Approaches to integrating improvisation into notated big band compositions.

Dorrell, R (2018) Approaches to integrating improvisation into notated big band compositions. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.


This research attempts to discover new guidance methods for jazz improvisers working within the context of a big band that provide greater thematic continuity than solos based purely on chord symbols. After an introductory chapter, Chapter 2 examines the research context in terms of existing academic texts and the working practices of jazz composer, Graham Collier. Because of the lack of existing academic literature on this topic, in Chapter 3, an interview with Darcy James Argue and a survey of responses from 57 other currently-active jazz composers from around the world is analysed. The survey presents diverse views on the problem of thematically integrating the soloist into a big band, as well as suggesting a range of approaches and techniques for doing so. In subsequent chapters, four new compositions for big band and soloist are introduced. Multiple recorded performances of each of the works with different professional soloists of varying age and musical backgrounds generated ten improvised solos based on thematic melodic motifs and a variety of pitch sets. These solos were then transcribed and analysed for motivic development. The concluding chapter studies the hindrances to the development of thematic melodic material found in these solos and analyses the impact of these unusual guidance methods on the improvising soloist and the process of composing new work. The final section suggests future possible developments based on the findings and experiences of conducting the research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)

This thesis is composed of a single hard bound critical component of contextualising research, as well as the creative component, which contains four separate wire-bound musical scores, and two sets of appendices.

Thesis supervised by Prof James Saunders.

The thesis is available to download from the researcher's website.

Keywords: PhD by Practice, music composition, big band, jazz improvisation, solos, chord symbols, Graham Collier, Darcy James Argue, jazz composers, interview, survey, integration techniques, soloist, jazz soloist, thematic melodic motifs, performance, performances, pitch sets, jazz composition, jazz theory, jazz vocabulary, British jazz scene, jazz form, space, possible pictures, collaborative art, textural device, rhythm section, Brookmeyer, compositional levels, composer-soloist relationship, rehearsal and performance
Divisions: Bath School of Music and Performing Arts
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Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2018 15:36
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2024 19:08
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