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John Lennon dies (8 December 1980)

John Lennon was shot and killed on this day at the entrance of the Dakota building, New York City, where he lived with his wife Yoko Ono. He was 40 years old.

Lennon began 8 December 1980 with breakfast at 7.30am at La Fortuna’s, New York City. At 9am he visited a local barber shop where he had his hair cut into a 1950s-style quiff. At around 9.45am he returned to his home at the Dakota to give an interview to Dave Sholin, Laurie Kaye, Ron Hummel and Bert Keane for an RKO Radio Network show.

The interview lasted 90 minutes. In the early afternoon Rolling Stone photographer Annie Leibovitz arrived at the Lennons’ apartment for a photo session, which lasted from 2-3.30pm. One of the images, of a naked Lennon lying on a clothed Yoko Ono, was the last ever taken of the couple together.

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Lennon and Ono left the Dakota at 5pm with the RKO team. Before they entered their car, Lennon was stopped for several people seeking autographs, among them 25-year-old hospital worker Mark David Chapman. Lennon signed Chapman’s copy of Double Fantasy, after which he asked, “Is this all you want?” Chapman nodded in agreement. The encounter was photographed by Lennon fan Paul Goresh.

At the Record Plant Studio at 321 West 44th Street they mixed Ono’s song Walking On Thin Ice, which featured Lennon on lead guitar. During the evening session Lennon also telephoned his aunt Mimi in England, and record label owner David Geffen called by with the news that Double Fantasy had been certified gold in its first two weeks on release.

The recording session came to a close at 10.30pm. Lennon and Ono discussed going for a meal at Stage Deli, but decided to first return to the Dakota to say goodnight to five-year-old Sean Lennon. Their son was being minded by Helen Seaman, the aunt of their assistant Fred.

Although it was late on a December night, the outside temperature was unseasonably warm. Lennon and Ono decided to stop their limousine at 72nd Street and walk the remaining short distance, despite a secure courtyard being available to park in at the Dakota.

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Lennon walked a couple of paces behind Ono. As he approached the archway leading to the Dakota’s courtyard, Mark Chapman emerged from the shadows. The time was 10.52pm.

Chapman is said to have adopted a combat stance and fired five hollow-point rounds at Lennon from a Charter Arms .38 Special revolver. One bullet missed, passing over Lennon’s head and through a window of the Dakota building. Two struck Lennon in the left side of his back, and two others penetrated his left shoulder. At least one of these pierced his aorta.

Lennon staggered up six steps to the Dakota’s reception area and said “I’m shot,” before collapsing. The tapes from the earlier recording session, which Lennon had been holding, were scattered across the floor. The other witnesses to the shooting were an elevator operator, a New York taxi driver, and the passenger he had just dropped off.

Duty concierge Jay Hastings immediately triggered a police alarm before covering Lennon with his blue Dakota uniform and removing his glasses. Yoko Ono cradled Lennon’s head as he whispered “Help me”, with blood pouring from his mouth. Hastings attempted to reassure him, whispering, “It’s okay John, you’ll be all right.”

Outside the Dakota, doorman Jose Perdomo shook the gun from Chapman’s hand and kicked it out of reach. “Do you know what you’ve done?” he shouted, to which Chapman calmly replied, ‘Yes, I just shot John Lennon.” The gun came to rest in nearby bushes, close to Chapman’s autographed copy of Double Fantasy.

Chapman removed his coat and hat in preparation of the police arriving, and stood to the left of the Dakota archway on West 72nd Street. He began reading a copy of JD Salinger’s 1951 novel The Catcher In The Rye, inside which he had written: “To Holden Caulfield. From Holden Caulfield. This is my statement.”

John Lennon dies

Monday 8 December 1980

The first NYPD officers to arrive on the scene were Steve Spiro and Peter Cullen, who had been on patrol at Broadway and 72nd Street when the first calls about the shooting came through. Upon their arrival they drew their guns and shouted “Put your hands up” at the Dakota’s duty concierge Jay Hastings, who was kneeling by John Lennon and was covered in blood. “Not him,” Perdomo told them. “He works here. He’s the one,” he said, pointing to Mark Chapman.

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Spiro and Cullen forced Chapman against a wall of the Dakota building, searching him for concealed weapons. “Don’t hurt me, stay with me,” he asked the officers. The search revealed keys, the copy of The Catcher In The Rye, and a wallet containing $2,000 in cash. Spiro handcuffed Chapman, and Perdomo recovered the gun and handed it to his co-worker.

Fellow officers Bill Gamble and James Moran arrived and, seeing that the suspect was under control, rushed inside the Dakota. Against Yoko Ono’s wishes, Gamble turned over Lennon’s body to determine the extent of his injuries. “What is your name?” he asked. Although he struggled to reply, John eventually managed to say: “Lennon”.

Realising that his injuries were too severe to wait for an ambulance, Gamble and Moran carried Lennon to their car. Moran took Lennon legs and Gamble carried him by his underarms, and they placed him on the back seat. Gamble kneeled by his side as Moran drove at 50mph speeds to the nearest emergency hospital, St Luke’s Roosevelt on West 59th Street.

