Beautiful Music

Ab Ovo by Joep Beving with sheet music

Ab Ovo by Joep Beving with sheet music download

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Joep Beving

Dutch pianist Joep Beving was catapulted into stardom when his self released debut album Solipsism, initially made for family and friends, was picked up by Spotify and brought to millions of ears around the world.

Joep Beving is a Dutch pianist, originally from Doetinchem but now based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He makes “simple music for complex emotions”. His work is often labelled as neo-classical, although Beving says he has more of a ‘pop approach’. Beving has also produced music for TV and cinema commercials.

Having studied music, sociology and economics, Joep Beving started working as a copywriter in advertising. His love for music quickly led him to Amsterdam based company MassiveMusic in 2003, where he was head of business development and strategy. In his spare time he wrote music under the alias I are Giant.

Considering himself to be an electronic music producer and/or jazz musician, Beving decided around 2008 that the music he was making didn’t really move his heart. He returned to his piano and his emotions started to flow into piano compositions. He started his own record label and released an album, Solipsism, in 2015. His music was included in several prestigious and massively popular Spotify playlists and before he knew what was happening his album had gained over 60 million streams worldwide, his Spotify artist account followed by well over a million followers.

His rise to online fame (and growing popularity all over the world, particularly in North America) was noticed by prestigious record label, Deutsche Grammophon. Beving’s second full-length release, April 2017’s Prehension, will be released worldwide.

They say you need three things to succeed in the music business – talent, timing and luck. Plus a little something extra to get you noticed. Joep Beving has all four in abundance.

At nearly six foot ten, with his wild hair and flowing beard, the Dutch pianist resembles a friendly giant from a book of children’s fairy tales. But his playing – understated, haunting, melancholic – marks him out as the gentlest of giants, his delicate melodies soothing the soul in these troubled times.

“The world is a hectic place right now,” says Joep. “I feel a deep urge to reconnect on a basic human level with people in general. Music as our universal language has the power to unite. Regardless of our cultural differences I believe we have an innate understanding of what it means to be human. We have our goosebumps to show for it.”

Joep’s music is the antidote to that hectic world of uncertainty and fear – a soundtrack for a kinder, more hopeful future; a score for the unmade film of lives yet to come. “It’s pretty emotional stuff,” agrees Joep. “I call it ‘simple music for complex emotions’. It’s music that enhances images, music that creates a space for the audience to fill in the gaps with their own imagination.”

As for the rest of Joep Beving’s story, it’s one of good fortune and better timing.

Joep (pronounced “Yoop”) first formed a band at 14 and made his live debut in his local town’s jazz festival. He left school torn between a life in music and a career in government. When a wrist injury forced him to abandon his piano studies at the Conservatoire and focus on an Economics degree, it seemed that music’s loss would be the Civil Service’s gain.

But the draw of music was too strong. “It was always in my heart,” he says, “and it always will be.” Reaching a compromise between his two conflicting paths, he spent a decade working for a successful company matching and making music for brands. “But I always had a love-hate relationship with advertising – I was never comfortable using music to sell people stuff they don’t need”.

In his spare time he played keyboards with successful Dutch nu-jazz outfit The Scallymatic Orchestra and self-styled “electrosoulhopjazz collective” Moody Allen, and dabbled in electronica with his one-man project I Are Giant. But, by his own admission: “It was not me. I had not found my own voice”.

That began to change during a trip to Cannes for the Lions Festival – the Oscars of the advertising world – when he played one of his compositions at the grand piano at his hotel… and people started to cry. “It was the first time I had seen the emotional effect my music could have on an audience.”

Encouraged by the response, Joep organised a dinner party for close friends at his home in Amsterdam, where he played them his music on the piano left to him by his late grandmother in 2009. “It was the first time my friends had heard me play music they thought should travel outside my living room. It was the push to pursue the dream of doing a solo album with just my instrument.”

A month later a close friend died unexpectedly, and Joep composed a piece for his funeral service. “I performed it for the first time at his cremation. Afterwards people encouraged me to record it so that it would be a permanent memorial to him. He was an extraordinary person.”

Inspired by the reaction, Joep wrote more tunes and recorded them in single takes over the course of the next three months in his own kitchen, playing in the still of night while his girlfriend and two young daughters were asleep. The result was his debut album Solipsism.

Turned down by the only record label he had approached, he paid to press 1,500 vinyl copies, with artwork by Rahi Rezvani (who also made the stunning video for “The Light She Brings”). Joep staged the album launch in March 2015, in the studio of hot Amsterdam fashion designer Hans Ubbink, and performed it there for the first time.

