Beautiful Music

Frank Sinatra – Fly me to the Moon


Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On a, Jupiter and Mars
In other words, hold my hand
In other words, baby, kiss meFill my heart with song
And let me sing for ever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words, please be true
In other words, I love youFill my heart with song
Let me sing for ever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words, please be true
In other words, in other words
I love you.

frank sinatra sheet music pdf

Frank Sinatra was one of the most popular entertainers of the 20th century, forging a career as an award-winning singer and film actor.

Who Was Frank Sinatra?

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Singer and actor Frank Sinatra rose to fame singing big band numbers. In the 1940s and 1950s, he had a dazzling array of hit songs and albums and went on to appear in dozens of films, winning a supporting actor Oscar for his role in From Here to Eternity. He left behind a massive catalog of work that includes iconic tunes like “Love and Marriage,” “Strangers in the Night,” “My Way” and “New York, New York.” He died on May 14, 1998, in Los Angeles, California. 

Early Life and Career

Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915, in Hoboken, New Jersey. The only child of Sicilian immigrants, a teenaged Sinatra decided to become a singer after watching Bing Crosby perform in the mid-1930s. He’d already been a member of the glee club in his high school and began to sing at local nightclubs. Radio exposure brought him to the attention of bandleader Harry James, with whom Sinatra made his first recordings, including “All or Nothing at All.” In 1940, Tommy Dorsey invited Sinatra to join his band. After two years of chart-topping success with Dorsey, Sinatra decided to strike out on his own.

Solo artist

Between 1943 and 1946, Sinatra’s solo career blossomed as the singer charted a slew of hit singles. The mobs of bobby-soxer fans Sinatra attracted with his dreamy baritone earned him such nicknames as “The Voice” and “The Sultan of Swoon.” 

“It was the war years, and there was a great loneliness,” recalled Sinatra, who was unfit for military service due to a punctured eardrum. “I was the boy in every corner drugstore who’d gone off, drafted to the war. That was all.”

Sinatra made his movie acting debut in 1943 with the films Reveille With Beverley and Higher and Higher. In 1945, he won a special Academy Award for The House I Live In, a 10-minute short made to promote racial and religious tolerance on the home front. Sinatra’s popularity began to slide in the postwar years, however, leading to a loss of his recording and film contracts in the early 1950s. But in 1953, he made a triumphant comeback, winning an Oscar for supporting actor for his portrayal of the Italian American soldier Maggio in the classic From Here to Eternity. Although this was his first non-singing role, Sinatra quickly found a new vocal outlet when he received a recording contract with Capitol Records in the same year. The Sinatra of the 1950s brought forth a more mature sound with jazzier inflections in his voice.

Having regained stardom, Sinatra enjoyed continued success in both movies and music for years to come. He received another Academy Award nomination for his work in The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) and earned critical acclaim for his performance in the original version of The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Meanwhile, he continued to be a formidable chart presence. When his record sales began to dip by the end of the 1950s, Sinatra left Capitol to establish his own record label, Reprise. In association with Warner Bros., which later bought Reprise, Sinatra also set up his own independent film production company, Artanis.

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Rat Pack and No. 1 Tunes

By the mid-1960s, Sinatra was back on top again. He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and headlined the 1965 Newport Jazz Festival with Count Basie‘s Orchestra. This period also marked his Las Vegas debut, where he continued on for years as the main attraction at Caesars Palace. As a founding member of the “Rat Pack,” alongside Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, Sinatra came to epitomize the hard-drinking, womanizing, gambling swinger—an image constantly reinforced by the popular press and Sinatra’s own albums. With his modern edge and timeless class, even radical youth of the day had to pay Sinatra his due. As Jim Morrison of the Doors once said, “No one can touch him.”

The Rat Pack made several films during their heyday: the famed Ocean’s Eleven (1960), Sergeants Three (1962), Four for Texas (1963) and Robin and the Seven Hoods (1964). Back in the world of music, Sinatra had a big hit in 1966 with the Billboard No. 1 track “Strangers in the Night,” which won a Grammy for record of the year. He also recorded the duet “Something Stupid” with his daughter Nancy, who’d previously made waves with the feminist anthem “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.” The two reached No. 1 for four weeks with “Something Stupid” in spring 1967. By the end of the decade, Sinatra had added another signature song to his repertory—”My Way,” which was adapted from a French tune and featured new lyrics by Paul Anka

After a brief retirement in the early 1970s, Sinatra returned to the music scene with the album Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back (1973) and also became more politically active. Having first visited the White House in 1944 while campaigning for Franklin D. Roosevelt in his bid for a fourth term in office, Sinatra worked eagerly for John F. Kennedy‘s election in 1960 and later supervised JFK’s inaugural gala in Washington. The relationship between the two soured, however, after the president canceled a weekend visit to Sinatra’s house due to the singer’s connections to Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana. By the 1970s, Sinatra had abandoned his long-held Democratic loyalties and embraced the Republican Party, supporting first Richard Nixon and later close friend Ronald Reagan, who presented Sinatra with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, in 1985.

Personal Life

Frank Sinatra married his childhood sweetheart Nancy Barbato in 1939. They had three children together—Nancy (born in 1940), Frank Sinatra Jr. (born in 1944) and Tina (born in 1948)—before their marriage unraveled in the late 1940s.

In 1951, Sinatra married actress Ava Gardner; after they split, Sinatra remarried a third time, to Mia Farrow, in 1966. That union, too, ended in divorce (in 1968), and Sinatra married for a fourth and final time in 1976 to Barbara Blakely Marx, the ex-wife of comedian Zeppo Marx. The two remained together until Sinatra’s death more than 20 years later.

In October 2013, Farrow made headlines after stating in an interview with Vanity Fair that Sinatra could be the father of her 25-year-old son Ronan, who is Farrow’s only official biological child with director Woody Allen. In the interview she also acknowledged Sinatra as the great love of her life, saying, “We never really split up.” In response to the buzz surrounding his mother’s comments, Ronan jokingly tweeted: “Listen, we’re all *possibly* Frank Sinatra’s son.”

Death and Legacy

In 1987, author Kitty Kelley published an unauthorized biography of Sinatra, accusing the singer of relying on mob ties to build his career. Such claims failed to diminish Sinatra’s widespread popularity. In 1993, at the age of 77, he gained legions of new, younger fans with the release of Duets, a collection of 13 Sinatra standards that he rerecorded, featuring the likes of Barbra Streisand, Bono, Tony Bennett and Aretha Franklin. While the album was a major hit, some critics assailed the quality of the project as Sinatra had recorded his vocals well before his collaborators laid down their tracks. 

Sinatra performed in concert for the last time in 1995 at the Palm Desert Marriott Ballroom in California. On May 14, 1998, Frank Sinatra died of a heart attack at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was 82 years old and had, at last, faced his final curtain. With a show business career that spanned more than 50 years, Sinatra’s continued mass appeal can best be explained in the man’s own words: “When I sing, I believe. I’m honest.”

In 2010, the well-received biography Frank: The Voice was published by Doubleday and penned by James Kaplan. The writer released a sequel to the volume in 2015—Sinatra: The Chairman, marking the musical icon’s centennial year.

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Chet Baker My Funny Valentine – Chet Baker in Tokyo LIVE!

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Chet Baker My Funny Valentine – Chet Baker in Tokyo LIVE! SHEET MUSIC

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Games' music


FINAL FANTASY VII Main Theme with sheet music

Many of today’s musicians are, on some level, self-taught.  Some of us are mostly or entirely self-taught musicians, which has become increasingly possible due to the abundance of free information and increasingly-accessible tools/instruments available today on the internet.  Unfortunately, many self-taught musicians have a shared weakness: music theory.

Before we dive into the music theory deep end, I want to preface the following information with a few thoughts and notes on the context of these lessons and how you can actually benefit from them.  ‘Theory,’ by itself isn’t helpful, but tools and application of knowledge can be indispensable.  I believe that most people fail to learn (or fail to remember) music theory because they try to learn/are taught the theory without relevant context or meaningful application.  If I want to learn to play pop songs on my guitar so I can sing those songs, do I need to learn anything about scales?  No, probably not – and if I try to learn them I’ll either fail out of boredom or I’ll forget what I learn because it isn’t relevant to my goals.  If I want to learn how to write a great melody, on the other hand, musical scales are the building blocks for melody and harmony and this information is extremely valuable to understand.

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I’ll do my best to explain why each lesson may be useful to you, but you don’t have to use every trick on this list.  If there’s a specific effect from the examples below that you enjoy, use that lesson.  Try adding it to your next piece, or try adding it to an old piece to breathe new life into it.  If you like the effect and understand how to replicate it, it becomes part of your compositional “bag of tricks” and can be called upon later.