Gamble attempted to keep Lennon conscious by talking to him. “Are you sure you’re John Lennon?” he asked. “I am,” came the reply. “How do you feel?” “I’m in pain,” he is reported to have said.

Moran had contacted the hospital as he drove. Behind them was another police car, driven by Officer Anthony Palmer and containing an increasingly hysterical Ono.

Upon their arrival at the hospital a rolling stretcher was waiting. Medical director Dr Stephan Lynn took Lennon into the emergency room, while Ono called the Dakota to check on their son Sean’s safety. Lennon had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, but for 20 minutes Lynn and two other doctors opened his chest and attempted manual heart massage to try and restore circulation.

Despite the hospital’s attempts, including blood transfusions and surgery by highly-trained staff, they were unable to save him. Dr Lynn pronounced John Lennon dead on arrival in the emergency room at the Roosevelt Hospital at 11.07pm on 8 December 1980.

Lynn informed Ono at 11.15pm. “He never stood a chance,” he said. “Nothing we were able to do could revive your husband. We believe the first bullet killed him. It ripped through John’s chest causing irreparable damage to a major artery.” In a state of shock, Ono asked him: “Do you mean that he is sleeping?”

The cause of death was reported as hypovolemic shock, caused by the loss of more than 80% of blood volume. The hollow-point bullets used by Chapman expanded upon entering the body, causing irreparable damage to Lennon’s organs.

The news of Lennon’s death broke on WABC TV’s Monday Night Football. The producer, Bob Goodrich, told host Howard Cosell, who announced it on-air during a televised match between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

NBC announced the news during The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson; the show was interrupted by a news bulletin. On CBS Lennon’s death was reported by Walter Cronkite and reporters.

At the Record Plant Studio, producer Jack Douglas had continued work on Walking On Thin Ice. His wife informed him of Lennon’s death at 11.35pm. The news sent him into a state of shock, and he decided to wipe the tapes of studio banter between him and Lennon recorded that day. He has never revealed the precise nature of their conversations.

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John Lennon’s sheet music is availablie in our online Library.

Musical Analysis Did you know?

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

Table of Contents

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

Milonga del ángel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fuga y misterio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Did you know? Musical Analysis

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

Table of Contents

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

    1. Astor Piazzolla. Introduction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2. Some characteristics of Piazzolla’s style

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

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

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

    Astor Piazzolla sheet music partitura

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

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

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

    3. Libertango. Analysis.

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

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

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

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

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

    Astor Piazzolla sheet music partitura

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

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

    Astor Piazzolla sheet music partitura

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

    Astor Piazzolla sheet music partitura

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

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

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

    Best songs of Astor Piazzolla.


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

    Did you know?

    Books in our Sheet Music Library? YES (290)

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

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

    For example:

    Miles Davis – The Autobiography

    books miles davis sheet music pdf


    Oscar Peterson’s biography

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    and also:

    Woody Allen – Apropos of Nothing

    sheet music partitura

    and, of course, Lang Langs books:

    Journey of a Thousand Miles

    free sheet music & pdf scores download

    and: Playing with Flying Keys

    free sheet music & pdf scores download

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

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

    Keith Jarrett – The Art of Improvisation COMPLETE (full 2005 documentary including the extra interviews)

    Murakami: Absolutely on Music (Book)

    Beautiful Music Did you know?

    Christmas is coming! You and your piano are ready?

    In our Sheet Music Library, we have many Christmas scores and books to choose from: classical Carols, Jazz Christmas versions and even piano bar performances, as:

    Martha Mier Christmas Jazz, Rags & Blues – Carsten Gerlitz Christmas Time – White Christmas -Irving Berlin – Piano – Christmas Jazz It Up! – Christmas 36 Christmas Carols And Songs – Christmas Song For Play In First-Class Restaurant Piano Solo – Jazz Play Along Vol. 25 – Christmas Jazz – Jazz at Christmas – Frank Mantooth – Various Artists – It’s Easy To Play Christmas Songs – Christmas – favourites collection – John Lennon-Happy Christmas (War Is Over) – We Wish You A Merry Christmas – The Polar Express – When Christmas Comes to Town – Glen Ballard – Faith Hill – Where Are You Christmas – and even Danny Elfman – Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
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    Did you know? Musical Analysis

    The Beatles – Songwriting Secrets of the The Beatles

    Table of Contents

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

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

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

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

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

      the beatles sheet music pdf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Want to play along with The Beatles? Now, it is possible with our Play Along series (PDF + background MP3 tracks).

      Yesterday – The Beatles For Jazz Piano with sheet music

      Did you know?

      Interview with Joep Beving (Feb. 7, 2020)

      Table of Contents
      • Interview with Joep Beving
        • Did your relationship to music change when it became your job rather than your hobby? 
        • You’ve been described as one of the most listened to living pianists in the world, which is amazing. 
        • Someone said that your music’s quite similar to Keith Jarrett’s…
        • Do you mind how other people perceive or describe your music?
        • Whose music would you say has influenced your style? 
        • Who are your favourite composers?
        • What’s your opinion on the ‘classical chillout’ trend that’s growing in popularity?
      • Joep Beving’s sheet music is available for download from our Library.
      • Ab Ovo

      Interview with Joep Beving

      Joep Beving is a Dutch composer and pianist who has been described by The Guardian as a “one-man recording phenomenon”. His journey is the stuff of dreams, going from “kitchen composer to Spotify star” virtually overnight. After self-releasing his debut album Solipsism, Beving went on to see his contemplative piano pieces streamed more than 85 million times, and has since given up his day job to compose and perform full time.

