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Daniel J. Arthurs
Submitted to the faculty of the University Graduate School in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University May 2011
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Accepted by the Graduate Faculty, Indiana University, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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© 2011 Daniel J. Arthurs ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Frank Samarotto. who provided financial support through the Dissertation Year Fellowship (2009-2010). and the Music Theory Department. and my adviser. iv . who played an essential part in the way I have come to understand music in general. Marianne Kielian-Gilbert. I would like to thank Brad Mehldau. I also would like to thank Indiana University.Acknowledgments I have benefited from the help of many throughout the process of completing this work. and would like to acknowledge them individually: my committee members. and Ramon Satyendra. Kyle Adams. Sehnsucht. Henry Martin. the Jacobs School of Music. which can be purchased from the composer at http://www.com. who briefly but importantly shared his thoughts about jazz tonality early in my research. and Unrequited). Luke Gillespie. and who demonstrated great patience when I brought him (often in overabundance) new ideas about the music explored here.bradmehldau. Finally. which was vital to this work’s completion. who—in addition to taking time during his busy professional schedule to correspond with me—granted me permission to reproduce selections of his music (including 29 Palms.
That rich analytical results are available through a Schenkerian perspective draws attention to significant problems in work that seeks to apply traditional tonal analysis to other jazz music. The analyses demonstrate the central role of traditional triadic harmony in dissonance resolution. v . Volume 3: Songs (1998). Mehldau’s expressed interests in classical norms and a linear approach motivates the analysis of contrapuntal frameworks in terms of consonant–dissonant requirements pursued in this study. among other works and arrangements. ultimately.Daniel J. which are informed by his writings and stylistic characteristics. including Schenkerian analysis. The contrapuntal idiosyncrasies that have come to define Mehldau as a composer and performer suggest the applicability of Schenkerian analytical techniques. Arthurs RECONSTRUCTING TONAL PRINCIPLES IN THE MUSIC OF BRAD MEHLDAU This study reconstructs tonal principles in selected works of New York jazz composer and pianist Brad Mehldau through a combination of analytical approaches. including Sehnsucht. the large-scale forms of goal-orientation that correspond to the “beginning–middle–end” schemes fundamental to Schenkerian theory. Mehldau’s characteristic means of employing melodically directed motion and. Unrequited. and Convalescent. Primary works analyzed are featured in Mehldau’s Art of the Trio.
................................ ........................................................................................................................ 10 Four Hypotheses ....................................... The Problem of Jazz Analysis............................................................. 57 vi ................................................................................................................................. 5 Part 2............................... 16 Harmony and Counterpoint (Historical Context) .........................Table of Contents List of Examples ............................................................................................ ix List of Figures ......................................................................................................................................................... 39 Part 2................ Larson) ............................. 31 I....................... 1 Writings on music ................................................... 21 Defining Tonality .................................................................................................................................................... 3 Jazz Chord Symbols ............. 55 Reconciling Chord Symbols and Voice-Leading .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Conceptual Bases of Tonal Jazz Theory (Russell........................................... 31 Part 1.......................... Levine) ... 31 Introduction ............. 22 Chapter 2: Literature Review and Methodology .......... Baker............................... 2 Mehldau’s “Reconstructed Tonal Principles” .................. 55 Schenkerian Analysis ............. 12 Counter-example: Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmastime is Here” .................................................................................................. 1 Biography and Overview of Musical Style ............................................ 1 Part 1......... Methodology................................................. 32 II....... xii Chapter 1: Introduction ....................... 56 Plasticity Analysis........................................... Literature Review: Theoretical Contexts of Jazz Music ................................................... 57 Transcription .... Martin...................................................................................................... Schenkerian Applications to Tonal Jazz (Strunk................ An Introduction to Brad Mehldau and to the Study ...
............. 129 Chorus 2 .................................................................................... 94 Chapter 4: Temporal Plasticity and Solo Voice Leading in Unrequited ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 96 Part 1................................................ Analysis of Sehnsucht...................... 79 Deep Middleground/Background........................................................................................................................Chapter 3: Sehnsucht and the Suspension................. The Suspension and the Beginning–Middle–End Paradigm ............................................. 65 Part 2........ 102 Part 3..... Aspects of Closure ......................................................................................... 72 Foreground and Middleground ........ Temporal Planes ........ .............................................................................................. 135 Special note regarding temporal planes and the climax............................................................................... 143 vii ........................................ 110 Introduction ..... 93 Conclusion ............................................................................ 122 Chorus 1 .............................................................................................................................................. 127 mm.................................................................................. 96 Part 2....................................... 110 From Thematic Voice Leading to Solo Voice Leading .............................................................................................................................. 60 Part 1.................................................................................................................. 131 Chorus 3 .............................. 112 Larry Grenadier’s Bass Solo ............................................. 124 mm............................................................................. 121 Skewing Tonal Durations: micro-analysis of chorus 1.............. 117 Mehldau’s Solo ..... 60 Suspensions in Jazz Music ............................................. Temporal Plasticity . 117 Foreground ............................................. Analysis of Improvisation............ 141 Part 4........................................... 17–32 .................................................................................... mm............. 1–16 ............................................................. 6-8 ...........................................
......Summary ...................... 206 The Nature of a Style ............ 179 Piano solo.......................................... 203 Summary ............................. The Free Fantasy Transformed .... 173 Voice-Leading analysis: Preliminaries .............................................................. 153 II........................................................................................ The Pedal Point........................................................................................ 201 Return of the theme .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... 177 Voice transfer ................................................. 164 Part 2... 187 Bass solo .......................................................... 173 Formal Analysis ............................................................................................................................................................ 175 Cƒ–Dß ambiguity ................................................................................................................................ 153 I................................................................ chorus 1 (0:53 – 1:56) .............................................................. 177 Major–Minor ambiguity (Bß versus B½)...................... Aspects of the Free Fantasy ............................................................................................. 210 Bibliography ......................213 viii .............................................................. 206 The Anxiety of Influence in Jazz .......... 149 Part 1........................................... chorus 2 (1:56 – 3:20) ......................................................................................................................... 202 Considerations regarding large-scale structure ..................................................................................................................... Analysis of Convalescent ........................................................ 148 Chapter 5: Aspects of the Free Fantasy in Convalescent ........ 202 The Coda ..................................... 178 Piano solo...................................................................................................................................... 205 Chapter 6: Conclusions .................................
..........30 Aldwell and Schachter’s example 27-18 . mm. with annotations ... score..........3 1...7 “Christmastime Is Here” (Vince Guarldi......73 Schumann.......56 Sehnsucht....47 Larson’s example 2..................... 1–4............ mm................................. 48..3 3........ mm.2 2.5 3............ hypothetical phrase ending in C minor ................ 1–5............76 Sehnsucht....... Op.........9 3.....2 1................ A section..............4 1....18 29 Palms.. 1–28 (A and B sections)......... mm............... opening ........ transcription and voice-leading analysis ......87 B–A–C–H motives in Sehnsucht.. voice-leading analysis ...............................Examples 1...3 2...51 A chain of 9–8 Suspensions in Sehnsucht.7 29 Palms.................. 1-22) ................10 29 Palms.............................7 2........ 13–16....... 25–28 .......... 2...........50 A 9–13 LIP rendered into a two-part keyboard figuration .......... 1934) .............. 1–14 ...........27 29 Palms.....1 3...81 Chain of 9–8 Suspensions in Sehnsucht..........4 3....... “A Chain of ‘Ninths’ and ‘Thirteenths’” ................5 1........... 25–28 ..93 ix ................................... harmonic analysis of mm......27 29 Palms.... 15–16 ......... m.....................” Dichterliebe.......... with form annotations ........ mazurka.........6 3... 4..... “Aus meinen Thränen. no................ foreground and middleground voice-leading (mm.... voice-leading analysis.... harmonic realization and analysis .............. 3–4...................” chorus (Coots and Lewis....... mm.........4 3..........63 Three voice-leading interpretations of Bsusadd3 in Sehnsucht........................7 3.......... 17.........................8 3.............. no............29 29 Palms.........70 “For All We Know........... mm.... op....................................67 “For All We Know............................ mm.....1 2.......4......... mm......1 1......2 3...... 1–16 ..78 Sehnsucht............................... mm........................ 1965)..............6 1............70 Chopin.. score.” transcription of Mehldau’s right hand..... with bass ......... mm.. 17........ 29–35 ................