Enough context – on to the meat and potatoes!  Today, we travel back in time to 1997 (yes, it’s been that long) to dissect the main theme from Final Fantasy VII.  This theme is one of the more recognizable RPG themes ever written, and the motif from the piece is sprinkled throughout the entire Final Fantasy VII soundtrack which provides an excellent cohesion between the various different settings and events of the game.  This piece is jam-packed with little musical tricks, so put on your learnin’ caps and buckle up.  Ready?  All right, everyone – let’s mosey.

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Lesson I: Using Intervals in Melody Writing

Why this lesson is important:

A great melody is priceless, and Final Fantasy VII’s main theme has a simple, beautiful melody.  Writing an effective melody is all about balance, and writing a balanced melody can be very difficult when you’re actively trying to write an interesting melody.  What makes a melody interesting is contrast and balance between the different elements within.  Intervals are one of those critical elements you need to balance, and if you struggle with consistently writing melodies that you don’t hate you may want to take this lesson to heart.

The Lesson:

An interval is the distance between two pitches, but not all intervals are created equal.  If terms like a “major third,” “perfect fourth,” or “perfect fifth” are completely foreign to you, I would pause here and watch this video by Joshua Taipale of Ongaku Concept to get up to speed in less than 8 minutes.

I could write pages on this topic, but for the sake of pacing and attention spans I’m going to zero in on the first part of the main melody of this piece and how intervals are being used intelligently.  Within a melody, you can move from one note to another either by a step or a skip.  Stepwise motion is when the distance between two notes is either a major or minor 2nd interval apart.  If looking at a keyboard, if you were to play all of the white keys in ascending order you would be playing in ascending, stepwise motion.  To put it another way, if the letter names of two notes are next to each other in the alphabet, it’s a step.  Any interval larger than that would be considered a skip.

As a general guideline, melodies should contain mostly stepwise motion.  The following 4-bar excerpt contains the main melodic material that the entire piece is built on, including the main motive of the game which appears in many forms throughout this piece and several others.  The red lines indicate steps and the blue lines indicate skips.  As you can see, this melody contains mostly steps but uses skips sparingly to create the most interesting moments of the melody:

The red lines are “steps,” and the blue lines are “skips”.

There are a few things that this accomplishes.  First, it creates contrast within the melody by using a balance of mostly-stepwise intervals and a few intelligently-placed skips.  If you wrote a melody that only used steps it would be more susceptible to sounding boring or predictable.  If you wrote a melody that only used skips, it would generally be less appealing to most listeners because their ears would have a hard time following the sporadic motion as the melody jumped up and down all over the place.  The phrases “variety is the spice of life,” and “everything in moderation,” should both be remembered when writing a melody.  For more supporting evidence, listen to the first major melodic phrase of the Star Wars theme (9 steps, 6 skips) by John Williams or the first phrase of Nascence from Journey (12 steps, 5 skips) by Austin Wintory.

Another way to effectively use intervals is to emphasize a specific interval that is less common, more colorful, or larger than the rest.  The first two measures of that same excerpt contains the main musical idea that echoes throughout this piece in different forms and creeps its way into several other tracks on the game.  The interval between the first and fourth notes are the most prominent/important of the phrase and, arguably, the entire soundtrack.  What interval does Uematsu use at the center of the game’s most frequently-heard track, reoccurring musical idea, and – as a result – the hero’s theme?  A major 7th, of course.  See what he did there?

The most prominent musical idea in Final Fantasy 7 is built around a major 7th interval.

How you can apply this lesson:

Whether you start writing a melody by improvising or simply writing down the ideas that pop into your head, you should see how you’re currently intervals and be mindful of any patterns that arise.  You may find that you’re barely using stepwise motion, or that you’re skipping all over the place.  Some people unknowingly write melody after melody without ever daring to use intervals larger than a 3rd or 4th, which is the equivalent of painting with only half of the color palette.  Unless you’re incredibly clever, using the same intervals all the time will make it more difficult for new melodies to sound distinct from the rest.  You can also proactively choose a specific interval to highlight something specific in a video game, like a character’s theme, a dramatic event, or specific emotion that recurs throughout the game.

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Lesson II: Basics of Keys, Scales, and which Chords to Use

Why this lesson is important:

If you’re a painter, you need to know which colors work together well.  Music is similar, and if you haven’t had any formal music training you may struggle to find which chords and notes ‘work’ as you compose.  By understanding a little bit about keys, scales, and the chords that fit together, you can quickly identify the most common chords available to you in the key that you’re writing in.  In other words, this helps remove a lot of the guess-work that may leave you hunting and pecking at the keyboard until something sounds right.

This is kind of 3 mini-lessons crammed into one, but that’s intentional because they’re so closely dependent on one another.

The Lesson:

The “key,” or “tonality,” of a piece of music tells you a lot of information before you even hear the first note.  If I’m writing a piece in the key of A Major, I know that ‘A’ is the root or home pitch of the piece and the A Major chord is the ‘tonic’ or home chord.  Most of the time, a piece in A Major will start and end with an A Major chord or note.  The first chord acts as an anchor for the listener, establishing ‘home base’ in their mind before you take them on a musical journey which will usually end with a return to home, as any good journey should.  This is another one of those guidelines that is not hard-and-fast rule, but you will find this to be true with most western music from pop songs to Beethoven symphonies.

In FF VII’s theme, the majority of the piece is in E Major and the sections written in E Major will be based on the E Major scale – which means that most of the musical material within that piece will be built with the 7 pitches contained within the E Major scale.  As a result, the primary chords used in the E Major sections of the piece are chords that you can construct using those same 7 pitches of an E Major scale.  In E Major, your scale contains the following pitches: E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D# and the chords you can build using those pitches are E Major (E, G#, B), F# minor (F#, A, C#), G# minor (G#, B, D#), A Major (A, C#, E), B Major (B, D#, F#), C# Minor (C#, E, G#), and D# diminished (D#, F#, A).  While many songs and pieces stay strictly within these constraints, composers will often use this information as the foundation of their piece but explore musical ideas that reach past those limitations.

Most (or all) of a piece written in E Major will use the above notes and chords.

In the 40 bars of music that make up the main/most memorable sections of Uematsu’s piece (0:51 – 3:15 on the OST version), the melody adheres strictly to the pitches available in the E major scale.  As for the chords, there is only 1 bar that uses chords containing pitches outside of the E Major scale in this section. Being limited to only 7 notes may sound… well… limiting, but as Uematsu has illustrated: You can color inside the lines and still make amazing music.

Now, all of those letter names can give you a headache if you’re constantly trying to remember which letters belong where.  For this reason, roman numerals are frequently used to describe scale degrees and chord progressions.  By using roman numerals to describe and think about music, we can focus on the relationship between chords, scales, and music and know that – no matter what key you’re in – those relationships stay the same.

For example, one of the most common chord progressions in pop music is I – V – vi – IV (upper-case = Major chord, lower-case = minor chord).  No matter what key you’re playing and what note/chord you’re calling home, you can play this chord progression relative to your key.  Thus, a I – V – vi – IV progression in the key of C Major would contain the following chords: Cmaj – Gmaj – Amin – Fmaj.  The same I-V-vi-IV progression in E Major would be Emaj-Bmaj-C#min-Amaj.  It’s way easier to analyze music and learn about music theory using Roman numerals because the Roman numerals stay the same no matter which key you’re talking about.

How you can use this lesson:

Whether you compose the melody or the chord progressions first, you’ll quickly establish a tonal center.  If a new melody hits you while you’re humming in the shower and you run over the keyboard/guitar afterwards, you should be able to look at the pitches you’re using and determine which key you’re in.  Once you’ve established the key, you know which scale to use and which chords belong with that scale as a result – thus eliminating the hunting/pecking method of randomly playing notes and chords until you stumble upon something that sounds like it might fit.  You know what fits before you ever put pen to paper or hit the record button.

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Lesson III: Cadences

Why this lesson is important:

Most music will do two things very well: create tension, and resolve that tension.  Cadences help our music have a sense of resolution or finality at the end of a section or piece.  If you’re already writing music, you’re already using cadences – you just might not know which cadences you’re using – and how often.  This lesson helps you understand how to bring a piece/section back “home,” using a cadence, how you can trick your listeners and take them in an unexpected direction, and more.

The Lesson:

cadence usually refers to the chord progressions located at the end of a passage or piece of music, and will often refer specifically to the last two, three, or four chords of that music.  There are a few different types of cadences that we can use depending on the situation or desired effect, but for this post I’ll be talking about two specific cadences that appear in the main theme from Final Fantasy VII.

An authentic cadence is when a passage or piece ends with a V – I chord progression.  This is the most common cadence because it’s a very strong progression that sounds very natural to most listeners.