      If you follow any ‘Chilled Classical’ or ‘Ambient Relaxation’ playlists, you will have heard his music even if you’re not familiar with his name. The deluxe version of his latest album, Henosis, comes out this week and I had the pleasure of chatting with him while he was over in London for a few brief hours.

      joep beving sheet music
      Did your relationship to music change when it became your job rather than your hobby? 

      It definitely changed. I never saw myself as an artist… I felt it on the inside, but I never dared to see myself that way, let alone as a composer. It has very much intensified my relationship with music and I’m just extremely thankful for it. I have to take myself seriously now, which is still sometimes difficult, but it’s exciting and the only thing I can really do is work hard to write music and and hopefully create things that people appreciate, and at the same time be absolutely open and honest about what’s behind it. 

      Having gained so many followers and listeners so quickly must be quite mind-blowing.

      Yeah, that is mind-blowing, although it’s very easy to put in the right perspective because that insane amount comes from one very influential playlist that I have had the luck of being featured in.

      You’ve been described as one of the most listened to living pianists in the world, which is amazing. 

      That’s ridiculous. There are many more that deserve the credit in what used to be a niche of solo piano music, but is now a bit bigger: Jóhann Jóhannsson,Max Richter, Niels Hausgaard, Nils Frahm… It’s a very good thing but it’s also a very scary thing. I can see why some marketing people would want to use that to get people’s attention but it creates a lot of negative energy. 


      You’ve said that while your music uses a “classical vocabulary”, it’s aimed more at a pop audience, and you’ve also performed in jazz festivals around the world. How do you classify your music? Do you see it fitting into the evolving classical canon?

      No, not at all. My writing is completely free of rules. What I try to do is just get myself out of the equation and just accept what comes out and feels right. I want to see if I can create or establish a connection to others, so I try to find something universal. I often follow a pop structure (AABA) and my music has similarities with ambient music because of the sound, the vibrations and the tempo. It has a little bit to do with electronic music, mostly where electronic means minimal classical. It’s much more in that vein than in the classical vein but it obviously does borrow from the classical vocabulary and if you look at John Cage, for example, who’s rightly considered a very great American composer – he had a phase of doing some recordings that were intentionally mood-based, using music for a specific mental purpose. 

      Someone said that your music’s quite similar to Keith Jarrett’s…

      That’s a huge compliment. It’s funny you mention him because Keith Jarrett was one of the first musicians who showed me that music can just be without the genre. If you classify Keith Jarrett you say ECM because that’s cross-genre – it’s not classical, it’s not jazz per se, it’s somewhere else. If I can have just a little bit of Keith Jarrett in me, that would be phenomenal.

      Do you mind how other people perceive or describe your music?

      No. Every description has its ripple effect, its consequence, and if I would be in the business of trying to control that I would be wasting my time. The moment that it prohibits you from being heard in the first place, then it’s an issue. Once you have the luxury of an audience, then it doesn’t matter. It’s easy for me to say because I have the audience first. If it was the other way around I would probably have a different opinion.

      Whose music would you say has influenced your style? 

      Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, Chopin, Satie, Radiohead, Mahler, and anything late romantic.

      Who are your favourite composers?

      Scriabin, Prokofiev (mostly the 3rd Piano Concerto), Mahler, Brahms’ piano music, Arvo Pärt, Peteris Vasks, Tigran Hamasyan.

      What’s your opinion on the ‘classical chillout’ trend that’s growing in popularity?

      I think it’s great. On the one side of the continuum, we have the massage saloon version, which is obviously kitsch and too far down the road. And then the area that we’re talking about, which you could say Satie is part of, or Cage. If that has a beneficial effect on people in their franticness, or fighting anxiety or insomnia, then that’s absolutely amazing. The other part is the deeper side of serious music that can have a very important effect on how you feel and how you look at life. If you embrace that dark side, and you’re not scared of it, it’s a great way of overcoming a lot of anxieties and issues.

      Joep Beving’s sheet music is available for download from our Library.

      Article source.

      Ab Ovo

      Did you know? Jazz Music

      Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981)

      Mary Lou Williams (born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs; May 8, 1910 – May 28, 1981).

      Mary Lou Williams is one of the most celebrated women in jazz. Her career as a performing pianist spanned five decades. She worked extensively as a composer, writing for the bands of Andy Kirk’s Twelve Clouds of Joy, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Fletcher Henderson, and Duke Ellington. She recorded over a hundred records, and inspired the modern jazz of her era from the 1920s into the 1960s.

      Her musical accomplishments seem to be counterbalanced by the high degree of suffering she endured throughout her life. Nevertheless, Mary Lou Williams’ determination and drive always lead her back to the piano, and in her later years, to her faith. As one commenter put it, “gaining meaning through suffering was, indeed, a major motif for Mary.”

