climax of the work properly, and by extension the climax itself and its resolution, then the work collapses, and fails to communicate its message. In other words, performance may represent to Rachmaninoff a compositional realization of the work—with performance and composition as two sides of the same coin.

      The composer’s personality, purpose, and heart characterized every aspect of the piece. Further, the attention to both individual details and the overall story surrounding the “culminating point” indicates a view that he himself—his musical style, personality, national identity, and experience—must permeate the piece. The critic Rafael Kammerer linked Rachmaninoff’s performance style to that of Anton Rubinstein, specifically in phrasing, accentuations, and

      emphasizing inner melodies. As already discussed, Rubinstein’s influence on Rachmaninoff’s playing dated back to attending Rubinstein’s “historical recitals” during Rachmaninoff’s Zverev period and continued throughout his life (Norris 1980: 555). Rubinstein’s influence on Rachmaninoff’s technique indicates a further link of himself to “old Russia” when he found himself in exile (Bertensson and Leyda 2001: 294).


      In his own lifetime, critics generally praised Rachmaninoff’s pianistic technique and virtuosity. John Gillespie described Rachmaninoff as “a spectacular pianist equal to any of the leading twentieth-century virtuosos” (Crociata 1973: 8). Looking back on his post-exile career in 1933, Rachmaninoff himself wrote:

      For the past fifteen seasons I have played about 750 concerts. Before I became a person of jubilees I played 70 or 80 concerts a year. But as I approach the age of jubilees, I’ve had to scale down a little. Concerts require very serious preparation. I work with pleasure on the compositions of other composers. When I work on my own—it is more difficult. Only a month, a month and a half, is left for rest
      (Gillespie 1965: 276).

      Rachmaninoff here points to his first fifteen seasons as a Russian exile involving prodigious amounts of concerts, in which he displayed his proficiency as a pianist. Interestingly, he describes working on his own compositions as more difficult. This indicates that exile changed Rachmaninoff’s relationship with his own works, in a way that did not affect his relationship with other composers’ works.

      It could be possible to read into this letter that Rachmaninoff grew to dislike his own works and to prefer the works of others during his post-exile period. However, several correspondences included in the following section suggest that the difficulty Rachmaninoff felt towards his own works lay in his feelings of yearning (toska) for Russia.


      Rachmaninoff’s departure from Bolshevik Russia in December 1917 and settlement in the US in November 1918 meant for him statelessness, a new career, and the need to adapt his habitus to the new structures governing his life. Rachmaninoff followed the advice of his Russian colleague, Josef Hoffmann, in pursuing a performance career. This required Rachmaninoff to acquire a concert repertoire comparable to those of other piano virtuosos of the time (Piggott 1978: 83).

      As a pianist, he built an eminent reputation across the US and Western Europe, working hard to build up a repertoire that he continued to expand every summer.

      Although his antipathy to the creators and enthusiasts of “modern music” produced some critical opposition to Rachmaninoff, he also enjoyed much in the way of critical affirmation. The words of Hofmann and Medtner both applaud Rachmaninoff in ways that point to the composer’s personal significance as expressed in his music. On Rachmaninoff’s music, Hofmann exclaimed:

      Rachmaninoff! The man whose art is as pure gold; the sincere artist, equally admired by musicians and the public. He is indeed simple, unassuming, truthful, generous (Bertensson and Leyda 2001: 295).

      Hofmann’s words, such as referring to Rachmaninoff’s music as pure gold, and his performance as truthful and generous, do more than describe Rachmaninoff’s music—they assert and build cultural capital, both Rachmaninoff’s as the composer worth so celebrating, and himself as a knowing appreciator of Rachmaninoff’s music. Medtner also expressed enthusiastic respect, expressing what Rachmaninoff’s music signified to him:

      Rachmaninoff strikes us chiefly by the spiritualization of sound, the bringing to life of the elements of music. The simplest scale, the simplest cadence—in short, any formula—when “recited” by his fingers acquires its primary meaning. We are struck not by his memory, not by his fingers, which do not allow a single detail in the whole to slip by, but just by the whole; by the inspired images that he reconstructs before us. His gigantic technique, his virtuosity, serve merely for the clarification of these images. His rhythms, the movement of sounds, betray the same expressive declamation and relief as each separate sound of his touch… His rhythm, like his sound, is always included in his musical soul—it is, as it were, the beating of his living pulse (Brower 1926: 1).