That first vinyl pressing quickly sold out, mainly to friends, and the songs were an instant hit on Spotify, whose team in New York added one tune – “The Light She Brings” – to a popular ‘Peaceful Piano’ playlist. “People started saving the tune, so they put another one on. Then they started liking the whole of my album.” Soon Solipsism was a viral phenomenon, with another tune, “Sleeping Lotus”, now over 30 million streamed plays. And all songs of both albums together have now been streamed over 180 million times.

As a result of his huge online success, Joep was invited to perform on a prime-time Dutch TV show. The following day his album knocked One Direction off the top of the charts. “Then, a few days later, Adele made her comeback – and I was history,” he laughs. But by then he had made his mark.

He was besieged by concert promoters offering shows, including a prestigious solo recital at Amsterdam’s famous Concertgebouw and his album found its way to Berlin when another friend played it in her local bar, “at 2am with everyone smoking and drinking Moscow Mules.” By chance, one of those night owls was Deutsche Grammophon executive Christian Badzura. After making contact online, they met when Joep performed at Berlin’s Christophori Piano Salon – and ended up signing with the world’s foremost classical label.

The first fruits of the new partnership are Prehension. A natural successor to Solipsism, it carries forward the musical and philosophical themes Joep identifies in his music. “I am reacting to the absolute grotesqueness of the things that are happening around us, in which you feel so insignificant and powerless that you alienate yourself from reality and the people around you because it is so impossible to grasp. I just write what I think is beautiful, leaving out a lot of notes, telling a story through my instrument, trying to unite us with something simple, honest and beautiful.”

Selected discography

2015 Solipsism

2016 A Hunger For The New – single release

2017 Prehension

2018 Conatus (

Best Classical Music

Béla Bartók Mikrokosmos, complete, 6 Books (with sheet music)

Béla Bartók Mikrokosmos, complete, the 6 Books, with sheet music

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Béla Bartók and his music

Béla Viktor János Bartók (25 March 1881 – 26 September 1945) was a Hungarian composer, pianist, and ethnomusicologist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century; he and Franz Liszt are regarded as Hungary’s greatest composers.Through his collection and analytical study of folk music, he was one of the founders of comparative musicology, which later became ethnomusicology.

Paul Wilson lists as the most prominent characteristics of Bartók’s music from late 1920s onwards the influence of the Carpathian basin and European art music, and his changing attitude toward (and use of) tonality, but without the use of the traditional harmonic functions associated with major and minor scales.

Although Bartók claimed in his writings that his music was always tonal, he rarely uses the chords or scales of tonality, and so the descriptive resources of tonal theory are of limited use. George Perle (1955) and Elliott Antokoletz (1984) focus on alternative methods of signaling tonal centers, via axes of inversional symmetry.

Others view Bartók’s axes of symmetry in terms of atonal analytic protocols. Richard Cohn (1988) argues that inversional symmetry is often a byproduct of another atonal procedure, the formation of chords from transpositionally related dyads. Atonal pitch-class theory also furnishes the resources for exploring polymodal chromaticism, projected sets, privileged patterns, and large set types used as source sets such as the equal tempered twelve tone aggregate, octatonic scale (and alpha chord), the diatonic and heptatonia secunda seven-note scales, and less often the whole tone scale and the primary pentatonic collection.

He rarely used the simple aggregate actively to shape musical structure, though there are notable examples such as the second theme from the first movement of his Second Violin Concerto, commenting that he “wanted to show Schoenberg that one can use all twelve tones and still remain tonal”. More thoroughly, in the first eight measures of the last movement of his Second Quartet, all notes gradually gather with the twelfth (G♭) sounding for the first time on the last beat of measure 8, marking the end of the first section.

The aggregate is partitioned in the opening of the Third String Quartet with C♯–D–D♯–E in the accompaniment (strings) while the remaining pitch classes are used in the melody (violin 1) and more often as 7–35 (diatonic or “white-key” collection) and 5–35 (pentatonic or “black-key” collection) such as in no. 6 of the Eight Improvisations. There, the primary theme is on the black keys in the left hand, while the right accompanies with triads from the white keys. In measures 50–51 in the third movement of the Fourth Quartet, the first violin and cello play black-key chords, while the second violin and viola play stepwise diatonic lines.

On the other hand, from as early as the Suite for piano, Op. 14 (1914), he occasionally employed a form of serialism based on compound interval cycles, some of which are maximally distributed, multi-aggregate cycles. Ernő Lendvai analyses Bartók’s works as being based on two opposing tonal systems, that of the acoustic scale and the axis system, as well as using the golden section as a structural principle.

