MUSIC 1AA3 Lecture Notes - Duke Ellington, Jazz Club, Cotton Tail

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Published on 13 Apr 2013
School
McMaster University
Department
Music
Course
MUSIC 1AA3
Duke Ellington (1899 (Washington D.C.) - 1974, age 75)
Studied piano as child, became interested in ragtime (Scott Joplin - "The Entertainer")
From 1927-1930 bandleader at most vibrant jazz club, famous Cotton Club in NY (upscale nightclub in
Harlem)
Brass players were famous for using "wha-wha" and the "growl style" as part of their technique
1930s and early 1940s golden age for big band music - Ellington's band among the best
During this time many classic Ellington recordings were made, such as Cottontail, or Baby
Wrote fim scores, concertos, concert pieces, theatre
Considered to be america's best jazz composer
Cotton Tail
Written and recorded by Ellington in 1940 (big-band music)
Big Band: trumpets, coronet, trombones, saxes, clarinet, guitar, bass, and drums. Duke was on the piano
•Jazz
evolved from ragtimes, blues, and other styles
African-American musical style
Improvisation using syncopation
Syncopation: unexpected off beat rhythms!
Duke wrote basic chords (actually stole it from someone else), but most melodies were improvised (all
band members are bosses)
Rhythm changes (chord progression)
"borrowed" from Gershwin's "I got Rhythm"
uses sequence (short passage repeated at higher or lower pitch) e.g. @2:20
Stacked chords
classical music has 3 notes a chord. Duke makes 4/5/6-note chords by stacking notes on top of
chords e.g. @1:32
Tight voicings
typical jazz sound made by putting all notes of a chord in the same octave (close together) e.g.
@2:04
• Call-and-response
Musical convo @0:45 with brass and sax
"shout chorus" @2:35 - trumpets play long screamy blammy harmonies in high register
• Swing
type of rhythmic groove in which short and long notes alternate
Standard Song Form
a 32-bar chorus
usually AABA (8 bars each)
A: 1st melody
A: 1st melody slightly varied
B: 2nd melody using a sequence
A: Return of 1st melody, slightly modified
there are 6 choruses in the piece
Last A section of 1st chorus shortened (only 4 bars)
6th and final chorus
Shout chorus - climax
Final A section closes work by repeating original main tune
Other Compositions
DUke: it don't mean a thing
!
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