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It consists primarily of a concert-length original composition, along with a brie! By applying the stylistic approaches of different pianists to the same theme, one becomes aware of many subtlo yot evocative elements of each individual style.
Such an experience might be compared to that of viewing paintings of the same landscape which were done by painters from many different stylistic traditions. The implications of these ideas led to the use of a "theme and variations" approach in the present volume, rather than the transcription of classic solo performances from recordings.
This progression proved tn he not only interesting in itself, but alsa temarkably adaptable to all types of harmonic edification. Anyone who finds objectionable omissions in this regard is heartily encouraged to compose their own musical tributes to their personal keyboard favorites.
I have avoided any detailed analysis of the musi since this work should be done by the individual student eocording to personal interest and need. The discographies and cassette should be helpful in relation to details of interpretation: articulation, phrasing, dynamics, etc. In general, steadiness of tempo and a convincing rhvthmic feelina are far more important than speed.
A thorough familiarity with the recordings of a given pia may suggest further possibilities for interpretation. Excerpis from the variations may be practiced in al keys as a means of further internalizing the vocabulary. Indeed, the personality of each pianist represented here is conveyed at least as much by the minute details of interpretation as by the actual rhythmic, melodic and harmonic content. In general, twelve pre and twelve posi- pianists were selected, although no absolute chronological aivisian wae intanded.
The first twolve pianists lead up to the so-called "bebop" siyl. Each of the first twelve and last twelve variations was composed in a different key, so that each of the twelve keys is dealt with at least twice several variations change keys alter the first chorus or two.
In some cases, the chosen kay reflects a preference of the particular pianist. A thourough study of Eurepaan keyboard music from Bach to the present would make such a fact even more obvious by illuminating the degree to which jazz harmony has evolved through the assimilation and transformation of European harmony, combined with the use of jazz rhythm and the melodic heritage of the blues. Furthermore, prefer this volume to be simply a musical tribute to my porsonal sources of musical insiration, since Volume 3 is made up exclusively of my own compositions.
Although each piece contained here Is dedicated to a specific piani the most casual student of history should realize important creative developments are actually the result of many artists, often in different geographical locations, working along similar linos. Although few would dispute the importance of the pianists whose names have been included here, the significance of the work of the countless pianists whose names are seldom mentionad.
Every creative musician is a channel through which the music manifosts, in infinite variety, that which words cannot express. His enthusiasm for, and emulation For such a gif, will always be grateful. The lyric, included below, is simply a vorbal attempt at expressing my gratitude to the many pianists whose Work inspifed. It need not be sung with the theme, but singing internally while playing may give tho molody a clearor meaning and create tho proper ide for the performance of the entire work.
For further study, the melody may be analyzed in terms of motivic development and guide tone lines. For example, the first eight measures emphasize the decending line: c-b-bb-a-g-f, The more clearly the molody of the themo is undorstood, the moro clearly its relationship to the melodies of the subsequent variations will be perceived. By writing out the melody in all keys, the student may compare its original form to the many transformations found the variations.
The harmonic setting of the theme is a simple fve- voice texture. The harmonic content should be thoroughly analyzed, so that the harmonic progression, voicings and texture of the theme can bo compared to those used in the variations. A study of voice leading in relation to the individual lines of the harmonic texture will also be of interest. The form of the theme is a bar design, which may be divided into two bar or four 8-bar phrases.
The first eight measures begin in C major and modulate to D minor onic to supertonic. The third eight measures are identical to the first eight. Your songs are ever new, an inspiration. And life will always be more beautiful to me, when remember all of you. They were 50 successful that Joplin soon became known as the "King of Ragtime", a title which io ofill undieputed.
Joplin followed Stark to New York in , where he died on April 1, Improvisation in ragtime was generally limited to embellishment of the precomposed melodies and bass lines. In Variation have used only minimal ornamentation, so that each Pianist may add as little or as much as is comfortable. The sixteenth notes in Variation should be played evenly, as in a syncopated march, unlike the swing eighth notes of later styles.
CC DD. As in the forms of many rags and marches, the C and D themes of this variation are heard in a key which is a perfect fourth higher than that of the A and B themes tonic- subdominant relationship. The variation begins with a typical 4-bar introduction. Within the overall form, this section functions as two bar phrases: AA1. The second 16 measures end differontly from the frst Tho melody is based on the inversion o! The harmonic thythm is cut in half, however, so that the entire progression Is siaied in 18 measures instead of The Final four measures of this section return to 2 progression similar to that heard in the original theme.