A deceptive cadence, on the other hand, tricks the listener by setting them up to EXPECT an authentic V – I cadence… but ends on an unexpected chord instead, leaving the listener hanging.  A commonly-used deceptive cadence is the V – vi cadence, during which the listener expects to hear a I chord after the V chord but instead hears the music resolve in a vi chord.  Not only are they tricked, but they are tricked and left to wallow in a minor chord instead of a happy, resolute major chord.  Mwahahaha…

After building up the excitement of the piece for awhile, Uematsu uses a deceptive cadence to end a section on a vi chord.  Since we’ve heard a V – I cadence with this part of the melody several times by this point, the vi is a total curve ball – which makes it interesting.  More importantly, this minor vi chord sets us up nicely for the next section, which is much darker and more ominous than the rest of the piece.

How you can use this lesson:

Obviously, if you’re looking to end a piece or section as resolutely as possible, you should probably use the authentic cadence: V-I.  Having said that, you should also take a look at how often you’re using V – I cadences in your music already.  If you find yourself ending every single piece you write with a V – I progression, it might be time to do a little more reading on cadences and harmonic progression so you can keep things interesting.  Also, gaming music is unique in that a lot it loops – indefinitely!  This creates an interesting challenge, and knowing a bit about cadences can help you manage them more effectively to end sections, pieces, or lead into looping sections.  For a great example of a unique cadence leading into a loop, listen to Barret’s theme.  Pay close attention to the very unconventional cadence which throws a very desperate, pained emotion into the music for about 15 seconds before the otherwise positive-sounding piece repeats itself.

Finally, it’s important to keep the melody in mind when approaching a cadence to avoid a train wreck.  Your ear will probably avoid this problem for you if you’re writing the melody and chords at the same time, but you don’t want to accidentally paint yourself into a corner with a melody that’s very difficult to harmonize at the end of a section.  Regardless of how cool the last 2 bars of melody may sound by themselves, your entire piece may suffer if you’re forced to harmonize them with a weak cadence.  This is especially important when composing the melody by itself before touching the harmony, as it will be more difficult to “hear” how a melody will lead from one section into another (Happily, I’ve found this to be one of those things that you can hear when you’re doing it well, but easily miss when you’re doing it poorly).

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Lesson IV: Ostinatos (or, Ostinati)

Why this lesson is important:

If you’ve listened to any video game music, you’ve probably heard several ostinatos. Ostinatos are massively useful – especially in game audio – because they can act as an anchor for the listener while simultaneously driving the rythmic pulse of the music.  Ostinatos probably made up a large percentage of early game audio, which needed to leverage repetitive rhythmic patterns to provide a harmonic progression while supplementing the percussion of the music.  If you’re writing chip tune music, you may already be using ostinatos without even realizing it and if you’re aware of what they are and their function you can make more deliberate choices in your tracks.  For more “modern” game scores, the function of providing an anchor – even for a single section within a larger piece – becomes a powerful tool to create contrast or provide a thematic effect without actually having a theme.

The Lesson:

What is an ostinato, exactly?  Basically, a musical phrase that repeats itself throughout a piece of music – usually within the same instrument/voice, and often at the same pitch.  Ostinatos might take several forms, including a baseline pattern that repeats itself across a chord progression, a stand-out percussion phrase, or the left-hand piano part in a good old fashioned boogie.  This may seem like an extremely broad definition, but hopefully a few examples can help reign us in a bit.

In Final Fantasy 7’s theme, we’re going to focus on the section that follows the 2nd video from Lesson III above.  After Uematsu dumps us into a minor key, the piece transitions from a hopeful, lush sound to a very ominous, foreboding section.  In my opinion, the use of an ostinato in the piano (OST version) or bass strings (orchestral version) creates most of the tension that can be felt during this section.

Not only does this little phrase reinforce the fact that we’re in a minor key, but it stays on the same pitches throughout most of the section to specifically reinforce the Emin chord (which is a “i” chord, using Roman numerals).  In addition to reinforcing this new tonality, this creates tension throughout the section as the ostinato continues to reinforce an E minor chord while the rest of the music throws in chords like a crunchy-sounding Emin6 (an Emin chord, plus a C# note) or an F#maj chord.

Ostinatos are extremely prevalent in video game music.  In the early days of game audio, the hardware limited composers to a handful of channels and possible sounds to work with.  For example, the NES had 5 available sound channels – two of which were usually reserved specifically for the lead melody and harmony.  That leaves 3 channels/lines to establish the harmonic progression AND the drive the pulse of the music.  Yikes.  Keep in mind that each of these channels were capable of playing a single note at a time, which provided an even greater challenge!

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Lesson V: Borrowed Chords

Why this lesson is important:

As stated earlier, a standard piece of music will be composed almost entirely of the same 7 chords made of the same 7 pitches.  While you can build an entire career within those constraints, with a little extra sophistication you can bring a little more color to your music by using Borrowed Chords.  Basically, this gives you more chords to choose from when harmonizing a melody.

The Lesson:

A Borrowed Chord is a chord borrowed from the key parallel to the one you’re writing in.  Parallel keys are major and minor keys that share the same root note.  E Major and E minor are two different keys that use two different scales, but they both use E as their root note.  Because they use different scales, they use different pitches and – since chords are built with the pitches of the scale – they contain different chords as a result.  The parallel key to E Major is E minor,  which contains the chords E minor, F# diminished, G major, A minor, B minor, C major, and D major.  Why not ask your good neighbor, E minor, if you can borrow a cup of sugar and a C Major chord for a little while?  That’s what neighbors are for.

Remember in the last lesson when I said that Uematsu uses chords in E Major for the main sections of the piece with the exception of 1 bar?  In that single bar, he adds a little magic by harmonizing the melody with chords borrowed from E minor.  Boom.  Magic.  

So, why is this so special?  There are a couple of reasons that this particular usage of borrowed chords is a fantastic example.  Assuming that the melody was composed before the chord progression, Uematsu – whether he noticed or not – could’ve easily found himself painted into a corner if he didn’t know that borrowing chords was possible.  If you follow through a textbook lesson for learning to harmonize a melody, you’ll first be taught to harmonize with chords that contain the melody’s pitch at any given time.  If the melody is playing a C, the triad chord you choose has to contain a C.  

If Uematsu chose to harmonize his existing melody with chords containing the melody’s pitches, he would’ve been limited to a small handful of options – none of which produce a particularly strong or remarkable chord progression.  Happily, a lot of the rock music that likely influenced him used this technique and other similar tricks to keep things interesting.

How you can use this lesson:

Take a look at a piece – either an old one, a new one, or the next one you haven’t even started yet.  Figure out which key it’s in, and then look up what chords are available from the parallel key.  Remember – if you’re writing in C Major, the parallel key is in C minor.  A quick Google search will help you find a list of the chords available in that parallel key.  Next, figure out which chords you’ve been using behind your melodies and experiment with substituting chords from the parallel key – especially when you feel like the chord progression could stand to be a little stronger.

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Lesson VI: Common-tone Modulation

Why this is important:

You could write music for years without ever using modulation, but adding a modulation – or key change – to a piece of music creates a very dramatic effect.  You can use a modulation to create an epic, rising effect (see Lesson VII).  Alternatively, you can use a modulation to go from a major (happy-sounding) key to a minor (sad/ominous-sounding key) as Uematsu did in Lesson III, where he uses a deceptive cadence to pivot us into a minor key.  Regardless, the use of modulations in music is not only common amongst great composers and song writers – it’s fun and interesting!  A very easy-to-use technique for modulation is called common-tone modulation, and so we’ll start there.

The Lesson:

Imagine that your favorite TV show has just aired its series finale, and the network has decided to produce a spin-off show that – while belonging to the same genre as the original show – is very different than what you’re used to.  How do they pull off these new shows without losing the entire audience from the original series, thus avoiding the need to start over from scratch?  By leveraging a character who existed in the first series and will continue on in the second series.  This character provides an anchor of familiarity and a point of reference for the new series, and a common-tone modulation works in a similar fashion.

Modulation, as I stated earlier, occurs when the tonal center of a piece of music changes.  This results in the use of a new root note, scale, and set of chords as per Lesson II above.  While this effect can be totally awesome to use in your music, you shouldn’t just dump your listeners into a new key without an anchor or some sense of familiarity.  That would be very jarring and unpleasant to listen to, even if the average listener can’t articulate why it’s unpleasant.  If you don’t want your modulation to sound like you accidentally played a wrong chord and decided to run with it, you need to use an anchor to pivot your piece into the new key.

In a common-tone modulation, you leverage a repeated or sustained note from the original key as a bridge to carry the music into a new key which also contains that note.  For example, if you’re in the key of C major and ending a section with a C major chord, you may modulate into G major by way of the G note, which is found in both the C major chord and the G major chord.  In OST version of Final Fantasy VII’s theme, a commom-tone modulation is used to raise the piece from Emajor into Gmajor, by using B as the common-tone.  