Milton Babbitt, in his 1949 critique of Bartók’s string quartets, criticized Bartók for using tonality and non-tonal methods unique to each piece. Babbitt noted that “Bartók’s solution was a specific one, it cannot be duplicated”. Bartók’s use of “two organizational principles”—tonality for large scale relationships and the piece-specific method for moment to moment thematic elements—was a problem for Babbitt, who worried that the “highly attenuated tonality” requires extreme non-harmonic methods to create a feeling of closure.

The cataloguing of Bartók’s works is somewhat complex. Bartók assigned opus numbers to his works three times, the last of these series ending with the Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1, Op. 21 in 1921. He ended this practice because of the difficulty of distinguishing between original works and ethnographic arrangements, and between major and minor works. Since his death, three attempts—two full and one partial—have been made at cataloguing.

The first, and still most widely used, is András Szőllősy‘s chronological Sz. numbers, from 1 to 121. Denijs Dille subsequently reorganised the juvenilia (Sz. 1–25) thematically, as DD numbers 1 to 77. The most recent catalogue is that of László Somfai; this is a chronological index with works identified by BB numbers 1 to 129, incorporating corrections based on the Béla Bartók Thematic Catalogue. On 1 January 2016, his works entered the public domain in the European Union.


Béla Bartók‘s Mikrokosmos Sz. 107, BB 105 consists of 153 progressive piano pieces in six volumes written between 1926 and 1939. The individual pieces progress from very easy and simple beginner études to very difficult advanced technical displays, and are used in modern piano lessons and education. In total, according to Bartók, the piece “appears as a synthesis of all the musical and technical problems which were treated and in some cases only partially solved in the previous piano works.”

Volumes one and two are dedicated to his son Péter, while volumes five and six are intended as professionally performable concert pieces. Bartók also indicated that these pieces could also be played on other instruments; Huguette Dreyfus for example has recorded pieces from Books 3 through 6 on the harpsichord.

In 1940, shortly before they emigrated to the United States, he arranged seven of the pieces for two pianos, to provide additional repertoire for himself and his wife Ditta Pásztory-Bartók to play.


All of the six volumes progress in difficulty, namely:

  • Volumes I and II: Pieces 1–36 and 37–66, beginner level
  • Volumes III and IV: Pieces 67–96 and 97–121, moderate to advanced level
  • Volumes V and VI: 122–139 and 140–153, professional level

The list of pieces is as follows:

Volume I Six Unison Melodies (I) (a) Six Unison Melodies (II) (b) Six Unison Melodies (II) Six Unison Melodies (III) Six Unison Melodies (IV) Six Unison Melodies (V) Six Unison Melodies (VI) Dotted Notes Repetition (1) Syncopation (I) With Alternate Hands Parallel Motion Reflection Change of Position Question and Answer Village Song Parallel Motion with Change of Position Contrary Motion Four Unison Melodies (I) Four Unison Melodies (II) Four Unison Melodies (III) Four Unison Melodies (IV) Imitation and Counterpoint Imitation and Inversion (I) Pastorale Imitation and Inversion (II) Repetition (II) Syncopation (II) Canon at the Octave Imitation Reflected Canon at the Lower Fifth Dance in Canon Form In Dorian Mode Slow Dance In Phrygian Mode Chorale Free CanonVolume II In Lydian Mode Staccato and Legato (I) Staccato and Legato (Canon) In Yugoslav Style Melody with Accompaniment Accompaniment in Broken Triads (a) In Hungarian Style (for two pianos) (b) In Hungarian Style Contrary Motion (2) (for two pianos) Meditation Increasing-Diminishing County Fair In Mixolydian Mode Crescendo-Diminuendo Minuetto Waves Unison Divided In Transylvanian Style Chromatics Triplets in Lydian Mode (for two pianos) Melody in Tenths Accents In Oriental Style Major and Minor Canon with Sustained Notes Pentatonic Melody Minor Sixths in Parallel Motion Buzzing (a) Line against Point (b) Line against Point Dialogue (with voice) Melody DividedVolume III Thirds against a Single Voice Hungarian Dance (for two pianos) Study in Chords Melody against Double Notes Thirds Dragons’ Dance Sixths and Triads (a) Hungarian Matchmaking Song (b) Hungarian Matchmaking Song (with voice) Triplets In Three Parts Little Study Five-Tone Scale Hommage à Johann Sebastian Bach Hommage à Robert Schumann Wandering Scherzo Melody with Interruptions Merriment Broken Chords Two Major Pentachords Variations Duet for Pipes In Four Parts (I) In Russian Style Chromatic Invention (I) Chromatic Invention (II) In Four Parts (II) Once Upon a Time… (a) Fox Song (b) Fox Song (with voice) Jolts
Volume IV Notturno Thumbs Under Hands Crossing In Folk Song Style Diminished Fifth Harmonics Minor and Major (a) Wandering through the Keys (b) Wandering through the Keys Game (with Two Five-Tone Scales) Children’s Song Melody in the Mist Wrestling From the Island of Bali And the Sounds Clash and Clang… Intermezzo Variations on a Folk Tune Bulgarian Rhythm (I) Theme and Inversion Bulgarian Rhythm (II) Song Bourrée Triplets in 9
8 Time
Dance in 3
4 Time
Triads Two-Part Study
Volume V Chords Together and in Opposition (a) Staccato and Legato (II) (b) Staccato and Legato (II) Staccato Boating Change of Time New Hungarian Folk Song (with voice) Stamping Dance Alternating Thirds Village Joke Fourths Major Seconds Broken and Together Syncopation (III) (a) Studies in Double Notes (b) Studies in Double Notes (c) Studies in Double Notes Perpetuum mobile Whole-Tone Scales Unison Bagpipe Music Merry Andrew