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      Born in Atlanta in 1910, Mary Elfrieda Scruggs, as she was named at birth, was the second child of Virginia Riser and Joseph Scruggs. She was born out of wedlock, and rarely saw her father. Her mother, an alcoholic, was always out working in order to earn enough money to scrape by. Mary’s family was extremely poor and she recalled having to live shoeless until the age of three. Coincidentally, it was at this young age that Mary was discovered to be a musical prodigy. One day, her mother was playing the family Harmonium, a type of pump organ, when Mary, who was propped on her mother’s lap, leaned over, and without prompt, played the same melodies her mother had just finished.

      As the story goes, her shocked mother dropped her. Not much is known about Mary Lou Williams’ childhood. She was an intensely private person as an adult, reluctant to recount stories of her youth in order to gain pity
      from the listener. It is not that difficult, however, to imagine the difficulties of being a black female during the 1910s in America. Racism and sexism were facts of life. She remembered children calling her names, white people throwing bricks at her, white families driving by in cars and trying to kick her from their cars while she played in the street. In one memorable incident, a white local mother actually chased her away with a
      butcher knife. Even light skinned black children mocked Mary because of her darker complexion.

      When her family moved to Pittsburgh in the late 1910s, Mary’s problems didn’t seem to get any better. White families lived all around her, and the racism she endured in the south continued in the north. Her mother, who had to take a demanding job as a maid in order to make ends meet, had to hire a nanny to take care of Mary, who was still six or seven. The nanny was a cruel woman who would starve Mary, and when Mary complained of hunger, the nanny would make her chew tobacco and swallow the juice.
      To make matters worse, the nanny would also tickle Mary to the point of spasms.

      Music was Mary’s escape. She found out early that she could play almost
      anything by ear. Complete strangers would stop off the street to listen to her practice. Eventually she began to play for the neighbors, making 50 to 75 cents a day. She heard the ragtime of pianists like Jelly Roll Morton, James P Johnson, and Fats Waller on piano rolls. When she was 10, she learned that she could slow down the rolls and transcribe her musical heroes. It was in this way that Mary learned to use a heavy left hand, copying the broken-tenths method employed by James P Johnson.

      It did not take long for Mary’s talent to open up opportunities for her. For several years in Pittsburgh she was known as “the little piano girl.” She played for literally any function that was available, i.e. parties, church services, restaurants soirees, benefits, etc. Eventually a local vaudeville circuit picked her up, and she began to travel with them.

      When the band went to Chicago, she met Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, and Fred “Buck” Washington (Armstrong’s pianist). In 1926, the band went to New York, and she got a chance to meet her idols – James P. Johnson, Jelly Roll Morton, Willie “The Lion” Smith, and Fats Waller. In fact, the day she met Waller, she was at a club watching him, when the conductor called her up after the show. Williams, who was just over 12 years old, went to the piano and actually played a few of the songs from the previous set by ear. Waller was overjoyed.

      Mary Lou Williams would describe the traveling musicians’ life during the 1920s as “an animal life.” Men constantly came on to her with little or no reservation. It was a time when men dominated women. In traveling bands, it was accepted that women would get beaten as part of their ‘training.’ Mary Lou struggled to fit in. Photographers encouraged her to dress like a man in band photos, though she always declined. Her first and second husbands, as well as boyfriends Don Byas and Ben Webster, were later reported to have been physically abusive.

      Furthermore, the little money she made needed to be sent home; her mother and stepfather were unable to find work and were destitute. Also, as part of a vaudeville act, she occasionally had to perform in circus shows, employment that no white band would ever accept due to the terrible working conditions. The pay was terrible, and the food was even worse, and Mary recalled going without food for days.

      However, music was, as it always would be, her escape. In 1927, she met Duke Ellington after playing with some members of his Washingtonians, Sonny Greer, Bubber Miley and Tricky Sam Nanton. Two years later, she started a part-time stint in Andy Kirk’s Clouds of Joy, which would later become a full-time gig. Her ability to visualize music while hearing it naturally lead her into the role of composer, which she took on in full force with Andy Kirk’s band.

      Mary had a knack for advanced harmony and rhythm, so Kirk initially had her dictate chords and rhythmic hits to him, which he would furiously transcribe. Later, when she became more familiar with horn ranges and limitations, he let her arrange and compose by herself. Her songs “Mary’s Idea,” “Walkin’ and Swingin’,” “Froggy Bottom” and “Cloudy” would gain her credibility not only within the band, but within the jazz writing community at large.

      There is little doubt that Mary Lou’s compositional vision and pianistic ability single-handedly created the sound of the Clouds of Joy, and her talents were in demand. Benny Goodman used her arrangements on “The Count,” “Sweet Georgia Brown, and “Messa Stomp,” and her compositions “Camel Hop” and the popular “Roll ‘Em.” Jimmy Lunceford played an arrangement of her song “What’s Your Story, Morning Glory?” which was originally written for Andy Kirk’s band. Later in her career, she would even write for Duke Ellington, “Trumpets No End.”

      Composing introduced a new set of struggles for Mary. It was almost always difficult for her to obtain any royalty payments on her compositions or arrangements. Record labels and others generally viewed Mary’s efforts as works for hire. In those days, smaller labels rarely gave out royalty payments, and larger companies often robbed their writers as well.