How you can use this lesson:

This technique isn’t rocket surgery, but it’s very effective so long as you’re using it very deliberately.  To begin using this technique, I would recommend choosing (or writing) a piece of music with a strong melody or a very catchy ostinato (think Jenova).  This technique works well with both looping- and scored/cued music that may accompany a scene, trailer, or event in the game.  Because video game music is short-form music by nature, the modulation point should be chosen very carefully and would best be used to transition to a new section or to repeat an existing section of music as Uematsu did with the above excerpt.  By modulating and repeating the exact same musical material in a new key, an emotionally lifting effect is achieved while content is recycled in an interesting way.

Finally, keep in mind that – because most video game music loops – if you modulate to a new key you will ultimately have to modulate back to the original key at some point.  Make sure to plan/write accordingly!

sheet music

Lesson VII: Common-chord Modulation

 Why this lesson is important:

As discussed in Lesson VI, modulation creates variety in your music – which is especially important in music that will be heard repeatedly throughout gameplay.  The more tools you have at your disposal to keep it interesting for the player, the better.  Common-chord modulation is another method for changing keys in your music, and if you’ve become comfortable with the other lessons in this post you have all of the knowledge you need to execute this technique effectively.

The Lesson:

common-chord modulation is achieved by transitioning from the original key to the new key through a chord that occurs in both keys.  Just as a common-tone modulation uses a shared tone to anchor the listener through the modulation, a common-chord modulation uses a shared chord – called the pivot chord – to make the transition between keys.

For example, you’ll remember from Lesson II the key of E Major contains the following chords: E Major, F# minor, G# minor, A Major, B Major, C# Minor, and D# diminished.  If I wanted to modulate to the key of D major, I could use any chord that occurs in both keys as my pivot chord.  The key of D major contains the following chords: D major, E minor, F# minor, G major, A major, B minor,and  C# diminished.  This gives us two possible options for our pivot chord – F# minor and A major – because these chords exist in both keys.

For this example, we’ll actually be looking at the same exact place in the music as we did in Lesson VI – but not the version found on the original soundtrack.  This time, we’re going to look at how that modulation occurs in the orchestral version.  Recall that in Lesson VI above, Uematsu uses a common-tone modulation to make the jump from E Major to G major on the OST version of the track.  On the Final Fantasy VII: Reunion Tracks album released in 1997, Uematsu collaborated with Shiro Hamaguchi to arrange this theme for a full orchestral performance.  It’s a gorgeous arrangement with some additional ear-candy built into it, including the new common-chord modulation from E Major to G major.

BUT, that’s not all.  The real magic is which chords they used as the pivot chords.  Remember the borrowed chord example from Lesson V, when Uematsu borrows a bVI and a bVII chord from the parallel minor key to spice things up a bit?  I’m not sure if this was by original design or a happy coincidence that was allowed to happen because of the keys Uematsu chose to use in the original soundtrack, but they were able to use the borrowed bVI and bVII chords as the pivot chords!  It’s a little easier to digest if you see the Roman numeral analysis and hear the modulation in the video below:

See what they did there?  In E Major, that same bVI-bVII chord trick we’ve been hearing uses C major and D major chords.  The destination key of G major contains both of those chords (IV and V chords, respectively), and as a result they use the bVI – bVII chord progression in E major AND as a IV – V – I progression in the new G major key (an authentic cadence, as per Lesson III).  Mind.  Blown.  Effectively, they combine Lessons II, III, and V in order to pull off the common-chord modulation.  See accompanying illustration:

How to use this lesson:

Choose a piece you’re working on, or one that you’ve already finished.  Decide where you’d like to place a modulation (perhaps repeat a section that already exists?), and use this Wikipedia page to identify the relative minor and closely-related keys.  Choosing from these closely-related keys will be easier to modulate to, as they already share several common tones/chords.  While using borrowed chords to modulate to a new key is a neat trick, it’s not necessary to try until you’re comfortable with a basic common-chord modulation.

Next, all you have to do is pick a key you’d like to end up in.  Experiment by playing your melody/ostinatos in the original key followed immediately by the destination key.  Remember that each modulation will have to return to the original key if your music is looping, so you’ll have to modulate twice.

sheet music pdf

Conclusion and Next Steps:

Phew!  Still with me?  That was a lot of information, and you should not try to implement all of these at once.  Get comfortable with one new technique until you’ve internalized it before moving on to the next one.  Just like in an RPG, it’s all about gradual progress and accumulating new skills, abilities, and Materia along the way.  Take your time, and have some fun with it.

Final Fantasy game & Music

Final Fantasy VII is a role-playing video game developed by Square (now Square Enix) and published by Sony Computer Entertainment as the seventh installment in the Final Fantasy series. Released in 1997, the game sparked the release of a collection of media centered on the game entitled the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. The music of the Final Fantasy VII series includes not only the soundtrack to the original game and its associated albums, but also the soundtracks and music albums released for the other titles in the collection.

The first album produced was Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack, a compilation of all the music in the game. It was released as a soundtrack album on four CDs by DigiCube in 1997. A selection of tracks from the album was released in the single-disc Reunion Tracks by DigiCube the same year. Piano Collections Final Fantasy VII, an album featuring piano arrangements of pieces from the soundtrack, was released in 2003 by DigiCube, and Square Enix began reprinting all three albums in 2004. To date, these are the only released albums based on the original game’s soundtrack, and were solely composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu; his role for the majority of subsequent albums has been filled by Masashi Hamauzu and Takeharu Ishimoto.

sheet music pdf

The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII began eight years after the release of Final Fantasy VII with the release of the animated film sequel Advent Children in 2005. The soundtracks for each of the titles in the collection are included in an album, starting with the album release of the soundtrack to Advent Children that year. The following year, Nippon Crown released a soundtrack album to correspond with the video game Dirge of Cerberus, while Square Enix launched a download-only collection of music from the multiplayer mode of the game, which was only released in Japan. After the launch of the game Crisis Core in 2007, Warner Music Japan produced the title’s soundtrack.

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The latest album in the collection, Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII & Last Order: Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack, was released by Square Enix the same year as a combined soundtrack album for the game Before Crisis and the animated movie Last Order.

The original music received highly positive reviews from critics, who found many of the tunes to be memorable and noted the emotional intensity of several of the tracks. The reception for the other albums has been mixed, with reactions ranging from enthusiastic praise to disappointment. Several pieces from the soundtrack, particularly “One-Winged Angel” and “Aeris’ Theme”, remain popular and have been performed numerous times in orchestral concert series such as Dear Friends: Music from Final Fantasy and Tour de Japon: Music from Final Fantasy. Music from the Original Soundtrack has been included in arranged albums and compilations by Square as well as outside groups.

Beautiful Music

Por una cabeza (Tango) de Carlos Gardel – Partitura

Por una cabeza (Tango) de Carlos Gardel (piano solo con partitura sheet music)

Carlos Gardel

Carlos Gardel fue un cantante, compositor y actor de cine. Es el más conocido representante (del género) en la historia del tango. Iniciador y máximo exponente del tango canción,​ fue uno de los intérpretes más importantes de la música popular mundial en la primera mitad del siglo XX,​ por la calidad de su voz, por la cantidad de discos vendidos (como cantante y como compositor), por sus numerosas películas relacionadas con el tango y por su repercusión mundial.

carlos gardel partitura de tango

No hay unanimidad sobre el lugar y la fecha de su nacimiento. La hipótesis uruguayista sostiene que nació en Tacuarembó (Uruguay), un 11 de diciembre entre 1883 y 1887. La hipótesis francesista sostiene que nació en Toulouse (Francia) el 11 de diciembre de 1890. Hay unanimidad en el hecho de que vivió desde su infancia en Buenos Aires y se nacionalizó argentino en 1923. Falleció el 24 de junio de 1935 en Medellín, Colombia, en un accidente aéreo.

La persona y la imagen de Gardel ha sido objeto de idolatría popular, especialmente en Argentina y Uruguay, colocándolo en un lugar de mito y símbolo cultural que aún mantiene su vigencia.

gardel partitura

En 2003 la voz de Gardel fue registrada por la Unesco en el programa Memoria del Mundo, dedicado a la preservación de documentos pertenecientes al patrimonio histórico de los pueblos del mundo. Al mismo tiempo, se hace alusión a su voz y su recuerdo con la frase “cada día, canta mejor”.

Canto de Gardel

En 1915, el tenor italiano Enrico Caruso vino a la Argentina a cantar al Teatro Colón y al volverse en barco al Brasil se dio la coincidencia de que en él se encontrase Carlos Gardel, que era amigo de muchos de los profesores de la Orquesta Estable. Algunos de ellos lo convencieron para que se encontrara con el famoso italiano. Así lo hizo y una vez que Caruso lo escuchó cantar un tango, una zamba y una cueca, el italiano, le comentó: “Si usted hubiera estudiado seriamente, sería el mejor barítono del mundo”. Con el tiempo, efectivamente, Carlos Gardel eligió como maestro al prestigioso profesor Alberto Castellanos, quien le cambió el registro de tenor a barítono. Por eso, en los primeros discos de Gardel, se percibe su canto en un tono más agudo; mientras que en los últimos se lo escucha más cómodo en el registro apropiado.

