Music Set Works- Jazz

This is the summary of the Jazz set works for AS Music

  • Created by: Trinh
  • Created on: 19-05-12 16:16

Jazz and it's key features

Originate: New Orleans, 1920-1960

Musicians from New Orleans, the brithplace of jazz, were being drawn to the big cities of America especially New York and Chicago.  

Frontline- These are the intruments that play the melody line. New Orleans jazz of the 1920s used trumpet, clarinet and trombone. The saxophone overtook the clarinet in popularity in the 1930s.

Rhythm Section- This usually consists of drums, piano, banjo (or guitar in later jazz) and bass. The bass was usually a double bass played pizzicato (plucked) although the more powerful sound of a tuba was often used on early recordings. Chords are played by the piano and bango or guitar. Players whould often fill out the harmonies by adding extra notes, fills and syncopated rhythms- a technique called comping

Blue notes and inflections- The most common are blue notes, involving a slight flattening of the 3rd, 5th or 7th degree of the scale.

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Changes- Many jazz pieces are based on a repeating chord pattern known as the changes. Each repetition of the chord progression is known as a chorus. One of the best-known changes is the chord pattern of the 12-bar blues. Others are often based on the harmonies of well-known popular songs of the time, known as standards, many of which are in 32-bar song form (AABA)

Walking bass- A bass part,usually improvised,of four steady crotchets per bar.

Tone quality- Jazz musicians use many ways to vary the sound of their instruments, including different types of attack, production (such as deliberately rough or breathy tone), and vibrato.

Double time- Playing in semiquavers instead of the usual quavers. Normal time x2

Improvisation- The ability to make-up and vary passages while performing, rather than reading them note by note from a copy, is an essential skill for musicians.

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Louis Armstong & 'His Hot Seven'

  • Born: 1901, New Orleans
  • Death: 1971
  • Influential Trumpeter, singer & composer
  • Pioneered **** singing- An imitative vocal style that mimics different instrument sounds through 'nonsence' syllables
  • Leader of the 'Hot Five', later, 'Hot Seven', including his wife Lil Hardin


  • Trumpet- Louis Armstrong
  • Clarinet- Johnny Dodds
  • Drums- Warren 'Baby' Dodds
  • Bass (tuba)- Pete Briggs
  • Trombone- John Thomas
  • Banjo/Guitar- Johnny St Cyr
  • Piano- Lil Hardin
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Alligator Crawl- About the piece

Alligator Crawl was one of the first recordings of jazz music that used the new technology of gramophone & shellac discs. The shellac disc can only record 3 minutes on each side.The piece was recorded using the hierarchical order. The soloist whould have been the closest to the device (and therefore, louder), whilst the drummer would have been the furthest away (hence, the sound quality of the drums on the recording. 

Recorded: 10th May 1927, Chicago 

  • Doit
  • Fall-off
  • Scoop
  • Glissando/ Slide- Sliding or slurring from one note to the next quickly
  • Smear- A rough, often loud slide away from a tone
  • Vibrato- The rapid pulsing or wavering of a tone
  • Rip- A quick upward glissando up to an intended tone
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Alligator Crawl- Musical Elements

  • Time Signature- 4/4
  • Tonality- F Major
  • Tempo- Andante (A normal walking pace)
  • Dynamics- Dynamics vary from instrument to instrument on the recording, according to closeness to the microphone
  • Harmony- Major harmonies throughout. The piece is mostly in F major with the use of chord IV (Bb). The large trumpet solo section before Chorus 3 is in C major
  • Texture- New Orleans polyphony or collective improvisation- Everyone in the group is improvising at the same time over a song structure to free jazz where everyone is improvising at the same time over no form at all. Homophonic- Two or more parts moving together...the melody stands out while there's an accompaniment, but also elements of Monophonic- One Sound
  • This is a 32-bar song form with a 12-bar blues. 
  • Introduction (trumpet), Chorus 1 (clarinet), Chorus 2 (Ensemble), Link,   Solo- ABA (trumpet), chorus 3 (guitar), chorus 4 (ensemble)
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Charlie Parker & the 'Reboppers'