Volume VI

  1. Free Variations
  2. Subject and Reflection
  3. From the Diary of a Fly
  4. Divided Arpeggios
  5. Minor Seconds, Major Sevenths
  6. (a) Chromatic Invention (III)(b) Chromatic Invention (III)
  7. Ostinato
  8. March
  9. Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm (I)
  10. Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm (II)
  11. Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm (III)
  12. Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm (IV)
  13. Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm (V)
  14. Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm (VI)

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Film & TV Music

The Piano – Big my Secret (Michael Nyman) with sheet music

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The Piano – Big my Secret (Michael Nyman) with sheet music

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LIVE Music Concerts

Beethoven Piano Concerto No 5 in Eb, Op 73 (Helmchen) with sheet music

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Beethoven Piano Concerto No 5 in Eb, Op 73 – Martin Helmchen, piano – with sheet music

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Martin Helmchen

Martin Helmchen (born 1982) is a German pianist. He has played with international orchestras and has recorded discs of many classical composers.


Helmchen was born in Berlin. He began his piano studies at the age of six, and graduated from the Hanns Eisler Music Conservatory as a student of Galina Iwanzowa, and in 2001 from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover as a student of Arie Vardi.


He was a featured soloist in the BBC New Generation Artists program from 2005-2007. Helmchen has given concerts with the San Francisco Symphony,the Vienna Philharmonic, the Deutschen Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and the NHK Symphony Orchestra. His specialty is chamber music, where he has performed extensively with Heinrich Schiff and Marie-Elisabeth Hecker. Collaborations with further artists have included Gidon Kremer, Christian Tetzlaff, Sharon Kam, Tabea Zimmermann, Juliane Banse, Julia Fischer, Sabine Meyer and Lars Vogt.

Helmchen’s first orchestral CD was released in 2007 with piano concerti from Mozart, and his first solo CD with works of Schubert was released in 2008. In 2009, two further CDs were released:

He made his American debut in 2011 when he played at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The same year he performed with Dohnanyi and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.


In 2001 he won the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition. In 2003 he won the International Kissinger Klavierolymp Competition, related to the festival Kissinger Sommer.In 2006 he was awarded the Crédit Suisse Award, for his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic, directed by Valery Gergiev, playing Schumann’s Piano Concerto at the Lucerne Festival. In the same year he received the ECHO Klassik Prize as together with cellist Danjulo Ishizaka for their CD with works from Felix Mendelssohn, César Franck, Benjamin Britten (2005, Sony Classical).

Selected discography

Jazz & Blues Music

Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli “Minor Swing”

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Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli “Minor Swing”

Django Reinhardt sheet music pdf

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Django Rreinhardt

Jean Reinhardt (23 January 1910 – 16 May 1953), known to all by his Romani nickname Django, was a Belgian-born Romani-French jazz guitarist and composer. He was the first major jazz talent to emerge from Europe and remains the most significant.

With violinist Stéphane Grappelli, Reinhardt formed the Paris-based Quintette du Hot Club de France in 1934. The group was among the first to play jazz that featured the guitar as a lead instrument. Reinhardt recorded in France with many visiting American musicians, including Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter, and briefly toured the United States with Duke Ellington‘s orchestra in 1946. He died suddenly of a stroke at the age of 43.