Su voz fue evolucionando, ajustando su dicción a los cambios de los sistemas de grabaciones acústicas. El maestro Eduardo Bonessi, quien fue profesor de canto de Gardel dijo hacia 1963: Era de una calidad extraordinaria y de un timbre maravilloso para el tango. Tenía un registro de barítono brillante y jamás desafinaba. En cuanto a su tesitura, su extensión alcanzaba a «dos octavos», que manejaba a plena satisfacción. Es una buena extensión para un cantor popular. Gardel poseía un gran temperamento ―expresivo al máximo― y estaba dotado naturalmente de un instrumento en la garganta. Un instrumento que luego perfeccionó y supo conservar.

Era un hombre conocedor de su valor, que no derrochaba su voz como muchos suponen. Tenía una laringe completamente sana y esa era una de las razones por las cuales le resultaba fácil pasar de los graves a los agudos y viceversa… Era estudioso y responsable. Sabíase único en el género y cuidaba su voz. Consciente de que la voz se cuida también mediante el cuidado físico, hacía gimnasia diariamente durante una hora o más… De acuerdo a la voz que tenía y al modo de emplearla, si Gardel hubiese llegado a vivir cien años, hubiera seguido cantando igual. Eduardo Bonessi.

En su libro Carlos Gardel: a la luz de la Historia,​ de la Fundación BankBoston, Montevideo, 2000, el arquitecto Nelson Bayardo, que durante más de treinta años investigó la vida y los orígenes de Carlos Gardel, describe la voz de del cantante resaltando cinco aspectos:

carlos gardel partitura

«Carlos Gardel, el corazón del tango», por el fileteador Martiniano Arce (2006).

  • Un innato sentido musical que le permitió aventurarse sin esfuerzo en más de 30 géneros musicales diferentes.
  • Un excepcional timbre vocal, que ha cambiado de tenor, al principio, para acercarse al barítono al final de su vida, incluso cuando cantaba la segunda parte en dúo con Razzano, lo que le permitió, más tarde, grabar los inolvidables duetos con él mismo, en los que cantaba ambas partes.
  • Una versatilidad sin igual, gracias a la cual podía realizar una amplia gama de estilos, ya sea dramático o cómico, sentimental o irónico, evocador o grotescos. Cada vez, como solía decir Ayestarán (musicólogo uruguayo) parecido pero diferente al mismo tiempo. El vivaz Gardel en «Te fuiste, ¡jajá!» no se parece a la angustiada voz de «Mi noche triste», dos canciones con idéntico contenido, un hombre abandonado por su esposa, pero en el que el sonido de las dos primeras palabras (Te fuiste y Percanta) es suficiente para que el oyente adivine de inmediato el tono alegre o triste de cada canción.
  • Una creatividad sin límites, que fue capaz de utilizar sencillamente porque él fue quien había inventado el tango-canción, y por lo tanto fue la única persona que pudo determinar su estilo. Utilizó varios trucos, incluyendo pequeños discursos antes o durante sus canciones, risas, toses e interrupciones; el clásico «jmmm» que esparció a lo largo de sus canciones; silencios espontáneos que rozaban lo dramático, como en Anoche a las dos (una canción que, si no fuera Gardel quien la cantara, sería inmediatamente olvidable) en la que adapta su voz para cantar las líneas del marido traicionado, de un cliente atento en un café y un oficial de policía: algo que, sin su original manera de realizar un arte que le era tan propia, habría bordeado el ridículo, como otras piezas que a veces simplemente no eran suficientemente buenas para el cantante.
  • Por último, su expresividad, que, según el famoso Rubén Pesce, lo convirtió en un «actor tanguero». Casto Canel dijo al respecto que «él se escapa de las mecánicas reglas del metro, llegando más temprano, tarde o fuera de tiempo, acortando o alargando una frase, a veces puede ser oído un riguroso refinamiento, o un poderoso y sofocante silencio; con una palabra puede crear una experiencia musical más profunda que la alcanzable por puros patrones aritméticos».

Con respecto a la «N» que Gardel pronunciaba como una «R», el cantante argentino Edmundo Rivero, en un libro dedicado exclusivamente al análisis técnico de su canto, dio la siguiente explicación: Se debe a que la «n» es consonante líquida y puede perder su sonoridad al encontrarse con una consonante sorda [una «t» o una «p»], de las que obstruyen el pasaje del aire (son oclusivas), y al pronunciar anterior a ellas la «n», esta se apoya en la nariz y ―sabiendo que en el canto elevado esto es antiestético y reprochado― Gardel enviaba el aire directamente hacia adelante (siempre apoyada).

Día de Carlos Gardel

gardel partitura

Placa conmemorativa por el centenario de su nacimiento, en México, D. F, 1990 (A pesar de que nunca visitó México).

El 24 de junio de 2005, por decisión conjunta de las autoridades municipales de las ciudades de Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Tacuarembó y Medellín (donde falleció), se recordaron los 70 años de la muerte de Carlos Gardel. Por primera vez, se obvió la conmemoración del llamado Día de Carlos Gardel en la ciudad francesa de Toulouse.

Día del Tango

En Argentina se celebra cada 11 de diciembre el Día del Tango, debido a que ese día nacieron Julio de Caro y Carlos Gardel.

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Film & TV Music

Disney – Baby Mine Jim Brickman, piano (sheet music)

Table of Contents
  • Disney Baby Mine Jim Brickman, piano with sheet music
  • Lyrics:
  • Jim Brickman
  • Disney -Baby Mine

Disney Baby Mine Jim Brickman, piano with sheet music available from our Library.

Disney sheet music


Baby mine, don’t you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part

Baby of mine
Little one, when you play
Don’t you mind what they say
Let those eyes sparkle and shine
Never a tear

Baby of mine
From your head to your toes (Baby mine)
You’re so sweet, goodness knows (Baby mine)
You are so precious to me
Cute as can be

Baby of mine
Baby mine
Baby mine

Jim Brickman

James Merrill Brickman (born November 20, 1961) is an American pop songwriter, pianist and radio host. Brickman has earned two Grammy nominations for his albums Peace (2003) for Best Instrumental, and Faith (2009) for Best New Age Album. He won a Canadian Country Music Award, a Dove Award presented by the Gospel Music Association, and was twice named Songwriter of the Year by SESAC. Billboard lists 22 of his albums reaching No. 1 on the New Age chart, and 16 of his songs reaching Top 10 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Four of his albums were certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Since 1997, he has hosted his own radio show, “The Jim Brickman Show”, which is carried on radio stations throughout the United States.

Brickman has collaborated with Lady A, Johnny Mathis, Kenny Rogers, Michael W. Smith, Leslie Odom Jr., Martina McBride, Megan Hilty, Donny Osmond, Delta Goodrem, Olivia Newton-John, Carly Simon, John Oates, Five for Fighting, Michael Bolton, Gerald Levert, Jane Krakowski, Richie McDonald and many others.

Disney -Baby Mine

“Baby Mine”
Song by Betty Noyes
GenreLullaby, ballad
Composer(s)Frank Churchill
Lyricist(s)Ned Washington

Baby Mine” is a song from the 1941 Disney animated feature Dumbo. The music is by Frank Churchill, with lyrics by Ned Washington. Betty Noyes recorded the vocals for the original film version. In the film, Dumbo’s mother, Mrs. Jumbo, an elephant locked in a circus wagon, cradles her baby Dumbo with her trunk while this lullaby is sung. It is also the last appearance of the circus animals.

The song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 14th Academy Awards in 1942. It is also listed on AFI‘s “100 Years… 100 Songs” as one of America’s greatest film songs.

Early popular recordings include those by Les Brown, Glenn Miller, and Jane Froman, followed by several others; and decades later, the song regained attention Bette Midler covered the song on the 1988 Beaches soundtrack. In the same year, Bonnie Raitt and Was (Not Was) recorded the song for the album, Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films.

Alison Krauss recorded the song for the 1996 album The Best of Country Sing the Best of Disney. Her version peaked at number 82 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada. Krauss’ cover earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1997.

Soap actress Kassie DePaiva recorded the song with Jim Brickman for The Disney Songbook.

An instrumental version by violinist Jenny Oaks Baker was included in the Grammy-nominated album Wish Upon a Star, released in 2011.

There have been numerous Disney compilation releases of the original, as well as an Original Cast recording from the musical, Disney’s On the Record: A New Musical Review

The song is used recurrently in the AMC television drama Halt and Catch Fire as a lullaby that Donna Clark (Kerry Bishé) sings to her daughters.

Sharon Rooney and Arcade Fire covered the song for the 2019 live-action remake of Dumbo, while Norwegian singer Aurora performed the song for the trailer.

The song also features in the 2019 Netflix sci-fi drama I Am Mother, sung by Clara Rugaard and later by Nina Ferro.

