West End Blues (1928) by Louis Armstrong - Part 2

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  • West End Blues (1928) by Louis Armstrong
    • Melody
      • Opening bar - broken chord then leap of dim. 5th
      • Chromatic movement in bar 2 F-F#-G
      • Occasional large leaps - descending minor 9th in trumpet
      • Conjunct melodic lines rarer but can be seen at bar 14 in trumpet
      • Blue notes common eg. Raised 2nd
      • Use of flattened 3rds. Trombone solo = flat minor 3rd alternates with raised major 3rd
      • Flat 7th in  bar 10 = means of moving to subdom chord
      • Phrase lengths - 4 bars long
    • Tonality
      • Opening solo = ambiguous. Suggest C minor or Eb major
      • Blue notes - destabilise tonality
      • Dom 7th in trumpet part leads to first unambiguous statement of tonic chord of Eb in bar 7
      • Bar 7 - blues in Eb
      • Flat 7th suggests modulation to A flat but is really a secondary dom chord reinforcing progression to sub dom chord
      • No real modulation
      • Perfect cadences in tonic key
    • Harmony
      • Standard 12 bar blues. Uses primary chords
      • Most chords in root position
      • Augmented dom triad in bar 6
      • Substitution chords - provide variety
      • Chromatic chords
    • Rhythm and Metre
      • Comping rhythm - steady crotchets
      • Triplets common
      • Jerky style with dotted rhythms
      • Rhythmically often very free
      • Distinctive feature - long held notes
      • Occasional scotch snap - feature of early jazz. Semiquaver then dotted quaver
      • Common time

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