Reinhardt’s most popular compositions have become standards within gypsy jazz, including “Minor Swing“, “Daphne”, “Belleville”, “Djangology”, “Swing ’42”, and “Nuages“. Jazz guitarist Frank Vignola claims that nearly every major popular-music guitarist in the world has been influenced by Reinhardt. Over the last few decades, annual Django festivals have been held throughout Europe and the U.S., and a biography has been written about his life. In February 2017, the Berlin International Film Festival held the world premiere of the French film Django.

Stéphane Grapelli

Stéphane Grappelli (26 January 1908 – 1 December 1997), born Stefano Grappelli, was a French-Italian jazz violinist who founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France with guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1934. It was one of the first all-string jazz bands. He has been called “the grandfather of jazz violinists” and continued playing concerts around the world well into his eighties.

For the first three decades of his career, he was billed using a gallicised spelling of his last name, Grappelly, reverting to Grappelli in 1969. The latter, Italian spelling is now used almost universally when referring to the violinist, including reissues of his early work.

Keith Jarrett - The Art of Improvisation

Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation Part 7/10 remastered

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Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation Part 7/10 remastered

Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation Part 7/10
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Keith Jarrett’s sheet music transcriptions are available from our Library.

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Part 2 here:

Part 3 here:
Part 4:
Part 5: 6:

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“In this in-depth portrait of one of the world’s superstars of Jazz, pianist Keith Jarrett talks about the range of his music, the importance of improvisation, the great artists he has worked with, nd about the highs and lows of his life. Further iniaghts are provided by fellow musicians, family members and other musical assocaites. Incorporating recordings and rare archive footage of concerts dating back to thr 1960s and including such greats as Miles Davis and Charles Lloyd, this first-ever major documetary has been made with the full cooperation of Keith Jarrett himself.”

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Best Classical Music

Chopin 19 Nocturnes (Moravec, piano)

Chopin 19 Nocturnes (Moravec, piano) with sheet music

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Beautiful Music


METAMORPHOSIS ONE – Philip Glass (with sheet music)

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Jazz & Blues Music

Just The Blues – The Real Delta Blues

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Just The Blues – The Real Delta Blues (Download many Blues scores for piano, vocal and guitar)


00:00 – Sunnyland Slim – Johnson Machine Gun 02:52 – Sonny Boy Williamson – Ninety Nine 05:32 – Little Walter – Roller Coaster 08:28 – Sugar Blue – Cold Blooded Man 13:13 – Howlin Wolf – Wand Dang Doodle 15:40 – Willie Dixon – Walking the Blues 18:44 – Otis Spann – I’m Leaving You 21:27 – Jimmy & Walter – Easy 24:27 – Eddie Taylor – Big Town Playboy 27:27 – Muddy Waters – I Can’t Be Satisfied 30:10 – John Lee Hooker – Leave My Wife Alone 32:59 – Jimmy Rogers – Sloppy Drunk 36:04 – Lowell Fulson – Trouble Trouble 39:00 – Bo Diddley – Pills 41:52 – Big Bill Broonzy – Black Brown and White 45:00 – The Delta Boys – Black Gal Swing 47:54 – Kokomo Arnold – Busy Bootin’ 50:25 – Robert Johnson – Preachin’ Blues 53:22 – Muddy Waters – Rollin’ Stones 56:32 – Elmore James – Rock My Baby Right 59:09 – Robert Nighthawk – Sweet Black Angel 01:02:14 – Robert Lockwood – Take a Little Walk With Me 01:05:09 – Son House – My Black Mama 01:08:19 – Arthur Crudup – Black Poney Blues

Delta Blues Music

The Mississippi Delta is famous for more than floods; it’s the birthplace of uniquely American music. As the flood waters rose, many blues artists were inspired to write songs about the disaster and describe the experience of being in a flood. 

Mai Cramer, who has hosted her “Blues After Hours” radio show for over two decades, and Prof. David Evans, an ethnomusicologist at the University of Memphis, explain some of the history behind blues music, especially the stripped-down, raw style of music called Delta blues.

Blues is very visceral. For the most part it’s narrative. It tells a story out of people’s lives. Compared to other types of music, it’s very authentic — there aren’t a lot of frills. What we usually think of as Delta blues is one person with a guitar, typically a slide guitar, and that real raw kind of singing. Delta blues grew up into modern Chicago blues. If you listen to Muddy Waters, for example, he’s basically singing Delta blues that are citified and electrified. Delta blues is the foundation for that.