........................ chorus 2..............3 4...................... deep middleground and background ..................16 4........... mm.......... theme............ 16–32) ...153 x .........97 Skewed harmonic durations in Unrequited...............17 5.... 1–16 .................................................................. chorus 1............. complete voice-leading analysis ................134 Unrequited.......... mm. middleground ..... 1–7).................. chorus 3...............1 4...... theme (with annotations).9 4............8 4.........4 Sehnsucht......... 33–39) ............. chorus 2.............................................................3.2 5..................... Volume 3: Songs.......4 4...132 Unrequited..100 Unrequited.... with voice-leading analysis ......... with voice-leading analysis ........ P.. opening melody’s two-part counterpoint (mm................................ Bach’s figure 402.. piano solo... from Art of the Trio................144 Unrequited..........107 Analogous tonal plans in Unrequited....12 4...................152 Convalescent.15 4............... with voice-leading analysis ........................... complete voice-leading analysis ......151 Convalescent....................10 4...3 5....... 8–16 ..............125 Unrequited...........101 Unrequited. piano transcription.... score .................137 Unrequited......................................... coda............5 4................. piano solo....115 Larry Grenadier’s bass solo in Unrequited................................94 Unrequited.. mm..147 A transcription of Convalescent............. with voice-leading analysis ...... E..109 Solo voice-leading choices compared to thematic voice-leading (mm........2 4.............119 Mehldau’s solo... three-voice species model and temporal planes (whole note = one measure) ........ chorus 1.. piano solo.. coda (mm.......................................1 5............................ 0:00–1:25 ....................11 4.................153 C.. score..... 1–16 and 16–21 ..14 4....... mm..............6 4......13 4...146 Two scenarios for concluding with a picardy third ........ with voice-leading analysis .... theme...................................................126 Bifurcation of harmony in chorus 1.127 Unrequited..................................................103 Unrequited................... 1–4 ...7 4.....................11 4.....
................191 Voice-leading stages in chorus 2...........13 5.......................... harmonic reduction...20 5........... chorus 2...........................204 xi ........180 Convalescent.......................... 1947)...160 Black Narcissus (Joe Henderson...192 Interplay between Mehldau and Grenadier....11 5..............................155 Naima (John Coltrane.......... harmonic reduction .......................... A section............................... Bach .....22 5......5 5............... voice-leading ........ piano solo............................ 2:04–2:08 .......... E............. 1959).................190 Chorus 2.... 2:14–2:25... piano solo.19 5...........................6 5...... Bach’s figure 477....................14 5. “Broken chords must not progress too rapidly or unevenly” ........188 Convalescent.....172 Convalescent..........159 Green Dolphin Street. P...........165 C...........................21 5....... middleground .................. 1975) ........................................8 5............................ P............18 5......200 Register transfer/transcendence in Convalescent................................................ chorus 1.................... piano solo.................... middleground and background .23 Tonal cycling in Convalescent and in an illustration by C........................................182 Convalescent.. with classical realization of harmony over tonic pedal ........161 Conclusions of chorus 1 and chorus 2 .....171 Harmonic processes within the coda.. piano solo.. opening melodic figure (1:59) .......17 5..........................................158 Green Dolphin Street (Bronislau Kaper and Ned Washington.........................................167 Convalescent..15 5.................................................16 5.............12 5....198 Three similar passages in the piano solo of Convalescent ............... with voice-leading analysis ... with voice-leading analysis .............. E........7 5............10 5... coda . chorus 2....... chorus 1........ 2:30–2:59......................5.............195 Chorus 2..9 5......
....3 2......174 xii .....23 Martin’s criteria for tonality as typified by modern jazz ............................36 Baker’s non-contextual substitution of a Dmi7 chord ............1 2.........1 1.....1 5...............................Figures 1..........37 Baker’s non-contextual substitution of a G7 chord ..................................................1 5......169 Synopsis of rounded binary form of Convalescent..................38 Baker’s example 3....38 Henry Martin’s examples 2-5 and 2-6 (opening measures to a Bach partita) ........... “a chart illustrating a matrix which [Baker] evolved and developed based on the Coltrane changes” ..............................................................2 1......136 Summary of solo durations in Convalescent ............41 Interrupted voice-leading structure in Unrequited .......................................................................165 Three temporal planes in Convalescent .............6 2.........2 2....................................7 4........2 5....40 Martin’s examples 2-7 and 2-8 (Charlie Parker’s solo from Shaw ‘Nuff) ........................... theme .34 Baker’s non-contextual substitution of a major chord ......3 Henry Martin’s tonal cues in twentieth century music .................................4 2.25 David Baker’s illustration of the bebop scale (with annotations) ...................................3 2.....5 2...24 Martin’s criteria for tonality not followed by modern jazz..............................
He also was enrolled in music courses that taught musicianship skills and history (which included a core music class with jazz theory scholar. Junior Mance and Kenny Werner. 3.1 Leaving the New School in 1993. like many jazz pianists. The album’s track listing typifies the diversity of music in his albums. Apparently discovering jazz only by his teens. 1970). Henry Martin). For a select discography. see the bibliography. An Introduction to Brad Mehldau and to the Study Biography and Overview of Musical Style Brad Mehldau (b. For a complete track listing. At the New School Mehldau studied with Fred Hersch. 2. From a discussion with Henry Martin (personal communication). see the bibliography. began touring worldwide by the late 1990s. Connecticut.3 1. His trio.2 This study will focus primarily on Mehldau’s 1998 album. but quickly developed into a leader. Art of the Trio. he moved to New York and attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music while playing and recording as a sideman. featuring several of his own compositions. Mehldau gained notoriety as a sideman. and an adaptation of a 1968 song by the late British singer/songwriter Nick Drake (“River Man”). he quickly received local attention in his home of West Hartford. featuring Larry Grenadier on bass and Jorge Rossy on drums. After graduating from high school. 1 . an adaptation of a song by contemporary rock group Radiohead (“Exit Music [for a Film]”). Volume 3: Songs. Art of the Trio. Five of Mehldau’s earlier albums with Grenadier and Rossy were grouped by him under the collection title. a couple of arrangements of standard jazz repertory. was first trained in the classical tradition.Chapter 1: Introduction Part 1.
Critics. section 2. is due in large part to a linear approach to harmony). and the order in which they reveal themselves. from early in his career. 2007. Today. “A Jazz Pianist with a Brahmsian Bent. see Ted Gioia.jazz. Through his writings 4. Adam Shatz.5 Writings on music Mehldau is outspoken on his opinions in support of an autonomous artwork. p. I will later argue. 5. replacing Rossy. For a recent stylistic assessment of Mehldau’s style. these words are likely penned by Mehldau.” Arts and Leisure. The erudition expressed in this quote is typical of his numerous other writings (many of which are catalogued in the first section of the bibliography). 1999. Mehldau’s trio continues to tour worldwide. July 27. whether it expresses itself in a beginning and an end. See. http://www. 6. He strives to blend the extemporaneous with the preconceived.4 Further.com. and from 2006-2008 he collaborated with world-renowned jazz guitarist Pat Metheny.com/features-and-interviews/2007/ 12/31/assessing-brad-mehldau-at-mid-career (accessed 28 January 2009). http://www. and it informs everything he plays. In his most inspired playing. His official biography states. New York Times. . he is listening to how the ideas unwind. “Assessing Mehldau at Mid-Career.2 In 2005 he began collaborating with Jeff Ballard on drums. 2008. [Mehldau] has a deep fascination for the formal architecture of music. Each tune has a strongly felt narrative arch.bradmehldau. 31. for instance. or something left intentionally open-ended. From his website. the actual structure of his musical thought serves as an expressive device.” entry posted December 31.6 Though written in the third person. many have identified an idiosyncrasy within his style (which. have noted the fusion of classical and jazz elements in his music. As he plays. This idiosyncrasy includes the use of imitation and dialogue between left and right hands in both his compositions and improvisations. accessed April 14.