      However, it is difficult to ignore the fact that jazz composition in the 20s and 30s was a collaborative effort. Bands would rehearse and work out arrangements together, yet only the leader would get the credit in the end. Musicians felt that even their repeated solos and rifts earned them arranging rights. Bandleaders, however, took all the credit. This was a common complaint, even against bandleaders as affluent as Duke Ellington.

      Mary’s hit song “What’s Your Story, Morning Glory?” was blatantly ripped off in a song called “Black Coffee” which allegedly stole the entire blues section of “What’s Your Story, Morning Glory?” with a bridge added to make a new song. Although “Black Coffee” was later recorded by many other famous vocalists including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, and Anita O’Day among others, Mary Lou never saw a dime of the royalties. Instead, she had to settle for the crumbs, a measly $300 as a lump, onetime payment.

      Leaving the Clouds of Joy was not a difficult decision for Mary Lou. The band at its height was traveling five to six thousand miles a week, a strenuous schedule even for an experienced musician. Furthermore, her relationship with the band leader was strained. Mary Lou kept up little pretense in hiding her various affairs with members of the band, and Kirk had come to resent her for that. In addition, Mary was getting bored
      with the monotonous routine, as everyone was expected to play the same solos in the same order for every single performance. By the early 1940s the big band was losing its prominence, and in its place, the newer bop small group was gaining popularity.

      Moreover, with Kirk’s band, Mary had made a name for herself in the jazz world.

      No woman other than the vocalists Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald had
      so dominated the swing scene or earned the genuine respect of bandleaders and musicians alike. Mary had seemingly broken through the
      “glass ceiling” that had prevented many talented jazz women from
      pursuing their professional goals.

      (Kernodle, Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams, 81).

      Jack Teagarden, Sarah Vaughan, Tadd Dameron, Benny Goodman, Art Tatum, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Mel Torme, Hank Jones, and Dizzy Gillespie.

      Piano players in particular gained the most from the regular jazz congregations at Mary’s apartment. They would usually gather around the small upright piano she kept in her living room, trading musical ideas and sharing each other’s new compositions. In fact, Mary would serve as a mentor to a few of them, such as Errol Garner, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. Jazz Pianist Billy Taylor has since stated that both Powell and Monk’s sound on the piano changed significantly once they began their association with Mary Lou Williams. “She made them [Powell and Monk] both more aware of touch.”

      The many of the pianists, she claimed, took different licks of hers and incorporated them into their own songs. Of course, all of these musicians made an influence on her playing and composing as well, but nevertheless, it is certain that Mary had a major hand in shaping some of the most creative geniuses at the forefront of modern jazz music in the 1940s.

      The mid 1940s was a particularly prolific as well as suddenly tragic time in
      Mary’s life. In 1945, she got her own weekly radio show named “Mary Lou Williams’ Piano Workshop.” Writing constantly for it, she composed her first multi-movement, full-length piece, “The Zodiac Suite” which garnered mixed reviews from critics. For a brief time she joined Benny Goodman’s band while continuing to serve the role of arranger/composer for the famed bandleader. In spite of all of her efforts, Mary Lou still struggled to find success in her compositional endeavors. Goodman consistently underpaid her for her work, and he never paid out royalties.

      Also, a new song she had spent months writing and arranging for piano and choir (“Elijah and the Juniper Tree”) had proven too difficult for any group and was never performed. Frustrated and dealing with stress, Mary had a mini crisis – she received a private abortion in her small apartment in 1949, a decision that would cause her guilt for the rest of her life.

      Mary Lou struggled to officially make it in New York. Bebop, a music which she had wholeheartedly embraced, had separated the ranks of jazz musicians. Musical experimentation had become the new norm, and modern music quickly shifted focus to West Coast Jazz, which Mary was not a part of. To make matters worse, many of the musicians she had previously helped in their time of need (Monk and Powell) simply
      abandoned her when she was under financial duress. The male hierarchy, which was so oppressive in her early days traveling with vaudeville bands, had reared its ugly head again.

      Around this same time, Mary was sued by a musician who claimed he was one of the original writers to her song “Satchel Mouth Baby” – a song which had done well and was one of the few to produce any sort of royalties for Mary. In order to avoid a long, legal battle, she was forced to settle. “It was a major blow to Mary professionally, personally, and monetarily.”

      Reluctantly, Mary would accept an offer to play in Europe in order to make some money and perhaps gain some exposure. Europe was a haven of sorts for black jazz musicians during the early 1950s. Parisians, in particular, loved jazz. They lamented the African-American plight, and
      were fascinated by the resulting Afro-American culture. Many musicians flocked there after World War II, including Sidney Bechet, Bill Coleman, Kenny “Klook” Clarke, and Don Byas. Moreover, the mass migration of musicians also included several females musicians. Both Lil Harden Armstrong and Hazel Scott, for example, moved to Paris and had much success there.

      Mary did what she felt needed to be done to advance her career, and she saw Europe as an opportunity to make money. However, she wanted to return to America as soon as she could, as the decision to move overseas made her uneasy. Never before had she made a career choice based solely on finances. For example, she had once even turned down joining Louis Armstrong’s band because she had no desire to be a sideman.