When we listen to blues music of the 1920s, it’s like looking through a window at the experience people are having at the time. Typically, blues artists write out of their own experience. A lot of blues is about men and women, and relationships. Blues was sung at rent parties, where you’d play music and pass the hat to pay your rent. Or they’d be in shacks behind the fields, “juke joints” where people would drink, dance, and hear music. It’s the music you’d play when you were relaxing or partying. Initially it was black music played by black people for black people. Only a few early performers, like Bessie Smith, who sold a lot of records, sold to white people. The blues were mostly only in the black community until large numbers of whites discovered the music in the 1950s and especially in the 1960s.

We always think of blues as being intense, as having an emotional intensity. Floods are natural disasters that overwhelm you the way emotions can overwhelm you, and so the flood is an important image for the blues, a metaphor for an experience that’s too much, that’s just impossible to handle.

Two artists who are still alive today have connections to the very earliest Delta blues. They’re in their 80s. These two artists are not the only ones who play Delta blues, but they’re among the last who were there when it started. Robert Junior Lockwood was up for a Grammy this year with traditional Delta blues, and he’s a link to the Delta because his mother had a relationship with Robert Johnson, who was known as the King of the Delta Blues. Robert Junior learned from Robert Johnson. David “Honey Boy” Edwards is also still alive, and he’s another important musician. He lived the life of an itinerant blues singer and wrote about it in his autobiography, The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing. A lot of Delta blues appears on the Yazoo label.

The Delta itself has throughout blues history been a stronghold of blues music. It was very intensely developed there, stylistically and creatively. It has been central to African American cultural life in the Delta, particularly in the first half of the 20th century. It’s characterized stylistically by a very intense type of performance, a minimalist style that squeezes the maximum feeling and emotion out of each note. The perfomers typically sing and play very hard, and often explore very deep themes philosophically. In other words, it tends not to be superficial music, but a very deep expression of a personal, and a collective, feeling.

The music started around the beginning of the 20th century and it seems to have reached a creative peak in the 1920s that’s captured in phonograph records of that era, starting in the year 1920. A number of Mississippi Delta artists recorded in that decade. This was really a golden age, particularly of the country blues. The first flowering of country blues on records happened in 1926.

It seems there were 25 or 30 records by blues artists on or related to the 1927 flood. The songs present a variety of commentary on the flood. The ones by the few artists that were from the area, who might have actually experienced the flood (like Charlie Patton or Alice Pearson) tend to be the most realistic in their descriptions, the most accurate in their details. Some of the others are inaccurate, based on hearsay, some sentimentalize the flood, some even trivialize it, or find some way to connect it to the man-woman theme, or sexual double entendre, getting back to more standard blues themes.

A song by Atlanta artist Barbecue Bob, “Mississippi Heavy Water Blues,” describes losing his woman, who’s washed away in the flood. They range over quite a bit of emotional territory.

Blind Lemon Jefferson, from Texas, recorded a flood song, and frequently performed in the Delta, in small theaters in towns like Greenwood and Greenville. Sometimes he would just come into town and set up in a park, and draw a crowd. Lonnie Johnson, who was based in St. Louis, recorded a flood song also. There were artists in other styles, too, the vaudeville blues singers, who also recorded flood songs. Bessie Smith had probably the most famous song on the flood, but there’s a peculiarity to it. It was recorded before the flood. “Back Water Blues” was recorded in February 1927, before the great disaster of April. Perhaps the buildup of rain made her anticipate the flood; it was released just as the flood came, and as a result, it became a big hit. It’s a description of one woman’s experience of a flood.

There had been a lot of rain for weeks prior to the flood so she might have in some way anticipated the flood, or it might have been a coincidence.

There had been generic flood songs in the 1920s. There was a piece called “Muddy Water” which was a pop song of 1926. Bessie Smith also recorded this song. There were certainly enough floods in all parts of the lowland South so that flood themes would be taken up often. On the religious side, in gospel music, there were some recordings that saw greater significance in this flood. One in particular, “The1927 Flood,” by Elders McIntorsh and Edwards (recorded in December 1928), saw the hand of God in the flood, as a punishment for wickedness.

A black preacher in Memphis, the Reverend Sutton E. Griggs, saw the flood as a metaphor of black-white cooperation, the people trying to shore up the levees, something that led to better race relations, although the historical fact about it was that there were some major race-related problems related to the relief effort.

The whites in charge of the relief effort thought that the blacks would just pitch in after the flood to restore the old order, and give volunteer labor so they could go back to being sharecroppers. The blacks tended to view the flood as wiping the slate clean, wiping out the old order. The flood wiped out the crops in the areas it devastated, so any black sharecroppers in that area knew they weren’t going to get a crop, with the water and mud staying up until June. It was impossible to get a good crop. So they had to go somewhere and find some work. A lot of people headed North.