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Film & TV Music

EBB TIDE (with sheet music download)

“Ebb Tide” is a popular song, written in 1953 by the lyricist Carl Sigman and composer Robert Maxwell. The song’s build up is to illustrate the ocean waves coming in and out to and from the shores, due to the ebb tides. The first three notes are identical to the first three notes of the Erroll Garner song “Misty” (1954). This song is a key part of the original soundtrack of the film Sweet Bird of Youth

EBB TIDE (with sheet music download)

Download this sheet music at the Sheet Music Library (pdf)

sheet music

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Read the full article here)


First the tide rushes in
Plants a kiss on the shore
Then rolls out to sea
And the sea is very still once more
So I rush to your side
Like the oncoming tide
With one burning thought
Will your arms open wide
At last we’re face to face
And as we kiss through an embrace
I can tell, I, I can feel
You are love, you are real
Really mine in the rain
In the dark, in the sun
Like the tide at its ebb
I’m at peace in the web of your arms
Ebb tide

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Top 25 icons in Jazz history

Louis Armstrong “Hotter Than That” – The Top 25 icons in Jazz history

Table of Contents
  • Louis Armstrong “Hotter Than That” – The Top 25 pearls in Jazz history
    • To understand jazz, everything starts with Louis Armstrong.
    • Download Louis Armstrong sheet music transcription from our Library.

Louis Armstrong “Hotter Than That” – The Top 25 pearls in Jazz history

To understand jazz, everything starts with Louis Armstrong.

The first great soloist in jazz, born in New Orleans, he brought wonderful rhythmic freedom and melodic invention to what had been a rather stilted ragtimey style of music. His great recordings with his Hot Five and Hot Seven from 1920s Chicago form a magnificent body of work and this track has everything – Louis’ virtuoso cornet, his wordless “Scat” singing and a fabulous improvised duet with guitarist Lonnie Johnson.

Louis Armstrong sheet music pdf

Born in abject poverty in New Orleans, Armstrong became the first great soloist in jazz, and the musician who was the single most powerful influence on the music during its first half century. Abandoned by his father, he was brought up by his mother and grandmother in some of the poorest areas of his home town, and he apparently never know his real birth date, preferring to adopt Independence Day 1900 as his birthday. As a boy, he worked on a coal cart for the Jewish Karnofsky family, working in the Red Light District of New Orleans and developing a musical talent that grew further during his time in the Colored Waifs home, where he spent some of his teenage years. he played cornet in the Waifs’ band, and by his late teens had acquired a reputation as a fine brass player with plenty of ideas and natural stamina.

His big break came when he was summoned to Chicago in 1922 to join King Oliver’s band, with whom he made his first records. His reputation grew when he travelled to New York in 1924 to become a star soloist with Fletcher Henderson.

Back in Chicago, he made a remarkable series of discs with a studio band known as his Hot Five and Hot Seven, in which he developed his bravura solo style, and launched the concept of the improvising jazz soloist. His brilliant, inventive playing became a symbol of the energy and freedom of the ‘jazz age’ – the riotous pre-Depression America of the Roaring Twenties. By the end of the 1920s, having moved to New York in 1929 to perform in the revue Hot Chocolates, Armstrong became a major star. As a singer, trumpeter and entertainer, he fronted his own big band throughout the 1930s and well into the 1940s, making a string of influential discs that featured his high, powerful trumpeting and his gravelly singing.

He toured to Europe in 1933-4 , leading a big band of local musicians. In 1947 he scaled down to a small group – the All Stars – which he led for the rest of his life, playing an up-to-date brand of the Dixieland jazz of his home town. He also appeared in numerous films, and made several popular vocal records, including Hello Dolly and What a Wonderful World, which introduced him to a vast audience unaware of his musical innovations in the 1920s. When he died he was universally regarded as the father figure of jazz, and loved by the people he had met and encouraged all over the world as ‘Ambassador Satch’, playing a relentless series of tours and concerts well into his old age.

Download Louis Armstrong sheet music transcription from our Library.

The influence of Armstrong on the development of jazz is virtually immeasurable. His irrepressible personality both as a performer and as a public figure was so strong that to some it sometimes overshadowed his contributions as a musician and singer.

As a virtuoso trumpet player, Armstrong had a unique tone and an extraordinary talent for melodic improvisation. Through his playing, the trumpet emerged as a solo instrument in jazz and is used widely today. Additionally, jazz itself was transformed from a collectively improvised folk music to a soloist’s serious art form largely through his influence. He was a masterful accompanist and ensemble player in addition to his extraordinary skills as a soloist. With his innovations, he raised the bar musically for all who came after him.

Though Armstrong is widely recognized as a pioneer of scat singing, Ethel Waters precedes his scatting on record in the 1930s according to Gary Giddins and others. Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra are just two singers who were greatly indebted to him. Holiday said that she always wanted Bessie Smith’s ‘big’ sound and Armstrong’s feeling in her singing. Even special musicians like Duke Ellington have praised Armstrong through strong testimonials. Duke Ellington, DownBeat magazine in 1971, said, “If anybody was a master, it was Louis Armstrong. He was and will continue to be the embodiment of jazz.” In 1950, Bing Crosby, the most successful vocalist of the first half of the 20th century, said, “He is the beginning and the end of music in America.”

louis armstrong sheet music pdf

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LIVE Music Concerts

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 with sheet music

Table of Contents

Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 with sheet music, Alexis Weissenberg, piano, Chicago Symphony, Georges Prêtre, conductor.

[0:07] I. Allegro ma non tanto [16:37] II. Intermezzo. Adagio [28:19] III. Finale. Alla breve

rachmaninoff free sheet music & pdf scores download

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 30 in D minor

1. Allegro ma non tanto (16:25)

2. Intermezzo: Adagio (11:42)

3. Finale: Alla breve (14:54)

Alexis Weissenberg, piano

Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Georges Prêtre, conductor

Original LP:  RCA  LSC-3040 (1968)

CD re-issue:  BMG Music (RCA Gold Seal)  9026-61396-2 (1993)

Original liner notes by Alexis Weissenberg:

It was Rachmaninoff’s own recording of the concerto that revealed the work to me for the first time.  I remembered this quite suddenly and with extraordinary precision the day, in Chicago, we sat listening, exhausted and happy, Jack Pfeiffer, the RCA technicians, Georges and I, to the final takes of the last recording session. 

We had worked hard and well for two long days, and thanks to the orchestra’s constant enthusiasm and cooperation of the highest professional quality the recording had been finished in record time.  For each one of us the work was done, another record had been born.  But for me, that late afternoon, it was a little more than that; in fact, it was a long-time dream that had suddenly come true.

It is often a pity that, with time, one tends to forget the moment when one first came into contact with a new work.  While later performances of that work can have their ups and downs and be more or less exhilarating, nothing is, in a way, more thrilling, more exciting to an interpreter than his first discovery through listening or sight-reading. 

Later, of course, when fully assimilated and completely re-created through the compulsive nature of one’s talent, imagination and temperament, the work becomes such a part of oneself, such an unconditional fragment of one’s creative nature, that one tends to feel, logically, that the composition somehow never existed away from one.  This, actually, is a conviction that is essential to re-creation.

But that first moment, that spine-thrill of love at first sight, holds infinite magic in it.  I must have been 7-8 years old, not more.  Already, music was not part of my life, I had become part of its life.  Everything connected with musical sound — harmonies, rhythms, melodic lines — had already established itself in me, and around me, as an absolute climate of self-expression and unlimited exploration for the rest of my life. 

Recordings by Hoffmann, Horowitz, Rachmaninoff and Backhaus had become vitally important, and the days when after a long and wonderful piano lesson I would go with my teacher Wladigeroff to his brother Luben’s house to listen to them were anticipated with the same tension and excitement as birthdays and Christmas.  It was at Luben’s that I first heard the Rachmaninoff Third, recorded by the composer.

Every child who is studying the piano seriously and has at heart the ambition to make it his professional career knows what it is to daydream, or sit awake nights “night-dreaming,” about his first public appearance, in what seems a hundred years from then, at a gigantic plush-gilded concert hall packed with millions of people, looking like a jumbo-size penguin, seated in front of a monstrous jet-black concert grand with the biggest sound ever, surrounded by the largest and greatest (in that order!) orchestra, and with probably God conducting, playing the. . . . .

It had been the Tchaikovsky B-Flat for me too, of course.  Until then.  And then came the Rachmaninoff Third.  I can still see myself, barely sitting on the edge of a chair in Luben’s library, my heart pounding faster and faster, my eyes wide open (my mouth probably too), listening incredulously to what seemed then the discovery of the Concerto of all Concerti, and reliving through the scene described above up to the last thunderous applause that brought an apocalyptic end to an unmeasurable dream!  Wladigeroff laughed heartily — “You’ll play it someday.”

That night I didn’t sleep for the very opposite reason.  I thought, “I’ll never be able to play it.”

