Louis Armstrong - West End Blues Notes 2015 Edexcel Music

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Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five ­ West End Blues
The piece was moving away from Dixieland and developing blues
Front line -> trumpet, clarinet & trombone
Rhythm -> piano, percussion & banjo
Louis Armstrong = trumpet, Jimmy Strong = clarinet, Fred
Robinson = trombone, Earl Hines = piano
Mancy Carr = banjo, Zuttie Singleton = percussion
First 4 notes = motif
Bar 4 = covers 2 octaves and a tone
Bar 9 = phrases are improvised and begin on a leap to dissonance
C in trumpet @ bar 10 = clash with harmony but resolves
Diatonic decoration of the melody @ bar 13
Tension increases through chromaticism -> bars 15-18
Emphasis on Db bar 25 & 26 trombone (blue notes)
Building tensions and resolving them (eg slightly flat note in bar
40 of vocal)
Chalameau (low) range in clarinet @ bar 30
Bar 43 -> classical start within piano solo, then moving to
trumpet-style octaves in a ragtime style
Sustained tension in bar 55
Intense vibrato in trumpet
Slide from G to Bb in trumpet at bar 62
12 bar blues structure
Intro (12 bars)
Chorus 1 (12 bars) ­ trumpet
Chorus 2 (12 bars) ­ trombone
Chorus 3 (12 bars) ­ clarinet & vocal
Chorus 4 (12 bars) ­ piano solo
Chorus 5 (12 bars) ­ trumpet
Coda (3 bars) ­ full ensemble
Quadruple metre
Swing rhythms featuring syncopation
Louis Armstrong = virtuosic and acrobatic
Fanfair in bar 1 with syncopated ragtime motif
Rising triplets bar 2 (spans more than a 13th
Double time descending swing bar 4

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Anacrusis to bar 7
Solos start simple then get more complicated
Syncopation in vocal solo
Syncopation in trumpet style octaves in ragtime piano solo
Rallentando at coda
Monophonic opening in trumpet part
Melody dominated homophony
Parallel 3rds between trumpet & clarinet in chorus 1
Clarinet and trumpet drop out for trombone at bar 18
Dialogue between clarinet and vocal at bar 31
Augmented 4ths descending at bar 41 in vocal with parallel
tritones in clarinet
Band drops out for piano solo at bar 43…read more


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