Charlie Patton’s great two-part song, “High Water Everywhere,” was recorded in December 1929, two and a half years after the flood. Patton was from the Delta. He had probably composed it earlier; his recording career didn’t start until 1929. But he and his record company thought the song still had relevance.

blues free sheet music & pdf scores download

In the early 1920s virtually all American record companies were recording blues material, and they had developed the concept of race records along with other specialized genres of music: hillbilly music, various non-English language ethnic series for immigrant communities, etc. It was a marketing strategy the record companies had, to direct their promotional efforts in these communities. Unfortunately it had the effect of isolating these American musical traditions and keeping them out of the mainstream of American music, so that they didn’t come to the attention of most Americans, but remained on the periphery.

There were a few African American artists who had mainstream appeal: Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and people like that. But the vast majority of African American recording artists, especially blues and gospel singers, sold almost entirely within the black community. If there hadn’t been race records, much of this music might not have been recorded at all. It was recorded, but it didn’t reach a bigger audience.

Some artists, like Louis Armstrong, were heard on the radio, but blues was hardly broadcast at all. Some stations in the South started barn dance programs, like the Grand Ole Opry, which had a black harmonica player, but it was pretty unusual. Record players would have been one of the few luxuries, one of the few pieces of furniture, poor people might have had, more so even than radios. They were very important cultural items, even among people who were relatively poor. And in the cities you’d have people who had come from the country, listening to the blues.

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Blues is a music that’s highly personalized, that deals with fairly intimate personal relationships, so you have to read through the songs to see broader social issues. But the personal relationships described in the blues are affected by social conditions of poverty, racism, the nature of work, rural life, and so on, and these shape how people relate to each other. You have to do a little bit of projection from those lyrics; blues are not usually songs of ideology or protest. But you can detect an overriding aura of dissatisfaction in the blues.

They deal with the changes and fluctuations of life, and the possibilities of change, too, on a very personal level.

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Musical Analysis


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Exercises Developed from Excerpts of a Keith Jarrett Improvisation on All The Things You Are“.

Jazz educators tell students that transcribing solos will help them learn to improvise. It will certainly improve their ears if they are trying to hear the relationships of pitches in a phrase. It will do little to help their ears if they are using software to move the solo note by note and hunt and peck to find that note.

Students often ask what they should do with the solos after transcribing them. Should they learn it note for note matching articulations. I can imagine this would be very helpful. But has playing non-jazz etudes and pieces note for note with correct style helped them with improvisation? Students who focus just on memorizing other’s work, whether it is jazz solos or classical pieces are typically the least prepared to improvise, even though they may have very well developed technique on their instruments.

In order to improvise, one must get into the thinking behind the notes. That is difficult when dealing with memorizing a 128 measure solo. It might be easier when breaking apart shorter excerpts from that solo. One of my primarily classically trained students transcribed the first 36 measures of a Keith Jarrett improvisation over the chord changes to All the Things You Are from YouTube. She can probably sight read it at tempo, but is unable to improvise using the vocabulary.

I suggested taking excerpts; breaking them down, applying them several places in the progression, finding ways to connect these excerpts, and through this process, develop vocabulary. Attention should be paid to appropriate jazz phrasing, articulations, accents and good time feel.


Jarrett plays this simple line in the first measure of the form. It clearly lines up with the chord – a 5- 3-1 arpeggio idea with one passing tone, which could be expressed as a 5-3-2-1 pattern.

Apply this fragment to the entire progression (only the first eight measures are shown). As the pattern becomes more familiar, try different rhythmic variations.

Here is a line from m.2. It could be described as a descending arpeggio (7-5-3-1) with one pickup note or leading tone, and one passing tone.

Apply this idea to the entire progression. Some rhythmic variations and displacements can disguise the repeated pattern and make it sound more organic.

Jarrett plays this 3-5-7-9 arpeggio in m.4. In the tune itself, this chord is played as a major 7 chord.

This is a very good exercise for connecting all the chords using a 3-5-7-9 arpeggio. These arpeggios can ascend, as in mm.1-2. Eventually, you will run out of range on your instrument. A solution is to invert the arpeggios as in mm.3, 5, and 7. Repeat the exercise exchanging where you play ascending or inverted arpeggios. Several kinds of rhythmic variations can be applied, including anticipation and delayed resolutions. This exercise follows outline no. 1 (see discussion below).