Six years later, in Jerusalem, I saw the piano score in a music store and bought it.  Reflexively, the same fantasy switched on automatically, but by then an instinctive teen-age censorship had brutally readjusted certain details regarding qualifications, plush-gildedness, quantities, enormities and the final result. 

A first and unhappy attempt at sight-reading a visually frightening score did not help much in altering a pessimistic climate.  Instead, I bought the Horowitz-Coates historic recording and listened to it day in, day out.  It still remains a favorite, and by a wonderful, sentimental coincidence the first live performance of the concerto I heard was by Horowitz with Reiner and the New York Philharmonic in a memorable concert.

It was only during the winter of 1946, when I commuted between Philadelphia and New York to study with Samaroff at Juilliard, that I first seriously tried my hand at the concerto.  I had decided to present the Rachmaninoff Third with the Brahms Second and the Chopin E Minor at both The Philadelphia Orchestra Youth Contest and the Leventritt Award Competition that same year.  Madame Samaroff gave me my first opportunity to play the concerto with a second piano two months before the Leventritt Eliminations started, at one of her weekly Leyman Courses at Town Hall. 

That was an excellent occasion for me to loosen up the work interpretively and to let it breathe some fresh air after the long weeks of applied hard labor.  It was also at that concert that I met William Kapell, who came backstage and soon became a close and invaluable friend.  To me, Willie gave one of the finest and most exciting performances of the Rachmaninoff Third I have ever heard, in Boston with Koussevitzky.

The following year, in 1947, as winner of The Philadelphia Orchestra Youth Contest, I had the great privilege of playing the concerto under Eugene Ormandy with The Philadelphia Orchestra.  That particular concert also marked the beginning of my career in America — my early career in America, that is.

That same year, just after the Leventritt Award and during my first coast-to-coast tour of the United States, I was called upon as a last-minute substitute for Vladimir Horowitz, suddenly taken ill, in Pittsburgh, in the same concerto.  I also made my European debut with the Rachmaninoff Third, in Paris in 1950 with the Orchestre du Conservatoire at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.  The year after, I had an exciting collaboration in the concerto with Bernstein and the Israel Philharmonic.  That same year I made my debuts with it both at La Scala of Milan and at the Colón in Buenos Aires with Celibidache.

Recently, after a self-imposed and necessary sabbatical over a period of ten years for work and meditation and a restrained amount of public appearances, I reopened my career with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, and chose to make my comeback with the Rachmaninoff Third for reasons more sentimental than superstitious, although the concerto had in the meantime inevitably become a mascot in my life.

By this time I have, of course, long since revised my speculations and considerations as to which is the Concerto of all Concerti, and the two Brahms, the Fourth and Fifth Beethoven, the Mozart K. 271 and K. 491, the Bartók Second and a few others have alternately exchanged or shared the place of preference in my creative enthusiasm and musical needs, but the Rachmaninoff Third has kept, and will keep forever and without the slightest doubt, a place apart in my heart. 

I still think it is the most gloriously written concerto for the piano, find it as thrilling and exciting to hear and perform as I did years ago, and I find very appropriate and rewarding this first opportunity I have had not only to give it all due credit for the often decisive part it has played in my artistic life but also to dedicate to it my unlimited and everlasting gratitude.

—Alexis Weissenberg

Paris, June 1968

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J.S. Bach Best Classical Music

Goldberg Variations Complete J S Bach BWV 988

Goldberg Variations Complete J S Bach BWV 988, with sheet music

j s bach free sheet music & scores pdf

Goldberg Variations: a short history

The so-called Goldberg Variations of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) is believed to have been a gift to a Count Kayserling, an influential musical devotee who had secured for Bach an appointment as official composer to the Saxon court. Beyond being a deep honor, the title provided Bach much-needed royal protection against the pettiness of his employers, with whom he rarely got along. From his earliest days as a church organist, Bach was faulted for confusing congretations with flights of invention rather than strictly accompanying their hymns. Throughout his career, he constantly railed against the inadequacy of the players and resources with which he had to work.

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The Count suffered from bouts of insomnia and had hired one of Bach’s finest pupils, the fourteen-year old Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, to play for him during his restless nights. To soothe the Count, Bach wrote this piece, formally entitled Aria With Diverse Variations for Harpsichord with Two Manuals, in 1741. In gratitude, the Count sent Bach 100 louis d’or, an extraordinary sum far exceeding his annual salary.

Bach clearly cherished the Variations himself, as they comprised one of only four volumes of keyboard works he published. Yet, while Bach was revered during his lifetime as a great organist who could brilliantly improvise an entire two-hour concert, his compositions were largely dismissed as the type of functional and disposable material which all performers of the time were expected to produce routinely for their own use.

We now acclaim Bach’s art as the culmination of a millennium of musical development. Serious Western music began in the Middle Ages with Gregorian chant, a stylization of speech in which a bare melody imitated the verbal inflection of prayer. Chant was a continuous horizontal art, using a single note at a time. The first glimmer of change came around 1100 by adding another voice at the octave, fifth or fourth. Next, melodies were added above the foundation of a chant. Polyphony flowered as up to four independent voices competed for attention. By the 18th Century, the system had matured into an extraordinary profusion of forms, harmonies and rhythms.

Bach’s Art of Fugue and Well-Tempered Clavier are often considered the apex of polyphony and the purest expression of his creativity. But perhaps the ultimate display of the full range of Bach’s art, as well as the outlet for his deepest, most personal feelings is the Goldberg Variations. Like all great music, the key to understanding it lies in admiring its fantasy and ingenuity within formal restrictions – freedom within limits.

Bach begins and ends with a simple,

The beginning of the aria from Bach's autograph score of the Goldberg Variations
The beginning of the aria from Bach’s autograph score

gracious, unadorned song (the aria) he had written years earlier for his wife. Unlike most variations that focus upon a melody, the Goldberg set follows only the bass of Bach’s song and its implied harmonies. Each of the thirty variations retains the aria’s structure of two 16-bar halves, the first rising from tonic to dominant, and the second, through a chromatic excursion, returning back home to the tonic. But within that basic design, they comprise an amazing abundance of styles and moods. Every third variation is a canon in which regular repetitions of a simple melody overlap and intermingle (as in “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”).

The first canon (variation # 3) is in unison (ie: each repetition begins on the same note as the original), and then the intervals increase: #6 is at the second, #9 at the third, all the way up to #27 at a ninth. Bach clearly was intrigued with such formal possibilities – his personal copy of the Goldberg Variations, found only in 1975, contained sketches for 14 more canons on the same bass.

In between the canons

The beginning of the aria from a modern printing of the Goldberg Variations
The same passage in a modern edition

are a lusty dance (#4), a graceful waltz (#7), a fugue (#10), swirling harp-like arpeggiations (#11), a dreamy reverie (#15), an overture (#16), a quidoblet (#30, in which Bach combines two folk songs) and, most striking of all, an astoundingly modern-sounding chromatic meditation (#25) in which all conventional notions of tempo are suspended.

The technique ranges from rudimentary two-parts (the aria itself) to fiendishly difficult passages of rapid note clusters (#s 14 and 23), blindingly fast trills (#28) and a furious sinuous line split between the hands (#29) (the intertwining parts of which are far harder to realize on modern instruments than on those of Bach’s time which had a separate keyboard for each hand).

Bach never expected his music to survive him. Indeed, toward the end of his life polyphonic music like the Goldberg Variations, in which each voice was of equal importance, was already considered old-fashioned. Even his own sons were pioneering a new and simpler style of harmonized melodies which would form the basis for nearly all the music we now love. While Mozart, Beethoven and other professionals would become enthralled with the structural marvels of Bach’s finely-crafted polyphony, the public relegated both the music and the harpsichord for which it was written to museums and ancient texts.

There they languished until 1903, when a young Polish pianist launched their revival. Through the remaining six decades of her life, Wanda Landowska tirelessly researched, taught, performed and crusaded for the harpsichord (in which strings are plucked with quills rather than struck with a padded hammer, as in a piano) and for “authentic” Bach, albeit through the filter of her own considerable ego.

Her concerts were theatrical events, given from stages set as Baroque living rooms, as if to demand that audiences enter an antiquated world and meet her only on her own terms. Landowska also generated one of the great put-downs of all time – when a pianist dared to criticize her performance, she replied: “That’s fine – you play Bach your way and I’ll play Bach his way!”

Given her crucial role in restoring Bach to public favor, it’s fitting that Landowska waxed the very first recording of the Goldberg Variations in 1933 (now on EMI 61008, coupled with a massively dramatic Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue). Unfortunately, the crude sound largely obscures the delicate texture and sparkling harmonics that give the harpsichord its distinctive flavor, a problem only partially cured in her 1946 remake (BMG 60919).