3 Mehldau claims his music has strong European influences. I explore various criteria towards a more specific idea of what is meant by “in a traditional sense” in part 2. all in a traditional sense. The classical influence in his style of jazz he describes as located in the compositional process: That came about as a result of studying a lot of the contrapuntal aspects of classical music. “Defining Tonality. That the triad serves as contrapuntal basis for Mehldau’s music situates these pieces within a reconstructed tonal space as defined by Schenker in his theories of tonality. 8. 48ff. 7–10.g. exclusive of extended tertian patterns9). The means by which he deploys these principles will serve as evidence that a traditional tonal approach to music can thrive in a post-tonal era. (4) chromatic 7. … The idea of generating a whole composition from a small amount of thematic material is very alluring to me. etc.. and resulted from studying the compositions of great classical composers like Beethoven and Brahms.. The analyses will demonstrate the existence of a clear contrapuntal relationship establishing specific consonance–dissonance conditions.. (3) 7–6 chains and 5–6 exchanges.” p. . and tried to explore the relationships between several notes moving independently.” 9. mordents or trills). I tried to get away from a one-note melody and a chord under it. “Linear Intervallic Patterns.7 Mehldau’s “Reconstructed Tonal Principles” Essential to this study is an underlying hypothesis: that the triad plays a central role in dissonance resolution. ca. More excerpts of Mehldau’s writing can be found in part 2 of this chapter. 2002).8 I examine selected tonal works from Mehldau’s output that illustrate in novel ways how tonal motion can promote a unified whole. (2) linear intervallic patterns of a tonal nature (i. ultimately promoting motion and goal-directedness. The following techniques are among the most important that will be examined in this study: (1) use of suspensions with keyboard figuration typical of the tonal era (e. The Brad Mehldau Collection (Milwaukee: Hal Leonard. See chapter 2. 10–5.e.
It should be noted that many non-pianists also first trained classically (Benny Goodman being one of the most famous examples). Students reconstruct tonal principles all the time. (6) tonal puns on important melodic pitches. 11. The cultural reasons for this are many.com (accessed January 28.oxfordmusiconline. jazz style has been my “second language” with classical styles as my first. and Hal Galper. rather than my jazz knowledge informing my understanding of his “traditional tonality.11 While the ability to improvise competently in the jazz style sets apart spectator and specialist. They are evaluated on how well they 10. but I would hypothesize that a higher percentage of jazz pianists first studied classical music. . But I believe it is important for American musicians and scholars to understand why the inequality between classical and jazz languages exists in the hopes of understanding how one musical language can inform the other. “The Problem of Prolongation in Post-Tonal Music. (5) melodic turn figures and other idioms suggestive of the tonal era. In many ways this study departs from Joseph N.10 This study works out intuitions I had about Mehldau’s music long before I encountered his writings. it became apparent that classical and jazz elements were being combined: my classical knowledge more frequently informed my understanding of his jazz music. Armen Donelian. and makes for a project not to be explored here. 1 (1987): 1-21. Dave Brubeck. many pianists who specialize in jazz first train classically.” From a young age. all musicians who attend the university are required to go through a music-theory curriculum that stresses one “language” over the other. For example. no.4 third progressions. see Joseph N. Straus’s definition of prolongation in tonal music. John Medeski. Among the most prominent jazz pianists who first trained classically are Herbie Hancock.” Journal of Music Theory 31. particularly when the task is to compose model compositions in a certain style. Straus. All these can be confirmed in brief biographical sketches found at www. André Previn. 2009). Cyrus Chestnut. requiring enharmonic reinterpretation. and (7) functional tonal cycling. As I became familiar with his music. Bill Cunliffe.
Interrelationships from chord to chord frequently instantiate the II–V–I formula. but without a proper knowledge of certain harmonic principles. Even when the style is achieved. shows us how his art transcends the model composition. where collages of musical styles are the norm. model compositions can stray from the desired style. In a post-modern world. Model compositions recreate the wheel. and. Nevertheless. root motion through the circle of fifths is the underlying principle for such a formula. This formula often has shortterm implications for prolonging the third chord. Jazz Chord Symbols Jazz chord symbols do not reveal long-term relationships.” Indeed. jazz chord symbols frequently do little to demonstrate specific functional connections from chord to chord. The information provided by each jazz chord symbol . Melodic turns of phrases help accomplish their task. perhaps invigorated by a jazz setting. how these principles become a springboard to compositional innovation.5 employ tonal principles. Reconstructing tonal principles in Mehldau’s music. Mehldau has singled out the use of tonal principles not unlike those learned in model compositions. distinguishing him from other jazz pianists of the last fifty years. model compositions are generally not intended to pass as masterpieces. as can be demonstrated at the foreground level in a Schenkerian analytical context. as it were. Beyond the circle of fifths. his compositions surpass the status of “model composition. By integrating tonal principles with the jazz tradition. then. indeed. these tonal principles in part define his voice as a composer and improviser. but serve as demonstrations of earlier styles and genres. but are not normally intended to achieve the status of a unique work of special inspiration.
1.6 alone cannot illustrate the perceived motion. 9 47693-2 (CD). chord symbols cannot tell us the linear story that animates the rich surface of the music. added to the texture. 29 Palms is an ABA form. it functions in tonal theory as a passing V$ harmony. with D flat in the bass. so this progression. his own practice of accompanying his published themes with chord symbols is a traditional jazz practice: the symbols name vertical arrangements of a given collection of melodic and harmonic material at specific points within the music. or voice-leading. 15–16. or an F sharp dominant seventh (enharmonically reinterpreted from G flat). In this study I demonstrate how linear analysis can meaningfully reveal what happens in motion between chords. effectively concludes the piece. Given the contrapuntal approach to many of Mehldau’s compositions. To be sure. though. the chord symbols are Mehldau’s. illustrated only midway through the score. . I do not wish to downplay the importance of jazz harmony (or even classical harmony) so much as I wish to elevate an awareness of contrapuntal situations that are not normally apparent in jazz music. 2000. usually one to two chords per measure. G natural. which is notated on the score as Gß7/Dß. Three of the four voices are suspended over the tonic with a chromatic neighbor note. In example 1.12 The tonic is approached by a second inversion dominant seventh in the key of B major. Warner Bros. This is indicated on the score as 12. from chord to chord. This symbol is intended to illustrate an inversion of a G flat dominant seventh. Places. the final three chords to Mehldau’s 29 Palms is shown in mm. the decision to stress melodic over harmonic approaches has been a recurring point of contention throughout the history of music theory. While Mehldau’s music at times is strikingly different from traditional jazz. superseding the information provided by chord symbols on a score. 29 Palms is performed in Brad Mehldau. In B major.
2. 16 to o the tonic tr riad. . which i is indicated o on the score as 13. s mm. n˙ ˙. harmonic h an nalysis of mm m.2.. Note th hat Fƒ is prov vided by the e melody yet t is absent in n the chord sy ymbol. 15–16 #### 5 & # 4 ? #### 4 5 # B: G b‡/D b ˙ ˙ ˙ V$ ˙ ˙˙ w ˙ ˙. and Unr requited (exam mple 4. 29 Palms. score. This s ch hord suggest ts a tonic arr rival on B with w both susp pensions and d an upper n neighbor. and ar re not intended d for performan nce.7 Example E 1.1).1).1. Thes se are intended d for analytical pu urposes.. These d dissonances appropriatel ly re esolve on the e second hal lf of m. w Gø/B ˙ ˙œ ˙ ˙œ BÁ n §‡~~~~~~~~ ~~Š° I% ‹ Gø G /B. Sehns sucht (example e 3. wh hich is s illustrated in i figured ba ass notation in example 1. I would w like to tha ank Brad Mehl ldau for grantin ng me permiss sion to reprodu uce his lead she eet to 29 9 Palms. 1–16 1 13 Example E 1. 29 Palms.