      Like Hofmann, Medtner in this quotation contributes to the cultural capital invested in Rachmaninoff’s music. Medtner’s discourse also points to Rachmaninoff’s formidable technique as “a means to an end”: namely, inspired images, “reconstructed” through music. These images, Medtner leaves unnamed and infinitely personal to the listener. Yet he also connects the sounds and rhythms of Rachmaninoff’s music to the composer’s personality.

      The 1926 book Modern Masters of the Keyboard provides an interesting description of a Rachmaninoff performance:

      His tall figure bends over the keyboard, as he sits a few seconds in utter stillness before beginning. Then his large hands, with their long, shapely fingers, find the desired keys with no perceptible effort, and weave for the listener enchanting pictures, now bright, now sad and filled with longing (Brower 1926, Quoted in Crociata 1973: 6).

      Clearly the pictures suggested to listeners by Rachmaninoff’s music, whatever they may be, involve longing. The first and most obvious possibility may be “old Russia.” Rachmaninoff’s correspondence indicates that he also felt longing for the absence of his own composing, for him inextricably joined to “old Russia.” As his concert tours began to provide him with a prosperous income, and enabled further composition, he found it difficult to adapt his compositional habitus to his new circumstances and social structures (Norris 2001: 53). He wrote to his friend Alfred Swan:

      With all my travels and the absence of a permanent abode, I really have no time to compose, and, when I now sit down to write, it does not come to me very easily. Not as in former years (Piggott 1978: 84).

      Due to his concert tours, rigorous practicing, travelling, and performing, Rachmaninoff certainly had limited time to work on composition. Yet even during the summer periods that proved compositionally productive, nostalgia changed his feelings toward composition. When asked if concertizing affected his composing, he wrote:

      Yes, very much. I never could do two things at the same time. I either played only or conducted only, or composed only. Now there’s no opportunity to think of composition. And somehow, since leaving Russia, I don’t feel like composing. Change of air, perhaps. Forever traveling, working. Instead of hunting three hares at once, I’m sticking to one. No. I do not regret it. I love to play. I have a powerful craving for the concert platform. When there are no concerts to give I rest poorly (Piggott 1978: 84, my italics).

      Rachmaninoff seems to be saying that, more than having no opportunity to compose since his exile, his distance from Russia diminished his desire to compose. Interestingly, he mentions a craving for the concert platform instead. Keeping in mind Bourdieu’s theorizing of the habitus needing to adapt to abrupt changes of circumstances, it seems that for Rachmaninoff composing became burdened with the homeland lost in diaspora. At the same time, performing allowed expression of that homeland in a more accessibly self-consoling way.

      In concerts and the public, Rachmaninoff presented a severe and sombre personality. A critic in Recording Review described a Rachmaninoff performance:

      He is somewhat dour—an image that was accentuated by his gaunt frame, chiseled face and cropped hair. With no outward show he would address himself to the works of the masters he so revered. Only when he had reached the end of his program would the tension ease, and he would smile and “play to the galleries.” Invariably, his last encore would be his Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, which had become synonymous with the name “Rachmaninoff” (Swan and Swan 1944: 174).

      Professionally, every aspect of his performance style was characterized by discipline (Norris 1980: 555). His technique displayed rhythmic control, a refined legato, and independence in complex textures (Norris 1980: 555). In contrast with his performance style, his friends and family recorded Rachmaninoff’s personality as typically affectionate and kind (Brower 1926: 2). Yet the sombre aspects of his performance style are present in the post-exile works and revisions he produced.

      Post-Exile Compositions

      In addition to the revisions that Rachmaninoff completed of the three works under consideration in this monograph, he produced just six new works over a period of twenty-five years (December 1917-March 1943). These included Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 40 (1926), Three Russian Songs, Op. 41 (1926), Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op. 42 (1931), Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 (1934), Symphony No. 3, Op. 44 (1936), and Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 (1940). The piano works, Op. 40, 42, and 43, feature a condensed piano style, described by some as neo-classical (Crociata 1973: 6).

      As an émigré, all of Rachmaninoff’s remaining major works would be composed during annual summer breaks, including Concerto No. 4 and Three Russian Songs in Dresden, the Variations on a Theme of Corelli outside Paris, the Symphony No. 3 in Villa Senar, and the Symphonic Dances in Huntington, Long Island in the context of the Second World War.

      Rachmaninoff offered few detailed clues as to the extra-musical significance behind his compositions in public. Yet throughout his life and especially upon becoming a white émigré, he consistently described the uniquely Russian essence of all his works. In describing Stravinsky’s European career, Richard Taruskin refers to the tried and tested Russian “ploy of parading Self as Other” and of “a show of national character, predicated on its reception as exoticism, [that] was the calculated basis of its international appeal” (Taruskin 1997: 107).

