ENGL 40761 Lecture Notes - Lecture 19: List Of Signature Songs, Bebop, Maurice Ravel

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7 May 2017
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4/6/17
Crazyology and the Embraceable You Hughes and Bebop Jazz
Hughes and the Jazz
They worked well together and yet were independent enough to get meaning from both
Thelonious Monk: sparingly used notes yet a combination of Western polyphony and
African polyrhythmic movement
Jazz styles appear in Howl and carry into “cutting” jazz solos (intense musical
competitiveness)
Eine Kleine Music History
Classic scales that hadn’t been used in Western music (from the likes of Stravinsky,
Debussy, Ravel, Schoenberg others from Vienna) for a good deal of time were
addressed by budding bebop musicians
o Jazz musicians “plundered” world music
Billie Holiday
Hughes wrote a poem for her, “Song for Billie Holiday”
Tremendously tragic life yet/especially incredible effect on contemporary music; “Lady
Day”
Signature song: “Strange Fruit”
Voice: croon; haunting; rasped; “gnawing”; honeyed; power and vulnerability; excellent
control
o Tension in withholding a “full throated” belt
Frank O’Hara wrote “The Day Lady Died”
o Elegy for Billie Holiday as though she is the NYC axis of turning
Poems:
“Ballad of the Landlord”
o Reminds Dr. Fredman of “Billy Bud”
o Aggravating landlord gets justly threatened by black man who is then arrest
“Café: 3 a.m.”
o Homosexuality is illegal cops planted to find and arrest them
“Theme for English B”
o Crisis of identity and experience: Universal, American, subjective
o Reminder of double conscious (W.E.B. Du Bois)
“Deferred”
o Sense of frustration the building sense that you can’t have what you want that
works toward the refrain of the set: “the boogie-woogie rhythm of a dream
deferred”
“Passing”
o Missing Harlem even though they’ve passed away from the “horror” of deferred
dreams leaving the roots and community and background behind
“High to Low”
o Reminds of Jefferson the “Malanctha” doctor
o Tension in racial uplift even among members
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