Here the triangle seems to be indicating a major triad. The G itself can function as the flat-nine of a dominant. both of which represents prolongation of the dominant. The traditional tonal processes that describe a suspension instead aptly illustrate my experience of the final bars: (1) a dominant harmony serves as consonant preparation for (2) the suspension of dominant harmony over the tonic arrival. Mehldau is perhaps sensitive to the state of suspension by not choosing a symbol that identifies a 14. Both symbols accurately account for the harmonic content of the penultimate chord. and the melody (Fƒ4). the bass-pedal symbol (“/B”). In addition. For instance. the penultimate harmony is heard as a viiø7/V over a tonic pedal. or seventh of a leading-tone diminished seventh chord.2. illustrated in example 1. by incorporating the melody one can label the harmony with complex chord symbols as G-Á7ß5/B or GÁ7ƒ9ß5/B. . In tonal analysis. suspension. 15. with the additional dissonance of a neighbornote. G. I instead attend to the motion between each chord that signals an approach. without the customary major seventh (as informed by the performance). I do not experience the three chords as they are indicated on the score of example 1. Instead. Mehldau’s creative use of Gø/B to explain the double suspension that takes place in the penultimate measure to 29 Palms is a clear example of a reconstructed tonal principle that one would be hard pressed to identify in a typical tonal jazz piece. hence its neighbor-note designation. by using the diminished symbol. the G is not prepared as a suspension. Mehldau does away with a major or minor distinction and invokes three syntactical musical elements to render the identity of the double suspension: the chord symbol of a diminished triad (Gø). 14 8 As an analytical listener of both jazz and classical music. and repose that constitutes a cadence.1. The chord symbol notation indicated by Mehldau differs from how I hear the final three chords as a unit.15 followed by (3) resolution to the tonic triad.BÁ. In this case.
9 major or minor connotation over a non-tonic harmony, as in the two alternatives I provided above. In both cases, G is not the root harmony—whether major, minor, or diminished—since B major is the ultimate goal. This complex coordination of symbols and music realizes a somewhat straightforward voice-leading situation. That there is no better way to demonstrate this simple voice-leading situation to a jazz musician (on the score) underscores the friction that motivates this study. More importantly, this study raises questions about the assumptions of tonal jazz as it relates to linear analysis, particularly in a Schenkerian orientation. While jazz music often emphasizes parsimonious voice-leading, the motions just described between harmonies are not a given stylistic requisite in jazz music, not even in the tonal jazz repertory. In 29 Palms tones are activated as a source of harmonic tension in a specific way. These contrapuntal tensions are driven by a goal-orientation towards a tonic triad. Triadic goal-orientation is not a requisite, nor is it preferred, for much tonal jazz music.16 The above example demonstrated specific functions for each scale degree, namely, the neighbor note and the suspensions. Neither of these functions are made evident by the chord symbols. To be sure, this study is not a critique of jazz practice, such as chord-symbol notation in Mehldau’s music or in jazz in general. Rather, this study points to the friction evident between two languages and how one jazz composer appropriates his musical style from the nineteenth-century German Romantic tradition (as
16. Jazz musicians are taught from an early stage that it is outside the style to emphasize anything as basic as a triad; students are encourage to substitute triads with acceptable extended tertian hamonies. Consider this statement from Walter Piston, who wrote, “Students of jazz techniques will recognize that an entire harmonic vocabulary based on the complete set of added-sixth chord and non-dominant sevenths and ninths exists in that art, indeed defining the normative chordal states in a harmony where pure triads are rare.” Walter Piston, Harmony, 5th ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1987), 483.
10 evinced in his writings) in order to create a renewed sense of tonality in this post-modern age. Part 2. The Problem of Jazz Analysis. In traditional analysis of jazz music, scholars have debated over the influences of the Western European tradition. The main argument is that jazz, deriving primarily from West African music culture, is incompatible with Western European analytical techniques. That is, the analyses that aim to understand the constituent parts of a jazz work should not resemble those applied to Western European music. More recently, an African-American literary theory by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has been applied to music of West African origin: Samuel A. Floyd, Jr. has applied Gates’s term, “signifying,” to the performer in jazz music.17 “Signifying” essentially involves the art of misdirection. When applied to literary theory, it is a play on word meaning; when applied to music, it becomes sonically oriented as an act involving the performer’s play on musical meaning as directed towards the listener. The performer need not concern himself with communicating to the audience. The performer, in fact, strives to signify on the audience in such a way as to exert a kind of artistic domination. For example, Miles Davis was known to turn his back on the audience in many of his live performances, as if not only to ignore but to refuse to acknowledge his audience’s presence. This antagonistic approach to the performance of jazz has been historically situated within
17. See Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The Signifyin’ Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), and its application to music in Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., The Power of Black Music: Interpreting its History from Africa to the United States (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995).
11 certain reactionary impulses brought on by social and cultural contexts, particularly with regard to racial equality and civil rights.18 Without reference to cultural issues, Alex Lubet has argued from a pragmatic position that jazz music is process-oriented, based on the traditional West African practices of performing to certain “environmental cadences,” whereas Western European music is governed by philosophical principles of teleology; its analytical application to jazz music therefore is fundamentally incompatible.19 The reasoning lies again in the argument that jazz music owes its development to West African musical tradition, not Western European tradition, and therefore the notion of goal orientation as an analytical premise is misplaced in jazz analysis. While there is some truth to this argument, the problem is in attributing the term “jazz” to such a wide variety of music. Lubet’s argument, for instance, ought not to be applied to Mehldau’s music. Yet Mehldau’s music is considered jazz, which falls under Lubet’s broad umbrella. Based on his criteria, Lubet might not even consider Mehldau’s music jazz, given Mehldau’s clear admission of Western European influence. While the typical apparatus for jazz analysis has been questioned, one will still find Western musical analytical techniques applied to jazz music from Schenkerian analysis in tonal jazz to set theory in free jazz. The application of tonal forms of analysis to jazz music has required some modification, however. Indeed, the fact that one cannot find
18. See Floyd, Jr., Power of Black Music, Gates, Jr., Signifyin’ Monkey, as well as Robert Walser, “‘Out of Notes’: Signification, Interpretation, and the Problem of Miles Davis,” The Musical Quarterly 77, no. 2 (1993): 343-365. The application of Gates’s theory of signifying has been applied to rap music as well; see Richard Littlefield, Frames and Framing: The Margins of Music Analysis (Matra: International Semiotics Institute, Semiotic Society of Finland, 2001). 19. Alex Lubet, “Body and Soul,” Annual Review of Jazz Studies 7 (1994-95):163-80.
12 unmodified applications of tonal analysis would support those who would contend for a distinction between Western European and West African music. Four Hypotheses In response to the above contentious positions, I propose four hypotheses to situate Mehldau’s music within the ongoing debate between jazz and Western European classical music. The music explored in this study operates within a reconstructed tonal space, which is often accompanied by the following activities: 1. reviving the traditional tonal language (reconstructed at the end of the 20th century). 2. recreating the self-contained work with a beginning–middle–end paradigm. 3. erasing jazz’s distinction between the composed and improvised material. 4. reasserting the autonomy of the artwork independent of source material (arrangements of jazz standards, rock music, etc.), thereby removing the music from a context with which it was inextricably linked. To demonstrate these hypotheses, I will apply Schenkerian analytical methods to Mehldau’s music. Operating from within a reconstructed tonal space, essentially there is no analytical modification to the methodology, since the music is free from struggle with the past, in the sense of Joseph Straus’s application of Harold Bloom’s “anxiety of influence.”20 By removing such historicized, contextual parameters, I will show that the music is readily engaged by traditional methods of analysis. Writers have already identified similarities of Mehldau’s music with a wide range of classical composers (J. S. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms
20. See Joseph N. Straus, “The ‘Anxiety of Influence’ in Twentieth-Century Music,” The Journal of Musicology 9, no. 4 (Fall 1991): 430-47 and Remaking the Past: Musical Modernism and the Influence of the Tonal Tradition (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990).