Apply this arpeggio idea to the progression. Some of these excerpts may be too active to be played in every measure. It is a good idea to practice them in alternating measures. This reinforces a sense of stop and go in your phrasing. The example below plays the line in the odd measures and comes to rest on the 3rd in the even measures. (The connection of this idea resolving to the 3rd of the next chord is outline no. 2, discussed below.)

Now play the 3rd in the odd measures with the line in the even measures.

Jarrett’s line from mm.11-12 can be reduced to a simple line that connects the thirds of each chord. Jarrett also plays a 3-5-7-9 arpeggio that connects the octave leap from G to F. (This is outline no. 1, discussed below.)

Practice the line for alternating measures as shown in the previous exercises. Odd to Even:

Even to Odd:


There are three common lines found in music from the Baroque period to the present. They may appear with out embellishment or may be highly figured. (I have written a book that deals exclusively with these structures: Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony, Hal Leonard, Inc.)

Outline No. 1 connects the 3rd of one chord down to the 3rd of the next.

Outline No. 2 begins with an ascending 1-3-5 arpeggio and the 7th resolves to the 3rd of the next chord.

Outline No. 3 begins with a descending 5-3-1 arpeggio and the 7th resolves to the 3rd of the next chord.

The three outlines are shown below for a G7 to C progression. The outlines are used anytime the chords progress down a fifth. Almost the entire progression for this piece is based on chords resolving down a fifth, so these basic outlines will be essential vocabulary.

OutlineNo.1 OutlineNo.2 Outline No.3

Jarrett strings two outlines together in mm.13-15. It is interesting to hear how Jarrett’s rhythmic displacement creates interest, but it is better to begin practicing them as they line up with the chords. When the lines become more familiar, experiment with displacement (both octave and rhythmic) and with various levels of embellishment.

Jarrett Line Basic Outline No. 2 & No. 1

Outline No. 2 applied to the progression using alternating measures.

Even too odd:

Jarrett Outline No. 1 Basic Outline No. 1

Jarrett outline no. 1 idea sequenced through the progression using alternating measures. Odd to Even:

Even to Odd:

Jarrett plays a 3-5-7-9 arpeggio in m.17 followed by outline no. 2 in m.18.

It may be easier to see as shown belowb. In the second setting below, a Bb replaces the An in the descending arpeggio over the D7. The B is more colorful and suggests chromatic voice-leading from the B .

The basic 3-5-7-9 arpeggios are followed by outline no. 3 in the exercise below. A very basic shape is shown on the top line. The bottom line is more embellished and rhythmically interesting and may represent how it might be in an improvised solo. It is important to be able to play the basic shapes before attempting to embellish them.

This exercise is the reverse of the previous one. This one begins with outline no. 3 followed by a 3- 5-7-9 arpeggio. The basic shapes are shown on the top line and more embellished and rhythmically active lines are shown on the bottom.


Jarrett plays a simple triad shape in m.23. The basic idea is 3-5-1. Jarrett uses a neighbor tone group before playing the E.

Upper neighbor tones are usually diatonic and lower neighbor tones are chromatic. A simple 3-5-1 arpeggio is sequenced below for the progression.

Jarrett uses another 3-5-1 arpeggio in m.35, but begins with a neighbor tone group around the 3rd.

Apply this idea to the progression. As it becomes more familiar, try other rhythmic placements of the line.

The two neighbor tone groups could be combined in numerous other ways over any basic triad shape. Jarrett used a neighbor tone group around the root in m.23 and around the 3rd in m.35. The exercise below combines those groups and applies them to the progression.


Jarrett plays an interesting embellishbmebnt #of outline no. 1 in mm.24-25. Jarrett’s embellishment calls.

Basic Outline No. 1Shape Jarrett’s Embellishment

This line is also useful resolving to major and may be applied to any of the V7 – I cadences in the progression.

Writers keep journals. Jazz improvisers and composers should keep notebooks of simple and embellished lines as a way of cataloging, fostering and keeping track of creative growth. All of these exercises can be transposed and used in other standard jazz progressions. Many of these exercises can be combined with one another in interesting ways. (For instance, try using one of the triad patterns with neighbor tone groupings to lead to the altered dominant line, then using another variation of the triad pattern when resolving to the I or i chord.)

All of these lines in Jarrett’s improvisation can be found in many other jazz solos, yet we can recognize his solos as uniquely Jarrett. As you internalize these common lines your own unique way of putting them together will emerge. Keep the metronome on and keep practicing!

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JAZZ IMPROVISATION sheet music pdf