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Baroque & Cool Jazz MLI
Transcript of Baroque & Cool Jazz MLI
Eudineka Saint Louis
15 March 2013
Word Count: 1,213
Cool Jazz :
New formats & New meters
Cool Jazz Cont.
Baroque is music of Western Europe but Cool Jazz is from a completely different scene. They come from totally contrasted cultural and temporal backgrounds.
Jazz music is rooted in the fusion of African music mixed with the popular early 20th century music of Western popular and art music. Baroque music and Cool Jazz were popular 300 years apart but they share many musical links.
Baroque music and Cool Jazz were popular 300 years apart but they share many musical links.
Links like musical notation and their form. In this investigation, using Miles Davis' (Miles Dewey III) "Ah-Leu-Cha " and Johann Sebastian Bach's "Brandenburg Concerto no. 2", a concerto grosso, these musical links between the styles will be explored.
Cool Jazz is a substyle of Bebop that arose in the United States during the late twentieth century.
The word "cool jazz" was not used often by jazz fans until the mid-20th century (Gioia, 1). The “cool” suggested a restrained, unemotional manner.
In earlier decades, jazz was often called "hot music" by the public, and implying that it could also be "cool" went against normal thought (Gioia, 1).
It is characterized by relaxed tempos, light tones, lush harmonies and a new lyricism.
In the "cool era" jazz musicians moved jazz closer to classical music (Glass, 1).
They placed more emphasis on the arrangement and composition than on the improvised complex solos (Glass, 1).
The era came with new formats for compositions and new meter signatures (Glass, 1).
Musicians not only played in 4/4 or 2/4 time but 3/4, 5/4, and 9/4 also, which became very common.
It's tone colors were usually pastels, vibratos were slow or did not exist and drummers played less interactively and softer than in bop, hard bop, and other modern styles that existed along with cool jazz (Glass, 1).
The tone qualities of cool jazz may be stated as soft, calm, subdued, or light.
Cool jazz ensembles usually used instruments that had not been used in jazz ensembles in past years, which included the cello, the flute, the oboe, and the French horn (Glass, 1).
Another important instrument was the flugelhorn, which was used a lot by Miles Davis
Baroque is the period in Western European art music from about 1600 to 1750.
The term baroque comes from the Portuguese term barroco, which means “oddly shaped pearl” (Glover, 1).
The music of composers like Bach and Handel during that era was overly ornamented and exaggerated (Glover, 1).
Forms of Baroque
There are many forms associated with baroque music that originated in Italy, like the cantata, concerto, sonata, oratorio and opera (Forney & Machlis, 215).
Also many things are very important to be present for a composition to be baroque.
Contrast is an important ingredient in a baroque composition.
The differences between loud and soft, solo and ensemble in a concerto.
Different instruments and timbres also play an important role in many baroque compositions.
Instruments like the trumpet and violin grew in popularity and composers were more precise about instrumentation during the baroque era.
The melody is continuous with wide leaps and chromatic tones put in for emotional effect (Forney & Machlis, 215). The rhythm is steady and energetic and and the timbre is a continuous tone color.
Composers often specified the instruments that a piece should be played on and did not allow the performer to choose.
These two selections may be part of genres from opposite parts of the world but they have some things in common, like their music notation.
Both of these music compositions uses chords, for different reasons, without traditional notation.
In this case, the performer is allowed some freedom.
Throughout Bach's "Brandenburg Concerto no. 2" the melodies are harmonized homophonically in the string section.
Likewise in Davis' "Ah-Leu-Cha " simple homophony is obvious in the tutti sections which indicates the simplicity of the style.
Another similarity between these two compositions is their improvisation.
Musical improvisation is very prevalent in Cool Jazz and is also evident in Baroque music.
Improvisation played an important role throughout the early history of Baroque music.
The harmony in Baroque music was notated with a figured bass, a shorthand that allowed a performer to supply the chords through improvisation (Forney & Machlis, 215).
Last but not least, their greatest common characteristic is form.
The ternary form, A-A-B-A, is predominant in both genres.
Ah-Leu-Cha is organized around a basic 32-bar A-A-B-A format with four phrases of eight measures and Brandenburg Concerto No. is organized around an 8-bar A-A-B-A format.
Also, both contains a ritornello, an instrumental passage that is heard at the beginning and end of a composition.
In a baroque composition, the ritornello is always in the ripierno or tutti section, which is made up of the larger group of instrumentalists or full ensemble, in a concerto grosso (Funfgeld, 1).
These mediums are the first and second violins, violas and double basses.
There is no ritornello in the second movement, which is andante, because of the absence of a ripierno (Funfgeld, 1).
It is a soulful dialogue between the solo violin, the oboe, and the recorder but the trumpet is not present (Forney & Machlis, 195).
The bright timbre of the trumpet is omitted, which created an even more intimate setting and provided a strong contrast, which is an important ingredient in a baroque composition, between it and the other two movements, which are faster.
In the second movement which is in a triple meter, ¾, Bach creates even more contrast by using a D minor as the key It is very evident though, in the first and third movement.
The thematic content is very tight in this movement, even more than in the first, so everything comes out of the first six beats of the violin line (Funfgeld, 1):
In the first movement, which is a 2/2 meter, we see the ritornello accompanied by short solo statements seven times, beginning and ending with a ritornello.
The first and second ritornello are in F major then the third through fourth are in C major (Funfgeld, 1).
The fifth and and last are in F major but the sixth one is in various keys.
This shows the chromatic harmony that is of the baroque era.
The ritornello or full ensemble alternates with the solo group - evidence of this piece's polyphonic structure -, which is called the concertino (Forney & Machlis, 195).
This section is made up of trumpet, recorder, oboe and violin are all in the high register.
Bach also uses a recurring theme that he uses as a ritornello in the instruments of the concertino or soloist sections.
In the finale, third movement in a 2/4 meter, the soloists, led by the trumpet, are very dominant.
It is an allegro assai, meaning very fast. This makes it a little difficult to even find the ripierno where the ritornello is.
The ripierno doesn't make its appearance until measure forty seven.
In cool jazz also, this ritornello passage is called the “head”. This is when the original theme is returned to in the same key to finish the piece.
In Miles Davis' Ah Leu Cha the "head" is played over 8 bars in ternary form. The form also consists of very open solos.
The whole of the composition contains the mediums such as an alto saxophone, horns, and a trumpet rhythm section that includes a piano walking bass line and drums. The melody, which consists of eighth notes in the key of C, is passed around the small ensemble.
The sax shares the melody with the trumpet in a up-tempo melody based on a counterpoint that is chased by two horns.
This extract has a very free harmony also known as consonant. The solo sections are very well comprised and the walking bass line makes it a swing, the drums make it ragtime. The style of bebop emerged from these two genres.
The meter is a simple quadruple in 4/4 that is pulsed on downbeats of 1
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