      Yet Rachmaninoff’s music, rather than exhibiting exoticism, served as a medium for a very personal navigation between creative originality and a commitment to the past. Further, these two aspects allow Rachmaninoff’s revised works to serve as a forum for remembering, performing, and reconstructing “old Russia,” however removed from the individual listener’s experience.

      Next: Specific case studies.

      Did you know? Musical Analysis

      Encountering BACH: a documentary film (2020)

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      Encountering BACH: a documentary film (2020)

      This documentary lets you visit Bach landmarks, discover his stories and music

      An online documentary on German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, available on the Bachfest Malaysia Youtube channel, has been making its rounds among classical music fans starved of live concerts during these pandemic times.

      Encountering Bach, which has a runtime of 130 minutes, brings viewers on a journey around important Bach-landmarks in Germany, while discovering his life stories and music.

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      The documentary is available in both English and Mandarin, and is hosted by Bachfest Malaysia founder David Chin, and co-hosted by Bachfest Leipzig artistic director and Bach-Archiv Leipzig musicologist Michael Maul and Bach-Archiv Leipzig musicologist and researcher Manuel Baerwald.

      “The idea of making a film on the life and music of Bach in my mother tongue, Mandarin, has been on my mind for a while, as very few books have been written in Chinese about the composer, let alone a film. We decided to release this film in two languages with the hope of reaching as many people as possible,” says Chin, 35.

      “As a conductor and music scholar, I have always been finding ways to contribute what I can to my fellow Malaysians and the global community, ” he adds.

      He recalls how a chance meeting with Maul at the Bachfest Leipzig in the summer of 2018, sowed the seeds for this project.

      When Chin was presented with an opportunity to view several of Bach’s original manuscripts, including cantata No.62 and the famous “Entwurff” letter at the Bach-Archiv’s library in Leipzig, Germany, the following year, a lightbulb went off in his head.

      This was a story waiting to be told.

      Download Bach’s and the best classical sheet music from our Library.

      After a flurry of emails and phone calls after he returned home, he was once again on a plane headed for Germany to start work on the documentary.

      “It was not very much time between when we decided to do this project (mid-August 2019) to when we began filming in Germany (early September 2019). I came up with the outline within a few days, and read many, many books in a very short time.

      “Of course, I have done much research on Bach and performed many of his works in past years, but still, there is so much to learn about him, ” he says.

      Chin was based in the US for 15 years before moving back to Malaysia. He is now based in Kuala Lumpur.

      In putting together this documentary during the lockdown months, he muses that has learned so much more about Bach.

      “I truly enjoyed every aspect of making this film. One of the things which I am most grateful for is the people whom I have met in the making of this project. I got the ‘front-row-seat’ by having the directors of the museums give me an exclusive VIP tour while we filmed, and this is not a privilege that anyone can have. I learned a lot from the best people in their fields, ” he says.

      Encountering Bach includes interviews with 15 prominent scholars and musicians and features musical performance footage by musicians from Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, Switzerland and the United States.

      This project, Chin says, would not have been possible without videographer and violinist Moses Lim, who lugged his equipment to Germany, filmed from morning to evening for consecutive 12 days, then worked on the editing.

      In total, it took 15 months to complete, with nine short episodes on different topics made available in the year leading up to the full-length documentary premiere last month.

      “I tried to use common language in the film so that people who are not musicians would have an idea of what I am talking about. At the same time, I also covered topics which many musicians normally are not exposed to, so they have an opportunity to be more well-informed through the enjoyable format of a film,” he concludes.

      Later in the year, Chin will conduct Beethoven’s ‘Missa Solemnis’ concert tour in Sabah and Sarawak. This year’s schedule includes a Bach’s cantata concert for the Malaysia Bach Festival Singers and Orchestra, an inaugural concert for the new Mendelssohnchor Malaysia and Bach’s ‘Christmas Oratorio’.

      Chin has been invited to conduct at Carnegie Hall in New York, and the St Thomas Church in Leipzig, in 2022.

      The film is released in two versions: Mandarin and English.

      In this 130-minute documentary film, Dr. David Chin will be joined by 15 prominent German Bach scholars and musicians and visit the important Bach-landmarks throughout Central Germany, discovering the interesting stories and wonderful music of Johann Sebastian Bach, with musical excerpts performed by renowned musicians from Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United States, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and others.


      To read more about Bach:

      The Creative Development of Johann Sebastian Bach (1695-1717) Vol. I and II