a plurality which Mehldau himself has made known: My interpretations are interchangeable and contingent…. . This Kantian idea of the autonomous artwork is particularly appealing for music because it gives its nonlinguistic aspect a privileged status. when the piece is dramatic.21 Mehldau adopts a Romantic aesthetic in his music. which explicitly removes it from socio-political contexts (to which jazz has traditionally been intimately linked). for instance. and particular musical elements in his compositions have warranted these comparisons. but music would seem to provide a more direct perceptual experience for the listener. The dualistic rub of speech communication takes place between a word that signifies and a concept that is signified. In a recent communication with the composer. Rather than identifying his music by these musical stereotypes and proposing that Mehldau is recreating the music of each of these composers. death. There is no need for an analogue to this music. one could argue. Between those poles are cognitive badlands. Brad Mehldau. flowers or airplanes. The apparently unbiased nature of the work allows for multiplicity of meanings. Brahms’s name is evoked. it generates its story from within. when his music exploits motivic development. e-mail message to author. The unfortunate result is that people are missing where the action is—[engaging in] a tonal language…. I suggest that the numerous musical traits these composers share constitutes the reconstructed tonal space of Mehldau’s music.13 to name those cited by Mehldau and his critics). Mehldau states. 21. Beethoven’s persona is conjured. 2009. To the extent that music is ‘about’ anything. August 18. whether it involves sex. perhaps because it requires some more specialized knowledge. some have referred to it as having similarities to Bach. When a piece features surface counterpoint. and spins a wordless narrative that simply tells us of its own presence and the distance it keeps from us. One of my pet peeves is that tonality itself—you could also say functional harmony—is bypassed in much writing about new music in general. etc. Something is always lost or mutilated in the journey from thought to utterance.
since it readily allows one to enter into a tonal environment. This interplay ultimately culminates in a final musical product of novel artistic creation.” Straus asserts that composers “know that the lost Eden of the tonal common practice can never be regained in its original fullness. it will be argued that the traditional interplay of the trio (i. and/or melodic elements are in alignment) conveys a collectively improvised. a struggle to avoid being overwhelmed by a tradition that seems to gain in strength as it ages. “Brahms. harmonic.14 Because it doesn’t clearly signify anything outside of itself. reprinted on Mehldau’s website http://www. but more or less embraces it as if by willful suspension of disbelief. composition becomes a struggle for priority.” Jazz Times (February 2001). The lack of selfconscious anachronism in Mehldau’s music makes it particularly apt for the current study. when we listen to it we engage in a kind of pure consciousness. accessed 22 February 2008. 22. Interpretation.22 Mehldau’s music demonstrates a clear triadic melodic and harmonic relationship.com/writing. 23.. . In this postlapsarian world. Interpreting Bloom’s “anxiety of influence.” 447. fully-unified work (see in particular the analysis of Unrequited in chapter 4). I would hypothesize that Mehldau’s music conveys a cohesiveness that sounds as if he were creating a unified whole from beginning to end extemporaneously. “Anxiety of Influence. unfettered by any referent concept. The interacting contrapuntal lines can be more than the source of harmonic tension: they can serve as a motivic basis for the subsequent improvisation and interplay in the trio.”23 On the contrary. and Improvisation. Straus. Mehldau’s music does not exhibit a struggle with the past.bradmehldau. the ability to communicate musically on the spot whereby rhythmic. To further impress upon the listener the complexity of such an illusion. Brad Mehldau.e.
As I will demonstrate in the literature review. in all its complexity. and suspension. Parallel motion of consonant fifths and dissonant sevenths are permitted in jazz methods. among others. While some argue that composers today can never regain the original fullness of common-practice tonality (one simply cannot be . Jazz harmony. below. the use of the term voiceleading is fundamentally different from the kind of voice-leading that lies at the foundation of tonal structure. Mehldau has at his disposal a variety of compositional choices. jazz generally has no requirement for specific consonance–dissonance conditions within harmonic progressions. Harmonically. jazz music embodies Schoenberg’s notion of the emancipation of dissonance. represents the reification of linear phenomena.15 This study will investigate in Mehldau’s music fundamental concepts of tonality that are currently taken for granted by jazz musicians: the passing tone. A “sus” chord is not considered to require a resolution (see chapter 3 for more on “sus” chords). A passing tone is active in a prolongational context in which it becomes articulated as a dissonance that bridges two consonances. frozen into a vertical form. neighbor note. That he gravitates so frequently to a nineteenth-century approach to tonality suggests that he simply chooses to compose “anxiety-free” in a post-modern time. the focus is upon “the law of the shortest way”: parsimony and close proximity of pitch materials from one chord to the next. With the multiplicity of tonal and non-tonal styles in a post-modern world. The suspension is perhaps the most complex of foreground phenomena that. Though received jazz methodologies teach smooth voice-leading when incorporating successions of complex harmonies. in its very nature. suggests melodic motion among chords. Jazz theorists regard the dominant thirteen an independent entity.
which can lead to problematic linear analyses. the bass line arpeggiates the tonic triad by prolonging the melody’s A4 through both tonic and subdominant regions. Often jazz music avoids the contrapuntal goal-directedness that one would find in traditional tonal music. 7. understanding the counterpoint between the melody and bass. The bass line Stufen appear normative upon first glance. how do we reconcile the ending ninth chord over the tonic?24 A traditional reading explains how ^7 relates to the opening tonic: the opening seventh chord is part of a descending (extended-tertian) arpeggiation of a tonic triad that 24. and can represent the final closing moments). however. to my ear. A similar issue is addressed in Michael Buchler. There is a problem. Counter-example: Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmastime is Here” Linear motion in modern tonal jazz is latent at times. “‘Laura’ and the Essential Ninth: Were They Only a Dream?” Em Pauta 17 (2006): 5-25. How does one interpret the melody’s opening scale degree (^7) in relation to the tonic bass? How does one interpret the tonic scale degree belonging to the dominant bass in m. beat 3? Finally. Mehldau’s explicit pursuit of and indulgence in a Romantic aesthetic challenges the twenty-first century composer’s acceptance of the loss of the tonal tradition.3). and potentially what that says about its application to common-practice music. a popular song that. . In the A section (which subsequently concludes the piece. Consider the voice-leading of “Christmastime Is Here” by Vince Guaraldi (1965).16 in the eighteenth/nineteenth century). reflects the idiosyncrasies of tonal jazz during the 1960s (see example 1. What this study ultimately hopes to expose is how a tonal theoretical system for analysis can apply to music of a post-tonal world.
This reading. 1 and E flat in the bass in m.3. A4. representation of tension concerning the F’s relation to the tonic bass. instead.e. What happens. through arpeggiation down from ^7 (E5) of m. 2. drawing attention to this melodic–harmonic problem. The melody’s arrival on F (^1) in m.) There is harmonic tension with the arrival of the Kopfton. 5: a fairly dramatic shift to B-natural in the bass initiates a 7–5 linear intervallic pattern that prolongs the subdominant. 2. 7. The ending ninth over the tonic is essentially impossible to understand in a traditional voice-leading analysis. perhaps implying a resolution to the leading tone. to E flat. however. by m. E5–C5–A4–F4). is an ascent to the ninth of the final FÁ9 chord in m. and hyperbolized. The E flat in the bass. 8. example 1. Another explanation (not shown) could suggest that the melody. since the bass note descends a whole tone. the . 1: a highly skewed. 1-4.. ^3. beat 3) is harder to explain in a traditional voice-leading context. could be interpreted as an incomplete neighbor to the opening tonic of F.17 leads to the more traditional Kopfton. This would require connecting the melodic F4 of m. (Refer to the foreground and middleground levels. 1. 7. By the time the melody arrives on F. has taken seven measures to finally make its way to the tonic (i. beat 3. One foreground detail exposes the cross relation of the E natural of the melody in m. The F is suspended over the dominant. Addressing how the eleventh belongs to the dominant (of a V11 in m. 7 is indeed part of a three-measure prolongation of the subdominant. is not supported by the events that take place starting at m. This transforms the arrival of ^3. to the tonic bass of m. into the sharp-eleven of the Eß7ƒ11 harmony of m. While representing its own form of poetic closure. it is effectively detached from its tonic origin of mm. however. 2.
