A2 Music - Armstrong



  • Improvisation influenced by Chopin and 19ths century composers such as Thalbert e.g. leaps of more than an octave, balancing on v high notes before a descent.
  • Opening phrase sweeps up and down over the range of a 13th based around the chord of Eb with added F and F# which will be characteristic of the WEB melody.
  • Diminuendo on the last few notes of the intro with hushed vibrato on the Ab which anticipates the melancholy nature of the blues melody.
  • Emphasis on blue notes e.g. Gb / G natural 18-21 in tromobone solo.
  • **** singing becomes more complex as time goes on e.g. b14 compared to 37
  • Piano solo has short, expressive phrases that recall the **** singing e.g. 44
  • Right hand tremelo in b50, adds colour to harmonic twist.
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  • Use of swing rhythms which Armstrong is credited for introducing these to jazz.
  • Lots of syncopation - phrases with offbeat note that extends in a lingering manner e.g. 32, 33, 39 and 40. Some bars with no syncopation e.g. 35 and 41.
  • Quadruple metre throughout except 66.
  • Background 4 beat rhythm of regular crotchets 7-62.
  • rising arpeggio in triplets.
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  • Monophonic bars 1-6
  • Melody dominated homophony thereafter. Usually chords in banjo and piano
  • Parallel thirds between trumpet and clarinet in bars 8-9. parallel tritones clarinet and voice 41.
  • Antiphony between **** voice and clarinet 31-42.
  • LH parallel 10ths 43-44 and RH octaves
  • Dominant pedal 64-66
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  • 12 bar blues, five choruses long, with two contrasting strains, introduction and coda.
  • Final trumpet solo breaks off mid-stream, but blues pattern continues, with solo piano and coda creating extension of 12-bar shape.
  • intro = 1-63 (trumpet solo)
  • Strain 1 = 64-18 (trumpet solo)
  • Strain 2 = 18-30 (trombone solo)
  • Strain 3 = 30-42  (clarinet and ****)
  • Coda = 63-68 (solo trumpet and piano, rest of band come in. Solo percussion sound at end.)
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  • Includes multiple extended chords e.g. IV with added 6th b12, V7 also common chord
  • V-I cadence frequent
  • Chroamtic decoration e.g. bar 17
  • Functional
  • Inverted chords e.g. 49
  • diminished 7ths e.g. 26 passing diminished 7th
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  • Eb major throughout
  • 12 bar structure with occasional substitution chords based on I;I;I;I;IV;IV;I;I;V;V.
  • Pattern maintained with few changes made in chorus and more complex harmonic progressions in piano solo
  • occasional substitution chords.
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  • Uses typical new orleans front line of trumpet, clarinet and trombone, with rhythm section of piano, banjo and percussion.
  • During the clarinet solo **** singing is introduced - vocalisation without words.
  • In the intro trumpet displays virtusoic playing over a wide range. Pause on tutti dominant triad.
  • Strain 1 trumpet introduces Oliver melody with mainly sustained accompaniment from clarinet and trombone and repeated chords in rhythm section.
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Background info

  • First recorded by Joe 'King' Oliver on 11th june 1928
  • Rerecorded by Louis Armstrong just over a fortnight later on 28th june 1928.
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