      However, Mary’s manager mislead her and stranded her in Europe, contractually obligating her to stay there and perform longer than she had originally planned. Nonetheless, Mary was initially met with some level of success. Her concerts at most venues were well attended, and she felt at home among the crowds who adored black performers. But eventually the hectic nature of Mary’s traveling schedule wore on her. She needed to rest in order to maintain the same level of stamina she was capable of in her younger years. Mary also had developed an unhealthy spending habit as a form of stress relief.

      While her debt grew, she experienced a personal loss when friend, Garland Wilson, an American Pianist who had moved to Paris around the same time Mary had, died. Mary became unraveled. She was in a country she did not want to be in, under a mountain of debt, and was mourning the passing of Wilson. She commented on this time
      in her life:

      I was in my hotel room alone and all of a sudden it seemed as though
      everything I had done up to then meant absolutely nothing. I was
      despondent because everything seemed so meaningless and useless. Even
      my beloved music, the piano I played, all seemed to have lost their appeal.
      So had my former associates in show business, the musicians, the night
      club owners and the wealthy men and women who were my patrons and
      who had been dining and wining me—none of them seemed important any
      more. There was no feeling for me to end it all. It was just despondency
      based on the fact that I felt everything I had been doing was no good.

      (Dahl, Morning Glory: A Biography of Mary Lou Williams, 239-240).

      As a result, in the middle of a set one night in, she simply stopped playing and walked out. That night in 1954 marked the beginning of a three year hiatus from regular performance and a time of deep, personal and spiritual evaluation.

      Mary Lou Williams drew back from public performing, and devoted herself to reading the Psalms, prayer, and a life of relative solitude. For the first time in her life, she did not turn to music as a mode of escape. She, instead, chose to face her demons head on, trying to find a new direction in her life. She was able to get a ticket home to New York, but holed up in her apartment when she got there, shutting the jazz world out completely. She stopped playing piano, and did not listen to any radio or jazz recordings.

      Her financial situation became so dire however, that she was eventually forced to accept the occasional gig in order to support herself. Mary eventually decided to seek out a church, and after months of searching,
      found Our Lady of Lourdes, a Catholic Church located on 142nd street. She attended her new church daily, sometimes spending hours fasting and praying. She quit her excessive spending habits and began to help others. She gave away money, clothes and food. She bought groceries and cared for musician friends of hers that had drug problems.

      Even her speech changed, no longer focused on music, but on God, prayer, and the problems of this world. Her entire life was different.158
      Mary’s big return to music happened at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival with the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra. It was a long time coming. Dizzy, among others, had been a friend to Mary throughout her three year pause from music. He had always tried to get her back into music, but had never succeeded.

      A Jesuit Priest named Anthony Crowley, who had befriended Mary, was able to convince her to return. “’You’re an artist,’ he told her. ‘You belong at the piano and writing music. It’s my business to help people through the Church and your business to help people through music.’”

      After Newport, Mary continued to accept playing opportunities. Although she preferred to avoid nightclubs, she needed money, and many new clubs and restaurants were calling her to headline. Something had changed for Mary, however. She no longer sought out work to advance her name, compositions, or career. She did so to save money that would be used to start what would later become the Bel Canto Foundation, an
      organization that existed to provide emotional and medical aid to drug addicted musicians.

      This was an incredibly personal issue for Mary, after watching a great number of her friends from New York die as a result from drug abuse, including saxophonist Charlie Parker (1955) and pianist Tadd Dameron (1965). Wardell Grey, a saxophonist who had recorded a number of times with Mary, was beaten to death by gangsters for not paying a debt that had mounted because of drug addiction. Acclaimed vocalist Billie Holiday succumbed to cirrhosis of the liver due to years of alcohol and drug abuse. Mary took initiative and founded the Bel Canto Foundation.

      During this time, Mary was also able to find a renewed level of peace while she was playing.

      Before, I was almost wasted…now I can express myself better without
      “hoggin’ up”—making mistakes. My thinking is much better. I can really
      play from my mind through my heart to my fingertips, and that’s what jazz
      really is.

      (Dahl, Morning Glory: A Biography of Mary Lou Williams, 270).

      The early 1960s were a time of political change in America. The black
      community had shown resistance to the racist policies from the earlier part of the century and had seen positive change. Desegregation was beginning to take place, and freedom marches as well as nationally organized boycotts were regularly scheduled. Jazz music reflected this wave of change. ‘Free Jazz’ musicians musically represented their feelings of political and social unrest. Many jazz musicians felt free to experiment.

      Mary disliked such movements as she felt that they ignored the African roots of jazz and the overall African-American experience which gave the music unity and originality. The 1960s was also a time of change in the Catholic Church. The church had observed the changes in popular music, and in an effort to reflect this, they passed a few ordinances which allowed for a more modern representation of music in their worship services. This reformation within church policy opened the door for Mary to write jazz
      liturgical music. She quickly got to work, writing a hymn for Martin De Porres, an Afro-Peruvian priest who had been recently canonized (the first non-Caucasian man to be given the distinction).