A thorough analysis of the voicings, voice leading, bass lines, motivic development, use of non-harmonic. Morton spent much of his early life in Now Orleans, where he was the most renowned of the many piano "professors" who could be heard in the bordellos of the legendary Storyville district.
Louis, Memphis and Kansas City, and made numerous influential recordings in Chicago with his own band. Although Morton was most influential as a composer and bandleader, he was one of the few early jaz pianists whose style was based on true improvisation. His playing was rough. The left hand part is full of syncopations and octave lines, suggesting the trombone and tuba lines heard in the early jazz bands.
The right hand lines are much more hornlixe and melodically adventurous than those of most ragtime and stride pianists, suggesting the trumpet and clarinet lines of early jazz bands. Consequently, Morton may be viewod as a forerunner of Earl Hines, the most imaginative and rhythmically unprodictable of all the early jazz pianists.
Morton died in Los Angeles, Califomia on July 10, With one exception, the form of Variation Il is similar to that of most rags. Tne first bar section is designed as two bar Phrases A A! Notice that the left hand is really an integral part of the soio, and not simply a functional stride accompaniment.
Tho techniques of paraphras: and embellishement are extremely useful in Improvisation as well. The more linear and syncopated bass lines might also be compared to the more conservative bass lines in Variation. Ho alco wrote popular songs such as Charleston and Qld Fashioned Lave, Johnson was also interested in extended compositional forms, and wrote symphonia music based on traditional black American themes.
This aspect of his talent, unfortunately, received little encouragement or recognition from a society that could not yet accept black musicians as serious artists. The melodic lines in stride pieces also exhibited a closer kinship to the blues, with frequent use of the traditional blue notes and half step crushed notes.
This was particularly true in the music of Johnson and his most illustrious pupil, Thomas "Fats" Waller. This theme condenses the original harmonic progression to 16 measures, but also adds a 4-measure tag.
Once again tho original molody is clearly alluded to without being literally restated. Evan in this thema tha original Al af You theme is alluded to, as in measures 5 and 6.
Tho ending i a variation on the ending from Garolina Shout. He played drums in high School, but Switched 10 piano in He died in Buffalo, New York on March 23, Variation XI is based on the simple bar blues form. It begins with a series of tremolo chords which are characteristic of many boogie-woogie pianists.
Much of the melodic material in this variation is based on the ascending triad heard in the beginning of the original thema. In this variation the first two notes of the triad are pickup notes, while in Variation X they occur at the beginning of the first measure of each phrase.
Swing music was characterized by four equal beats or quarter notes in each measure. By repeating each note in a four-beat bass line, forming a pattern of broken octaves, the "eight to the bart boogie-woogie feeling is created. This final tar section is based on the harmonic progression of the original theme.
The right hand plays a kind of improvised line based on both the harmonic progression and the melody of the original theme. A careful melodic analysis will reveal a clear relationship between the right-hand line of this section and the original All ot You melody.
Ho died in Chicago on September 17, Variation XII is, once again, based on the bar blues form. Notice the development of this ascending triad throughout the second bar chorus. These notes are sometimes used as melodic pedal points. In the fifth chorus of this variation such an Unusual relationship occurs in measures 5 and 6. The right-hand melodic figures, however, emphasize the notes G and G , These notes are, traditionally, the only two notes which do not belong to a D7 chord, even as extensions or altered tones.
They sound convincing for two reasons. First of all, they are simply the result of the repetition of the pattem which has already been heard for four measures over the A chord, in which they are clearly functional chord tones. Secondly, they become clearly functional chord tones again in measures 7 and 8, where the A chord retums. Measures 1- 4 propare the dissonance by repetition.
Measures 7 and 9 resolve the dissonance simply by continuing the melodic repetition as the harmony changes.
The effect never fails to create a mixture of su and humor. He is arguably the most important of all the bebop composers, his compositions being models of thematic development, rhythmic perfection and melodic clarity.
His piano playing was both deep and humorous, often exhibiting elements of stride piano: which were ingeniously biended with the harmonic and rhythmic complexities of his own vocabulary. He died on Foburary 17, in Englewood, New Jersey. Monk pioneered many piano techniques which were subsequently used by contemporary classical composors. Harmonically, the uso of half stops and parallel sixth intervals is characteristic.
The use of triplet quarter notes, as in measures 7 and 8, often implies subtle cross-rhythms which obscure the bar lines in the flow of the music.
The Contemporary Jazz Pianist, Volume IV (A Comprehensive Approach to Keyboard Improvisation)
Bill Dobbins - The Contemporary Jazz Pianist - Vol. 4