7 (via suspension). Example 1.3 (bottom-right of the example. a Schenkerian analysis cannot regard 9 that ninth as a form of closure. other than to pose a hypothesis that the final G in m. “Christmastime Is Here” (Vince Guaraldi.3. voice-leading analysis On the other hand. labeled “ALT. A section. an alternate reading in example 1. 1965).”) results in a highly atypical background: an ascending “third .18 sentimentality expressed by the cozy FÁ harmony. In example 1. 8 represents a belated arrival of ^2 over the dominant bass of m. I illustrate how the normative suggested background becomes an open-ended version. and that the closure of the song is purposely denied.3.
FÁ9. the scale degree progression of the background is not typical of tonal music (^7–^1–^2). The alternate background of “Christmastime” provides a voice-leading picture that does not lend itself well to Schenkerian analysis. In this reading. characterizing it as essentially triadic in origin. while more reflective of the song. This subsequently resolves to an even dreamier tonic harmony. I would argue the music is nostalgic. the result of this melodic ascent transcending a more normative resting place on ^1. Yet the music does not reflect such tension. and the melody is not supported by triadic harmony. the opening melodic tone (^7) is prolonged over the tonic. with ^2 representing the ultimate melodic goal. tonic FÁ7 harmony resolves up from ^7 to ^1. the way I just described the ascent past a normative tonic triad member suggests a passage filled with tension. dissonance.” The traditional tonal reading minimizes the events of the song. In a traditional analysis. the perfect music for a wintertime carol.19 progression” (which is in no way related to the foreground or middleground analyses of example 1.3). To recognize that one background is derived from another (as in example 1. comforting. warm. is quite implausible in Schenkerian theory. Though a traditional Schenkerian . The alternate background. and an improper tonal resolution. In this alternate and unorthodox background. This dreamy. Comparing the two backgrounds presents us with two fundamentally incompatible voice-leading backgrounds in traditional Schenkerian terms. ^1 is not related to the tonic but represents the prolongation of the dominant through a standard V11 chord. reveals a paradox of tonality in “Christmastime. This background is incongruous with traditional voice-leading analysis since the Urlinie resolves up. on the other hand.3).
20 analysis might highlight unresolved tensions and dissonance. Therefore. an important feature of this song sets apart this music from traditional tonal music: the melody appears derived from the extended tertian harmonies. it reflects a different “dialect” of tonality.25 The music is not filled with tension. the affective content rendered ineffectual. Indeed. had Guaraldi chosen to close on a tonic triad. it may prove fruitful to establish criteria defining tonality before proceeding with linear analyses of jazz. the stylistic norms of jazz allow for poetic closure on a major ninth chord: the dreamy feeling of Christmas time is timelessly epitomized in Guaraldi’s progression. and is not concerned with consonance/dissonance conditions so important to Schenkerian theory. This does not detract from the performance but indeed points to the innocence and youthfulness of the choir. the children’s voices are never quite in tune. . This is perhaps why. As much as I have analyzed “Christmastime” using a method intended for music of the tonal era. and serves as the primary hint of traditional tonal tension. There are other important factors to consider that are beyond the realms of tonal analysis: the children’s choir suggests an endearing innocence that puts everyone in a sentimental mood during the holiday season. The only unambiguous neighboring note occurs in the bass. into an arpeggiation of a major seventh chord. and possibly encourages non-musicians to join in without worrying about their own vocal ability. in spite of what traditional tonal analysis might reveal. The analysis required speculation about hidden functions of passing tones and suspensions that led to some fanciful linear interpretations. as in the alternate background foil of example 1. the ethereal quality of the music would be lost. A palette emphasizing harmonic color perhaps motivated Guaraldi’s melodic choices. transcending the musical changes that have taken place in forty years and serving as an important cultural icon in the United States. since 1965. 25. The chordal roots could have served as a template for any number of melodic/harmonic choices. A Charlie Brown Christmas has been televised every year. While this piece is tonal. E5. Considering the descent from a fairly high pitch.3. providing the kind of closure a Schenkerian analysis could identify with.
dominant sevenths were called dominante-toniques) and triads. See Thomas Christensen. 1993). further. particularly those principles discovered by Newton. Some of the more important historical landmarks should first be recounted. As influential as his tonic/dominant polarity was to compositional theory.21 Harmony and Counterpoint (Historical Context) Considering the historically contentious positions between melodic and harmonic perspectives will help in establishing a useful definition of tonality. which can mask the linear motion that pervades classical music. let alone the kind of recursive contrapuntal voice-leading that Schenker discovered in his theories. He was attempting to identify actual physical reasons for the generation of melodic motion in music. Rameau imparted to his readers that pitch followed the same scientific principles as light. that melody was the incidental cause of harmony. instead asserting that harmony drove melodic motion. The kind of chordal analysis that Rameau inadvertently sparked over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries can be traced to today’s use of romannumeral analysis in the undergraduate classroom. Schenker attempted to reinvigorate contrapuntal laws to remedy the static description of roman numerals. . Today. He developed his analytical techniques from the “masterworks” of 26. and. 142-44. his original intent to demonstrate the implications of harmonic motion was lost over the next few centuries. a student of jazz theory learns that a chord symbol is available for nearly any collection of pitches. to show that contrapuntal models were recursive by nature. Jean-Philippe Rameau developed the analytical distinction between seventh chords (called dominantes. In jazz theory. Rameau and Musical Thought in the Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In particular.26 Rameau countered the current trend. only secondarily is there an emphasis on traditional consonance–dissonance-based counterpoint.
“Seven Steps to Heaven: A Species Approach to Twentieth-Century Analysis and Composition.” Perspectives of New Music 38. My reference to “reckless counterpoint” comes from Bo Alphonce.societymusictheory .0.29 Martin’s fifth cue seems to be the strongest evidence to support the assertion that “Christmastime” is tonal: “presence of Stufen arising from 27. the intense modes of expression of melodic tension like that of Mahler. no. This characteristic allows him to explore a tonal world similar to that of German romanticism.94. and Copland (among others) can enter into both tonal and atonal contexts. 28. as he himself states and as can be analytically demonstrated. Shostakovich.art.1). To be sure. 29. no. http://mto.” Music Theory Online 0. Henry Martin. But while it is easy to assert such a dismissal based on the more obvious cultural differences between jazz and classical styles. Schenker probably never would have applied his analytical techniques to jazz music.28 Indeed.7. Bartók. and the enigmatic treatment of tonal elements like that found in the music of Chopin or Brahms. it is not without justification: a large body of tonal jazz is not conceived contrapuntally.94..22 the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.0. presents nine tonal cues that are “shown in roughly decreasing order of importance” (figure 1. however.7/mto. is conceived contrapuntally. Mehldau shares an affinity to the “reckless counterpoint” found in the music of Schumann. 2010). Martin. in his attempt to refine our understanding of tonal versus atonal grammar. Mehldau’s music.org/issues/mto. “Dissonance and Schumann’s Reckless Counterpoint.html (accessed January 28. the content of much music of Hindemith. . Ibid.alphonce. 132. 7 (1994). 1 (2000): 129-68.27 Defining Tonality Henry Martin has argued that twentieth-century music tends to be inconsistent in establishing itself as either tonal or atonal.