      The piece was premiered in November 1963 at St. Francis Xavier Church, and a month later was performed for the mainstream public at Philharmonic Hall with Dizzy Gillespie. Although it garnered mixed reviews, Mary continued to write Sacred Jazz music and eventually had enough to material to record her first Sacred Jazz Album, Mary
      Lou Williams Presents Black Christ of the Andes.

      Black Christ of the Andes was diverse. A few tracks included a mix of choir and piano, other tracks had various small ensembles, and one was solo piano. Mary’s playing is controlled, soulful, blues driven, and at some points impressionistic.

      And although Mary went to great lengths to promote the album, it received mixed reviews from critics and did not prove to be a financial success. However, discouraged she was, she continued to perform publicly in various festivals and clubs, playing selections from her recent album whenever she could.

      After a particularly successful Sacred Jazz concert in New York, a local Catholic School hired Mary to teach music classes. While there, she was urged by many priests to write a sacred mass. This mass, the first of the three, was entitled Mass and was premiered in Pittsburgh’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. This mass set the standard for many other Catholic Churches. Churches that were on the fence about the inclusion of non-traditional Church instruments, now felt free to include them. Secondly, Mary’s mass
      validated Black Liturgy within the church, a huge accomplishment for the late 1960s.

      Mary’s second mass was entitled Mass for Lenten Season, and was
      commissioned by the local Catholic Churches. By now Mary’s purpose in writing her masses, was to increase the appeal of Sacred Jazz music. It was performed throughout the Lenten season in 1968. Mary included the hymn “We Shall Overcome” in tribute to the recently assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. The concert series was extremely popular, and invigorated Mary in continuing her efforts to spread the appeal of Sacred Jazz.

      In August 1968, Mary left for a performance tour of Europe. She hoped that she would be given an audience with the Pope and be able to give a concert for him. In January 1969, Mary went to Rome. She soon learned that she would not be able to perform in the Vatican, but instead performed in another chapel located in the heart of Rome to huge crowds that had anticipated her coming. Soon after, Mary was commissioned by a member of the Pontifical Commission on Justice and Peace to write a
      mass for peace and justice.

      After returning to the United States, Mary continued work on her third mass. She “wanted this mass, more than her previous religious works, to address the contemporary social problems of racism, war, and lack of compassion.”

      She also wanted to be able to perform it during a Mass service, something which she had been denied while in Rome. She set her sights on St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, but realized that it would be unlikely for her to ever perform there.

      Her third mass, Mass for Peace, originally debuted at the Holy Family Church in New York in 1969. It served as a memorial for the assassination of Kenyan leader Tom Mboya, and focused on the making the world a better place. Whereas Mary’s previous vocal compositions were ambitious and employed complex harmonies, her Mass for Peace was much simpler in focus, reflecting the message of the lyrics. Although the concert attendees loved the music, it had no affect on Church officials at St. Patrick’s.

      Mary acted accordingly and rearranged the music of this third mass to fit in a jazz-rock vein. She had hoped that finding a younger audience would encourage Church officials to let her perform the work at St. Patrick’s. Mary chose to record this reorganized mass and the result was a 1970 album called Music for Peace. The album, like many of her previous albums, was not a commercial success initially, but after a well attended
      performance at Columbia University and many positive reviews by critics, Mary’s record sales significantly increased.

      For a time, Mary went back to performing secular jazz regularly in New York. She began a regular gig at the Cookery, playing five nights a week from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am. To her surprise, she was met with a relative amount of success as leader that seemed to elude her earlier in her career. In 1971 she recorded a solo piano album called From the Heart, which was wildly applauded among the critics of the time. One downbeat reviewer said that “after a two month of hearing ‘From the Heart’ regularly, my
      momentary enthusiasm has become permanent admiration. This indispensable recording is a FIVE STAR album.”

      She received the Guggenheim Fellowship for Music Composition which would provide her with a significant amount of money to fund her arranging/composing. She also began getting offers to tour and perform extensively. In the mid 1970s, she recorded the album Zoning, a mixture of sacred and secular tracks. It was met with wide acclaim, even being nominated for a Grammy in 1975. Her jazz career after fifty years was still booming. Clearly, the secular side to Mary’s career seemed reinvigorated by her work in the sacred field.

      The struggle continued to get her mass performed in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Church leaders were still hesitant to incorporate secular musical styles into a sacred Mass setting. In the meantime, Mary’s mass had been renamed Mary Lou’s Mass and performed with the addition of a dancing company at the New York City center in 1971.

      Mary’s new manager, a Jesuit priest, made a point of booking performances of Mary Lou’s Mass wherever Mary was (schools, churches, recreation centers, etc.). Enthusiasm for Mary’s sacred music was ever escalating. People adored the masses everywhere they were played.

      Finally, in 1975, Mary was given permission to perform Mary Lou’s Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. This performance of jazz liturgy was truly an historic event. Over three thousand people packed into the church. Regular Mass customs were followed; first the readings from Psalms and Isaiah (chosen for the Tuesday of the first week of Lent) were read, followed by a homily by Mary’s manager.

      Mary then conducted her group from the piano to an amazing performance. John W. Donohue, S.J. who wrote for America commented that Mary Lou’s drew “’waves of applause and a general air of exhilaration that animates a crowed when people know they’ve shared a momentous and uplifting experience.’”