  • Born: 1920, Kansas
  • Death: 1955 caused by heavy drug addiction
  • Influential saxophonist & composer
  • Moved to New York
  • Pioneered the 'bebop' style- fast and aggressive
  • Hundreds of stock phrases & motifs for improvisation


  • Alto saxophone- Charlie Parker
  • Trumpet/Piano- Dizzy Gillespie
  • Drums- Max Roach
  • Double bass- Curly Russell
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Ko-ko- About the piece

Ko-ko was one of the first recordings of the new 'bebop' style. WW2 had drained America's resources and shellac (the main material used to create records) was used to make ammunition- therefore, records were not made during this time. 

Recorded: 26th November 1945

The piece takes ideas from three pre-existing pieces of music:

  • Cherokee (1925)- Ray Noble
  • High Society- Alphonse Picou
  • Tea for Two- No, No, Nanette

Max Roach was a pioneer for jazz drummers. The things that he included are:

  • Bombs- Unpredictable beats
  • Rapid switching around kit
  • Swung rhythm on ride cymbal
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Ko-ko- Musical Elements

  • Time Signature: 4/4
  • Tonality- Bb Major
  • Tempo- 300 crotchet beats
  • Dynamics- Mostly loud
  • Harmony- Mixture of major, minor & diminished chords. Added 7ths, 9ths and 13ths to chords
  • Texture- Formulaic improvisation in the two outer sections (intro & coda). Also elements of homophonics and monophonic texture
  • This is a 32-bar song form (extended to 64 bars)- AABA. 
  • Greater importance on the drummer
  • Irregular phrasing
  • Made for the musicians- not the audience
  • Introduction (alto sax & trumpet), Chorus 1- AABA (alto saz), Chorus 2- AABA (alto sax), Drum solo, Coda (alto sax & trumpet)
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Miles Davis/ Gil Evans

  • Born: 1926, Illinois
  • Death: 1991
  • Influential trumpeter and composer
  • Moved to New york (age 18) to play amongst his childhood idols- Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie
  • Played trumpet in many recording sessions for Charlie Parker
  • Pioneer of "cool jazz"- laid back form of jazz
  • Prefered a mid-range sound on the trumpet, with controlled vibrato
  • His band used instruments that weren't typically associated with jazz music- french horns, aboes, bassoons, etc


Trumpet- Miles Davis                        
Alto saxophone- Cannonball Adderley 
Double Bass- Paul Chambers            
Drums- Jimmy Cobb   
Reed parts- (Alto) flute, (bass) clarinet
Brass- Trombones, trumpets, tuba

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It Ain't Necessarily So- About the Piece

"Cool Jazz" came about just after WW2 and originated on the West Coast of America (Los Angeles)- typically known as a reaction against 'bebop'. It Ain't Necessarily So (1958) comes from an album created for Columbia records- Bess (1935) was originally an opera written by George Gershwin. 

Recorded: 1958, for columbia records

Key features include:

  • Light & lyrical sound
  • Gentle, flowing rhythms
  • Whispery saxophone & muted trumpets
  • Intruments associated with "classical" music
  • Brass dominated
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It Ain't Necessarily So- Musical Elements

  • Time Signature- 4/4
  • Tonality- G minor
  • Tempo- Introdution starts off steady and slow- a litting style. Doubles in speed at Chorus 1
  • Harmony- Minor throughout. Rich harmonies. Strong modal feel. Gm7- Dorian mode on G
  • Texture- Alto flutes and bass clarinets give a darker woodwind sound. Polyphonic (B sections). Homophonic (A sections). 
  • Introduction (trumpet), Chorus 1- AABA, Chorus 2- AABA, Chorus 3- AABA, Chorus 4- AAAA (No bridge/ Full band setion)
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