Henry Martin’s tonal cues in twentieth century music 1. and deceptive cadences. and whether one reviews the foreground analysis or the alternate background. nested prolongations that ultimately give rise to tonal center and key.” 132. in two-part writing. norms of melodic writing in which conjunct intervals predominate.1. The tonality of “Christmastime” contrasts with the kinds of tonally directed melodic motions found in Mehldau’s music. phrase and section groupings that project two-. 9. I am using it to demonstrate how the “tonality” of modern jazz differs from the kind I will examine in Mehldau’s music. While Schenker ultimately used his analytical method to evaluate artistic merit. 5. normative dependence of dissonant melodic intervals on consonant intervals prolonged at a higher structural level. 7. 6. .”30 His second and third ranked cues. meter. half.23 hierarchical. create difficulty in asserting that the song is tonal: absent is a “normative dependence” of dissonant intervals on consonant ones. full. presence of Stufen arising from hierarchical. I argue. on the other hand. 30. The succession of Stufen in “Christmastime” shares many similarities with traditional tonal techniques inherited from the Western tonal tradition. and eight-bar symmetries.” since it is mostly based on extended tertian harmony. where. Figure 1. 2. harmonic rhythm arising from functional harmonic succession. nested prolongations that ultimately give rise to tonal center and key. four-. 3. Martin. there is a traditional relationship between bass and melody. 8. and the music does not fit the criterion of “functional harmonic succession based on triads. principal pitch-class collections usually reducible to major or minor scales. but yields no further evidence that the melodic material follows the contrapuntal norms Schenker codified. on consonances that may imply functional harmonic succession 4. “Seven Steps to Heaven. functional harmonic succession based on triads.
5. sixteen-bar and larger symmetries. These criteria can help draw a distinction between the tonal language evident in Mehldau’s music and. four-. sixteen-. Meter [note: previously Martin’s eighth cue]. Presence of Stufen that ultimately give rise to tonal center and key. most tonal jazz music departs from displaying normative dependence of dissonant intervals on consonant intervals prolonged through higher structural levels (Martin’s second-most important tonal criterion in figure 1. whereas Mehldau’s music follows all of them. as a result of emphasizing chordal arpeggiations within extended tertian . eight-. Many examples of tonal jazz music that seem amenable to Schenkerian analysis follow Martin’s criteria 1. Melodic writing is frequently disjunct. 8. Figure 1.2).2. phrase and section groupings that often project two-. Martin’s criteria for tonality as typified by tonal jazz Harmonic rhythm arising from functional harmonic succession. Phrase and section grouping that project two-. since jazz is not based on triadic harmony. or thirty-two-bar symmetries. eight-. The third criterion is also atypical of much tonal jazz music.1).24 Returning to Martin’s tonal cues. I would contend that jazz music follows only a selected part of his list. twelve-. On the other hand. The remaining criteria repeated in figure 1. four-. the music of Bill Evans (see chapter 6). one may be comfortable with the characterization that most tonal jazz has meter. Principal pitch-class collections usually reducible to major or minor scales. 4. If one were to measure the degree of tonality in jazz music. and from that. say.3 do not seem to be followed consistently in modern tonal jazz music. and 9 (extracted into figure 1. nor can that harmony be revealed when boiled down to two-part writing.
The basic harmonic structure is a major or minor triad. or by major or minor thirds. Diatonic scales. Pieces modulate through a succession of keys. Figure 1. 3. full. Another useful set of tonal criteria is provided by Joseph Straus.31 dissonant intervals are independent from consonant ones. This observation is supported by James McGowan’s study on what defines “consonance” in tonal jazz music. no. “‘Consonance’ in Tonal Jazz: A Critical Survey of Its Semantic History. 1 (2008): 69-102. and/or deceptive cadences. Pieces end in the key in which they begin. tonal jazz music emphasizes extended tertian chords. he adapts the idea of consonance as being a triad with the addition of a fourth member. 15 supra). Norms of melodic writing in which conjunct intervals predominate at deeper levels. . which is atypical in modern jazz practice). and traditionally full cadences imply a resolution to a tonic triad. a major seventh.3. is defined by six characteristics: 1. an added sixth. Martin’s criteria for tonality exempted from modern jazz Normative dependence of dissonant melodic intervals on consonant intervals prolonged at a higher structural level Functional harmonic succession based on triads. 31. His definition (with minimal revision) will serve as the basis for my approach to Mehldau’s music.25 harmonies. with the keynotes often related by perfect fifth. James McGowan. and cadences are variable in the jazz idiom (many II–V–I progressions are not in the home key. Key relations.” Jazz Perspectives 2. 2. Triad. Seventh chords play a secondary role. Straus writes: Traditional common-practice tonality. Half. or a minor seventh (see also n. 4. including the historical context into which I believe Mehldau places his music. The principal scales are the major and minor scales. Key. the musical language of Western classical music from roughly the time of Bach to roughly the time of Brahms. A particular note is defined as the tonic (as in ‘the key of Cƒ’ or ‘the key of A’) with the remaining notes defined in relation to it.
This effectively establishes the key of C major with a common blues idiom. something rooted more in the classical style emerges: a chromatic descending bass (example 1. Straus. . Returning to 29 Palms (example 1. but by the final cadence (m. however. NJ: Prentice-Hall. After the vamp.5). 32. including the avoidance of parallel perfect consonances and the resolution of intervals defined as dissonant to those defined as consonant. 130. Many interesting moments throughout the history of tonal music occur when these principles are not followed. Nonetheless. Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory.26 5.5). the piece appears to begin in the key of C major. but illustrated in example 1. The voice leading follows certain traditional norms. dominant (leading to tonic). In fact. the music itself is open to unexpected possibilities.32 Of course. Functional harmony. such as an off-tonic opening. Joseph N. As clearly as tonal principles operate in Mehldau’s music. 16) the music has modulated to B major. 3rd ed. The chromatic descent of the first four bars makes the arrival at B major all the more unexpected. it is not clear whether 29 Palms begins off-tonic and corrects its course by the arrival of tonic in m. (Upper Saddle River. or if the piece begins in C major and gradually modulates to the distant key area of B major. 4.4). Mehldau adds an anacrusis G in the bass (not shown in the score. or predominant (leading to dominant). not all tonal music from the time of Bach to Brahms always follows these principles to the letter. 6. Harmonies generally have the function of a tonic (arrival point). 2005). they represent norms from which departures may be clearly marked as such. During an introductory vamp. Voice leading.
mm. 29 Palms. with f form annotat tions fine D. m 1–28 (A A and B sect tions).27 Example E 1.4. 29 Palms.C. mm.5. al l fine Example E 1. har rmonic reali ization and a analysis . m 1–4.
while abrupt. mixture brings a sense of flat keys into the foreground. Note that Mehldau himself seems unsure of the enharmonic solution. despite Mehldau’s own indicated chord symbol of B7).6). 2–3. and possibly conclude the phrase with a cadence to C minor. is the chord a secondary dominant of B (VII) or C flat (ßI) major? If analyzed in B flat major. which can be interpreted in B-flat major. though. this resolution would be identified as a normative suspension. if a jazz composer were given the first three bars of 29 Palms and were asked to finish the phrase. the listener might justifiably be confused as to the concluding harmony in B major. For instance. while incorporating typical jazz harmony (example 1. 2. Nor would a jazz composer have likely employed this type of tonal shift to B. is the chord a secondary dominant of C flat (ßII) or B (ƒI) major? The shift. we hear C major in m. First. C flat and B major. based on norms of jazz voice-leading. 1. the bass descends one more semitone. 3. in the progression Gß7 to B7. .28 Without absolute pitch. as he indicates chord symbols from both keys. 4) before resolving to C flat notated as B major (often resolved as a triad. Had the E flat–D sharp resolved down by step to C sharp. Following the IV6 in m. which poses a problem of enharmonic interpretation: If heard in C major. the adept composer would recognize the move to the flat side in mm. In m. retains a common tone in the melody: E flat becomes the thirteenth of the Gß7 harmony (m.
29 Example 1. .) The music thus avoids parallel motion between bass and melody by featuring ^5 prominently in the top voice. though the final chord is a triad (which. 15 (see example 1. stands apart from typical jazz resolutions. The phrase ending signified by the melodic repose of m. This continuation propels the harmonic progression forward. I illustrated how this piece features contrapuntal treatment of pitch materials.7). particularly in the final cadence of m. 16 (example 1. 29 Palms.4). often permitting added sixths. Considering that the identity of the piece is defined by a stepwise descending bass. This cadence differs from a typical cadence of the tonal era in that there is no root position dominant to root position tonic. sevenths. 4 and tonicizes C minor by m.2). 3–4. 4 competes with the bass line’s descending momentum. 6 (refer to example 1. again. and departs for the present to B major.6. hypothetical phrase ending in C minor Mehldau is aware of the mixture toward C minor. and replaces the melody’s normative stepwise descent. Because of the stepwise descent in the bass. as he continues through the B major arrival at m. it becomes clear that an unfolding of the root position dominant explains this particular use of the second inversion dominant in m. or other extensions). When I first referred to 29 Palms. mm. on the surface the Urlinie is transferred to the bass. (This register transfer becomes normalized in the middleground level.
