Remembering 9/11: "A Hero's Light"

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I was living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a couple miles away from the Twin Towers, when the planes struck.  Later that afternoon, I composed a piece with lyrics, “A Hero’s Light”, which I’ve pasted below.  I also posted an audio version, played by the Orchestre de Dunkerque, orchestrated by composer Claude Pichaureau, and featuring mezzo-soprano Edwige Perfetti. I am still not ready to process that day in time, but the composing helped a bit.  

A HERO’S LIGHT
composed by Javier Arau
9/11/2001

One place, they all go.
Which place, I want to know.
Darkness unfolding, moonlight now glowing,
And through the haze I cannot see you.

That very day you told me you were coming home,
Something took you and it left me so alone.
That very day you left me, I woke with a fright,
As I had sensed the glow fade from a hero’s light.

Lightness opens its doors
As it pours from the shore.
All around us, warmth’s abundance.
Let’s bring each other in from night’s cold.

Sunshine, solace, Where can I find you?
Together we can make it through.
Springtime, comfort, we must remember.
Heroes’ lights will burn forever more.

Something you once told me on a winter’s eve:
"I will always be here. That you must believe.
So don’t you cry. So you need never say
Goodbye."

[Interlude]

Sunshine, solace, Where can I find you?
Together we can make it through.
Springtime, comfort, we must remember.
Heroes’ lights will burn forever more.

Something you once told me on a winter’s eve:
"I will always be here. That you must believe.
So don’t you cry. So you need never say
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye."

Three Essential Dimensions of Jazz Fluency

Three Essential Dimensions of Jazz Fluency

Follow these guidelines and start making sense of your soloing

This chapter is excerpted from the book Anatomy of a Melody: A Jazz Improv Primer

Copyright © Javier Arau.  All Rights Reserved.

Scroll through the lesson below, or download the lesson as a printable PDF

 

INTRODUCTION - "Carving your Path"

Why do you play jazz? Do you dream of playing like a particular up-and-comer or a legend from decades past? Do you aspire to play through challenging pieces of repertoire, perhaps equating mastery with Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”? Are you trying to develop your own concept and become a lick-free innovator? Regardless of your ultimate goal, you can reach it more easily by keeping in mind three dimensions of jazz fluency. Each is essential to developing a deeper and more meaningful improvisational concept.

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Giant Steps Exercises 1 - Augmented Scale Theory

Giant Steps Exercises 1 - Augmented Scale Theory

These exercises assume the reader has already checked the introductory paper on Augmented Scale Theory.  If you have not read the paper,  feel free to do so here.    If you are ready to start with the exercises, go for it!  I have also included this set of Giant Steps exercises as PDF downloads in F, C, and E-flat.  Have you tried these other exercises, too?  If AST is still confusing, I'm constantly working on getting more material online, so stay tuned!

Download Giant Steps Exercises 1 in E-flat Major (for C instruments) - PDF

Download Giant Steps Exercises 1 in F Major (for B-flat instruments) - PDF

Download Giant Steps Exercises 1 in C Major (for E-flat instruments) - PDF

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Augmented Scale Theory Exercises 1

Augmented Scale Theory Exercises 1

Thank you to all of you, worldwide, who have taken an interest in Augmented Scale Theory.  The biggest request I get from people who contact me is for more applicable material.  Here are some Augmented Scale Theory exercises, for those who are looking for more application and insight into Augmented Scale Theory.  These exercises relate to linear development when using scale fragments based on fundamental concepts in Augmented Scale Theory.  These are preliminary exercises, but they warrant some more explanation.  Check back soon, as I plan on expanding this post to include some helpful suggestions regarding each exercise.  

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Anatomy of a Melody, Part 3

Anatomy of a Melody, Part 3

Part 3: Gaining melodic independence over a II-V-I progression

Copyright © Javier Arau.  All Rights Reserved.

Scroll through the lesson below, or download the lesson as a printable PDF

Introduction

One of the challenges in improvising over a basic II-V-I chord progression is keeping a solo sounding unpredictable and engaging. Maintaining a focus only on chord tones can often lead to a very satisfying melody, but such an approach can begin to sound uninspired, predictable, and a bit tedious. Chord tone consonances within a melodic line can always be balanced with a focus on non-chord tone dissonances. Breaking free of chord tone dependency can be achieved by attaining a deeper understanding of tension and release within the II-V-I progression. The end result is a "melodic independence" and freedom to create a line as dissonant or consonant as you desire.

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Anatomy of a Melody, Part 2

Anatomy of a Melody, Part 2

Part 2:  Learning chordal dependence over a II-V-I chord progression

Copyright © Javier Arau.  All Rights Reserved.

Scroll through the lesson below, or download the lesson as a printable PDF

Introduction

One of the fundamental challenges of improvising over a basic II-V-I chord progression is knowing how to move smoothly from one chord to another, matching each new chord in the cycle. This may be achieved by maintaining a steady focus on chord tones, which tend to change with each new chord. This focus on chord tones is called "chordal dependence," and the resulting melody can be quite consonant and strikingly beautiful.

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Anatomy of a Melody, Part 1

Anatomy of a Melody, Part 1

Part 1:   Using balance to create a successful melodic line

Copyright © Javier Arau.  All Rights Reserved.

Scroll through the lesson below, or download the lesson as a printable PDF.

Introduction

You are given a chord and a matching scale and told, "Now go improvise!" You begin to play and just cannot seem to express anything remotely satisfying. You figure maybe your ear is no good, or maybe you just don't have what it takes to be a good improviser. Sound familiar? Don't lose hope just yet! Improvising using chords and scales gets easier if you take some time to examine what really makes a solid melody. The key to crafting a successful melody lies in understanding one simple concept: balance.

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