Despite her fervent advocacy, and although a revelation in its time, Landowska’s playing is dignified, reserved and somewhat stodgy and graceless, although charged with a compelling sense of humanism and commitment that remains deeply touching. Although the harpsichord is impervious to touch, producing the same volume and tone no matter how a key is pressed, Landowska compensates for the fixed dynamics by intensively coloring her tone through exploiting various registers of her custom-built instrument.

A second pioneer was another young pianist, Canadian Glenn Gould, who chose the Goldberg Variations for his sensational debut recording in 1955. In marked contrast to Landowka’s deference to authenticity, Gould regarded Bach as ripe for modern exploration and realized his deeply personal vision of extreme tempos, huge dynamics and phenomenal technique on a concert grand. His album (on Sony SK 52594) still startles with its precision, crisp rhythms and dazzlingly clear counterpoint.

Vibrant and exciting, yet deeply respectful of the inherent values of the source, it ushered in modern enthusiasm for Bach by combining the feel of a harpsichord with the romantic impulse and augmented resources of the piano – several variations are blindingly swift, while in the heart-rending 25th time nearly stands still, hanging on each poignant note.

If portions seem a bit sterile and more inspired by the editing block than the human soul, a live 1959 Salzburg version (Sony SMK 52685), tempers the studio volatility with more feeling and atmosphere. One of Gould’s final projects was a 1981 remake (Sony SMK 52619), in which his former fire and impulse cede to finely-graded dynamics, control and spirituality.

In the last half-century, the popularity of the Goldberg Variations has soared. A Japanese website having charmingly fractured English and the clever URL of (get the pun?) catalogues 240 recordings (plus hundreds of reissues) on LP and CD, ranging from the traditional harpsichord or piano to arrangements for strings, organ, band and the Canadian Brass. If Bach could return after a quarter millennium, surely he would be astounded!

Of the several dozen renditions currently available, one of the most distinctive is by Rosalyn Tureck (DG 459 599), which contains a marvelous CD ROM feature of a score which can be printed or followed on screen and which compels appreciation for Bach’s wondrous construction. In addition, a MIDI element lets you experiment with dynamics, phrasing, embellishments and tempos to craft your own performance (and learn the artistic value of these techniques in the process).

As for Tureck’s rarefied, magisterial performance, it’s a throwback to Bach’s culture, light-years removed from our present age of constant and immediate gratification. Her deliberate unfolding of a multi-layered masterpiece observes all repeats and consumes 91 minutes (Gould’s ran 37!), charging every phrase with cosmic weight and emerging as a profound experience.

Equally personal is the 1968 recording by Maria Yudina (Philips 456 994), who played as she lived – an outcast religious dissident in Communist Russia whose irrepressible sense of freedom kindled her artistry. Sharing Bach’s belief in music as a direct route to God, she plays every note with a gripping conviction and even adds her own embellishments. Yudina’s Goldbergs combine enormously assertive and virile strength with startling dynamics and vast rhythmic elasticity.

Music this rich will continue to attract great artists and inspire great renditions in every generation. Among the most recent interpreters, Murray Perahia, from July, 2000 (Sony 88243), displays an exquisite sensitivity and breathtaking control, with every phrase beautifully shaped.

Goldberg Variations: Analysis

The Canons

Let’s start by talking about the canon variations. Every third variation is written in canon form  (which we’ve talked about before). So that means variation #3 is a canon, so is #6, #9, and so on.

But that would be too easy – Bach needed to add an additional spin to these canons. Canon #3 is a unison canon, meaning the copycat part starts on the same note. But in canon #6, the copycat part ascends a step so that it repeats a 2nd above the original tune. And then Canon #9 repeats a 3rd above, and so on and so on.


Pattern of variations

Baroque-style dances (#4, 7, 19)
A Fughetta (#10)
A French overture (#16)
Arias (#13, 25)

Goldberg Variations: Arabesques

First arabesque

Let’s start by taking a listen to a few clips from the arabesques. The first arabesque we’re going to listen to is Variation #5, and it’s really, really fast (allegro vivace, or lively + fast).

This movement features hand crossing – the left hand is constantly swinging back and forth over the right hand, which is something Scarlatti (another Baroque composer) was fond of doing.

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Second Arabesque

The next arabesque, #8, also features this hand crossing. This would have originally been written for a keyboard with two keyboards, like a harpsichord. But when we try to play it on a 1-keyboard instrument like the piano, it’s much more difficult because of awkward overlapping.

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Third Arabesque

Third arabesque

The same goes for the third arabesque I’m going to show you – it’s extremely tough. It’s a toccata, which is basically as fast and challenging as you can get in the Baroque era. Have a listen to these three arabesques back to back, and try to keep track of that ever-unchanging bass line, while also listening for the hand leaps and overlaps that make these so challenging.

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Third category of the variations

Right after the fifteenth variation, we hit the halfway point – and Bach knows it. Since this set of variations cycles in threes (canons, arabesques, and dances), we have one more category to look at – the dances.

Variation #16 is a French overture, and is unique within this composition. It’s the only variation written in this style, such that it feels like a clear turning point in the music. Further adding to the point are the big, bold opening and closing chords.

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Goldberg Variations: Minor Key Aria

Next, let’s listen to an aria. An aria isn’t a dance, but it’s still lumped in the “dance” section along with the French overture, another aria, a fughetta, and some more standard Baroque-type dances.

The reason I think you need to listen to this aria, which is variation #25, is because it’s one of three variations in a minor key (G minor; the others are all in G major), and it’s SO beautiful. It’s been described as having a “dark passion” and as being the emotional climax of the variations, and of having an “extraordinary chromatic texture”. Let’s take a listen!

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Goldberg Variations: Quodlibet

The last thing we need to listen to is the very, very last variation – the thirtieth, which is a “quodlibet”. A quodlibet is a great word that means multiple melodies at once, like a canon. The difference is these were usually popular melodies of the day (think folk music), and was intended as a joke tune.

I have to share this anecdote with you guys, because it’s great.

Apparently at Bach family reunions, they would start by singing a serious chorale. After that, however, they would start singing

“popular songs..of comic and also partly of indecent content, all mixed together on the spur of the moment… and not only could laugh over it quite whole-heartedly themselves, but also aroused just as hearty and irresistible laughter in all who heard them.”

-Forkel, a Bach biographer

So this very last variation was almost entirely intended to be a joke. It incorporates a variety of folk songs, including one with the lyric,

“Cabbage and turnips have driven me away, had my mother cooked meat, I’d have opted to stay”.

I’d stay for that!

Let’s take a listen.

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Jazz & Blues Music

Art Tatum – Cherokee (with sheet music transcription)

Art Tatum – Cherokee (with sheet music transcription)

art tatum sheet music

Art Tatum was among the most extraordinary of all jazz musicians, a pianist with wondrous technique who could not only play ridiculously rapid lines with both hands (his 1933 solo version of “Tiger Rag” sounds as if there were three pianists jamming together) but was harmonically 30 years ahead of his time; all pianists have to deal to a certain extent with Tatum‘s innovations in order to be taken seriously. Able to play stride, swing, and boogie-woogie with speed and complexity that could only previously be imagined, Tatum‘s quick reflexes and boundless imagination kept his improvisations filled with fresh (and sometimes futuristic) ideas that put him way ahead of his contemporaries.

Born nearly blind, Tatum gained some formal piano training at the Toledo School of Music but was largely self-taught. Although influenced a bit by Fats Waller and the semi-classical pianists of the 1920s, there is really no explanation for where Tatum gained his inspiration and ideas from. He first played professionally in Toledo in the mid-’20s and had a radio show during 1929-1930. In 1932 Tatum traveled with singer Adelaide Hall to New York and made his recording debut accompanying Hall (as one of two pianists).

But for those who had never heard him in person, it was his solos of 1933 (including “Tiger Rag”) that announced the arrival of a truly major talent. In the 1930s, Tatum spent periods working in Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and (in 1938) England. Although he led a popular trio with guitarist Tiny Grimes (later Everett Barksdale) and bassist Slam Stewart in the mid-’40s, Tatum spent most of his life as a solo pianist who could always scare the competition.

Some observers criticized him for having too much technique (is such a thing possible?), working out and then keeping the same arrangements for particular songs, and for using too many notes, but those minor reservations pale when compared to Tatum‘s reworkings of such tunes as “Yesterdays,” “Begin the Beguine,” and even “Humoresque.” Although he was not a composer, Tatum‘s rearrangements of standards made even warhorses sound like new compositions.

Art Tatum, who recorded for Decca throughout the 1930s and Capitol in the late ’40s, starred at the Esquire Metropolitan Opera House concert of 1944 and appeared briefly in his only film in 1947, The Fabulous Dorseys (leading a jam session on a heated blues).

He recorded extensively for Norman Granz near the end of his life in the 1950s, both solo and with all-star groups; all of the music has been reissued by Pablo on a six-CD box set. His premature death from uremia has not resulted in any loss of fame, for Art Tatum‘s recordings still have the ability to scare modern pianists.

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