Vocabulary, Voice Leading, and Motivic Coherence in Chet Baker's Jazz Improvisations

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Title: Vocabulary, Voice Leading, and Motivic Coherence in Chet Baker's Jazz Improvisations
Author: Heyer, David, 1979-
Abstract: This study applies Schenkerian theory to Chet Baker's jazz improvisations in order to uncover the melodic, harmonic, and contrapuntal hallmarks of his style. Analyses of short excerpts taken from multiple recorded improvisations reveal Baker's improvisational vocabulary, which includes recurring underlying structures that Baker embellishes in a wide variety of ways and places in a wide variety of harmonic contexts. These analyses also explore other traits (rhythmic, timbral, etc.) that appear in Baker's improvisations throughout his career. The dissertation culminates in three illustrative analyses that demonstrate the ways in which Baker constructs single, unified improvisations by masterfully controlling the long-range voice-leading tendencies of his improvised lines. As he weaves his vocabulary into these lines, he creates improvisations that unfold in a way that is logical, satisfying in the fulfillment of expectations, and motivically cohesive on multiple levels of structure.
Description: xxv, 492 p. : music
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/12152
Date: 2011-12


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