      Another commenter said that the performance was “’an inspiring, lovely religious experience.’” Mary herself spoke after the performance saying “American’s don’t realize how important jazz is. It’s healing for the soul. It should be played everywhere—in churches, nightclubs, everywhere. We have to use every place we can.” 169 Mary would record Mary Lou’s
      Mass that same year.

      The significance of what Mary had accomplished was and still is astounding. Obviously it was the culmination of years of work and the achievement of obtaining a personal goal, but it can be considered much more than that. The church had finally integrated black culture into its normal routine. St Patrick’s was not a minor church either—it was a major Catholic establishment in the heart of one of the biggest cities in the country.

      …the success of the performance at St. Patrick’s was not simply a
      question of the acceptability of jazz. It represented the culmination of
      Mary’s efforts to alter the traditional attitudes of the Catholic Church
      toward its black parishioners. Although the history of black Catholics in
      American can be traced back to before the Civil War, the church
      leadership had not sought to fully integrate black parishioners into the
      priesthood and church leadership. Mary knew that getting this work
      performed in the stronghold of New York Catholicism meant not only the
      acceptance of jazz as a viable art form but the acknowledgement of the
      cultural and spiritual contributions of black Catholics such as herself.

      (Kernodle, Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams, 255).

      Shortly after her St. Patrick’s performance, Mary became one the recognized figures of jazz in the public eye. Radio and television talk programs begin inviting her on to speak about her life and music. CBS ran a show in 1976 which featured Mary talking about her faith as well as selections from her latest mass.

      The poverty and misfortune that had pervaded so much of her life were now things of the past. She was earning more money than she ever had and was able to live frugally, avoiding debt. Mary lived the remainder of her life in Durham, North Carolina. She had been approached by Frank Tirro, jazz historian and saxophonist, with the hopes that she would accept a professorship at Durham University. After some deliberation, Mary agreed (no doubt persuaded by a $100,000 a year salary). She taught jazz history, jazz improvisation and a jazz ensemble. Her jazz history course was so popular that at one point over seven hundred students signed up for the class. Mary was amazed. She herself had never graduated from high school, had constantly been denied royalties and payments, had been victimized because of the color of her skin and gender, and now she had a secure, salarybased job which allowed her to travel and perform as she wished.

      In 1979, Mary found out that she had bladder cancer. She continued to teach, travel and perform, but her physical condition worsened. She experienced daily, excruciating pain which stemmed from the spreading cancer into her spine. Mary knew that her death was imminent, so she started the Mary Lou Williams Foundation, an organization that provided scholarships to children that wanted jazz instruction from established musicians. Eventually, she was no longer able to teach, and she stayed at
      home, writing and playing. She died on May 28th, 1981.

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      Mary Lou Williams – Greatest Hits (FULL ALBUM)


      01 Drag ‘Em 0:11 02 From This Moment On 4:01 03 Little Joe 7:41 04 Lonely Moments 13:33 05 Lullaby of the Leaves 16:32 06 Blue Skies 20:17 07 Cloudy 22:31 08 How High The Moon 24:50 09 Libra 27:03 10 St Louis Blues [Not present in this video. If you hear it, please add a reply.] 11 Roll Em 29:16 12 Mary’s Boogie 32:05 13 The Man I Love 34:40 14 The Surrey With The Fringe On Top 42:35 15 These Foolish Things Remind Me of You 47:15

      Musical Analysis Did you know?

      Some principles in Jazz musical analysis

      Table of Contents
      • Some principles in Jazz musical analysis (1)
        • Melody Analysis
          • An Avoid Note
          • A Passing Note
          • An Approach Note
          • A Double Approach Note
          • Anticipation
        • Steps required for a good musical analysis
        • How to get the correct mode scale with no screw-ups
        • Harmonic Rhythm
        • Compounf Chords
      • Download the best scores and sheet music transcriptions from our Library.
        • And now, lte’s listen to some beautiful Jazz & Blues Music: Blue Note Trip-Swing Low Fly High Full Album CD1
          • TRACKLIST:

      Some principles in Jazz musical analysis (1)

      Melody Analysis

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

      Jazz musical analysis

      An Avoid Note

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

      Jazz musical analysis

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

      A Passing Note

      Jazz musical analysis

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

      An Approach Note

      Jazz musical analysis

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

      A Double Approach Note

      Jazz musical analysis

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


      Jazz musical analysis

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

      Jazz musical analysis

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

      Steps required for a good musical analysis

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

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

      Jazz musical analysis

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

      Jazz musical analysis

      4. Scale Degree Analysis.

      Jazz musical analysis

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

      Jazz musical analysis

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

      Jazz musical analysis

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

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

      Jazz musical analysis

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

      Harmonic Rhythm

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

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

      jazz analysis

      Compounf Chords

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Ben Webster and The Oscar Peterson Trio LIVE in Hannover (1972) – “COTTON TAIL” JAZZ MASTERS

      Track List:

      0:00 Poutin 8:12 Sunday 15:30 I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good 23:15 Perdido 31:21 Come Sunday 39:01 For All We Know 49:43 Cottontail

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