29 Palms.7. . voice-leading analysis BÁ/G b 13 E b-/G b ^3 3 A b-/G b B b‡/F E b-• G b‡/Db ^2 3 Gø/B ^1 BÁ #œ 5 ## ˙ œ œ ( #)# ˙ œ #œ #˙. % œ Œ ( # ˙) # œ # ˙œ # ˙œ. 13–16. $ #˙ œ œ #œ #˙ ##˙ œ œ ^2 ˙. ##œ œ ˙ ˙ from: ?4 5 #˙ #œ œ # ˙ ^3 #˙ ˙ ^1 B: V@~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~£‡ I Having sampled Mehldau’s music. From those approaches I will then establish the analytical methodology for the remainder of this study. and posed a few of the problems of tonality in jazz music. #‹œ œ ##œ œ # œ # œ n # # œœ œ #˙ $ ¢‡ #˙.30 Example 1. in the following chapter I will investigate further some historically important approaches to tonal jazz. @ ˙ £6 œ #˙. mm. &4 # œ ?5 4 #˙.
The way the first group of writers prescribe the use of the jazz language fundamentally differs from the way the second group of scholars have analyzed jazz through Schenkerian analytical techniques: Steven Strunk. and Steve Larson. Russell and Baker represent notable composers who witnessed first-hand the emergence of bop. These writers have demonstrated at length ideas that I consider fundamental to the jazz language: scales are intimately related to chords on the surface of the music.Chapter 2: Literature Review and Methodology Part 1. Henry Martin. and Mark Levine. 31 . this is particularly an issue in bop and post-bop music which lack the tonal goal-orientation and traditional consonance/dissonance conditions that would enable one to engage this music through linear analysis. David Baker. and he is generally a more accessible writer on the subject. and chord types can be substituted with an extremely broad array of other chords and chord types. Literature Review: Theoretical Contexts of Jazz Music Introduction The following literature review is organized to show how two groups of writers have fundamentally differing approaches to jazz theory. The first group includes writers such as George Russell. I re-examine some of the methodological problems encountered in the use of Schenkerian analysis. I use the first group’s description of key aspects of the jazz tonal language to reveal some of the flaws inherent in applying Schenkerian analysis in certain situations. used by many jazz practitioners today. Levine’s work is practical.
the evolving conceptions of harmonic and melodic interaction in jazz fundamentally differ from tonal systems of preceding centuries. Conceptual Bases of Tonal Jazz Theory (Russell. such as suspensions. a composition of Russell’s that exploits the octatonic collection..32 I. Russell was attempting to demonstrate a unique theory of tonality. 4th ed. 2001. The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization. the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra’s famous performance of Cubano-Be/CubanoBop (1947). particularly in its applications to jazz composition and pedagogy. presumably because the linear collections of scales is easier to understand in a spontaneous (i. 2. it is easiest to relate them to scales. all while introducing a decidedly Latin-American sound to the current jazz style.1 Note that the title to his influential work omits any direct reference to jazz or bebop. George Russell. Brookline.2 In this work. See. 1.. Levine) a. improvisational) situation compared to the more difficult arrangements of stacked thirds. a style in which he had established notoriety as a composer. Co. This theory was influential in the following decades.e. The relationship of chord and scale has led to a generalized system that puts chords in terms of scales. Massachusetts: Concept Pub. for example. His book ultimately spreads a simple but effective principle: when confronted by complex harmonies encountered in chord changes. . Baker. Russell’s use of linear arrangements of pitches to demonstrate fluid motion among harmonies fundamentally differ from a tonal system built on systems of dominant/tonic poles and other specific contrapuntal voice-leading relationships. Scale versus chord Even though modern tonal jazz music shares many similarities with traditional tonal music. George Russell’s The Lydian-Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization (1959) begins a tradition that marks a symbiotic relationship between scale and chord.
5 What perhaps sets Levine’s theory book apart from other jazz pedagogical manuals is his systematic enumeration of scales and scale types. rev. 31-102. because it elevates metric and rhythmic importance in his description of pitch collections (see figure 1. 31.33 This principle becomes systematically organized in Mark Levine’s The Jazz Theory Book. CA: Sher Music. and so on. “jazz musicians began to think horizontally (in terms of scales) as much as they did vertically (in terms of chords). Arranging and Composing. 67-76.”4 He goes on to say.The reason jazz musicians think of scales. Mark Levine. Ibid. 6. and meter into his discussion of scales.. 4. it’s not easy to think of every other letter of the alphabet. on the other hand. We’re less likely to think of [pitches in general] as a series of 3rds. when they improvise. 31-32. Baker goes beyond Russell and Levine by attempting to incorporate aspects of motion. 5. Ibid.3 At the beginning of chapter 3. Baker.6 The bebop scale is an eight-note scale that includes a strategic chromatic insertion into a diatonic scale (the underlying harmony determines where the chromatic insertion 3.” Levine posits that in the 1950s and 1960s. CA: Alfred Publishing. “Chord/Scale Theory. In particular Baker’s codification of the term “bebop scale” represents an important milestone in scale/chord theory history. See David N. 1995). is because it’s easier than thinking in terms of chords [original emphasis]. (Van Nuys.4). or modes. as in D–F–A–C–E–G–B…. ed. . which at times comes dangerously close to undermining his message of simplicity. Because we learned the alphabet as A–B–C–D–E–F–G. provide nuanced historical precedents to support his assertions of certain scales and terminology. rhythm.. The Jazz Theory Book (Petaluma. The writings of David Baker. 1988).
Scott Burnham (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Baker. trans. Baker explains that artists’ use of chromaticism is arbitrary and awkward. A historian of music theory will undoubtedly note Baker’s recreating the wheel of melodic consonance paired with metrical consonance.1.B. Marx. praktischtheoretisch.34 occurs). This chromatic passing tone serves to adjust the seven-note scale so that it has chord tones placed on strong beats. and that Charlie Parker’s solos apparently solved this use of chromaticism through the logic that Baker defined in the bebop scale. 9. Die Lehre von der musikalischen Komposition. Marx’s discussion on the “rhythmicization of the tone succession. Figure 2. .9 7.” See A. such as in A. Musical Form in the Age of Beethoven: Selected Writings on Theory and Method. Arranging and Composing.8 In the predecessors to bebop. (2) scales based on seven-note collections were incongruent with standard time-keeping in jazz. David Baker’s illustration of the bebop scale (with annotations) (chromatic insertion) (goal) chord tones on beats Baker describes the evolution of the bebop scale in three stages: (1) bebop performers strove to incorporate chromaticism as a sign of complexity while seeking to retain tonal coherence. Furthermore. the bebop scale promotes “forward motion. Ibid.” an essential part of the frequently high-tempo repertory. 67. 39-44. 1997).B.7 (3) chromatic “passing tones” emerged over the years (Baker notes that this conclusion is based on his analysis of more than 500 solos from Louis Armstrong through Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins.B. among others). thus necessitating a “smoothing out” of linear melodic content. Marx. 8. which can be found in A. and ed.
and third on each beat (1. It is important to recognize the seventh here is considered a chord tone. Unlike the common practice. and 4. The simplest form of substitution would be simply to re-spell a chord that accounts for the same pitch content. a remnant of the common practice’s acceptance of a dissonant interval belonging to a chord. 2. respectively). 3. Baker. seventh. the chord following a dominant seventh varies. and the requirement of consonant tones on the beats within the measure (one can begin on a non-chord tone. 140. and has no required resolution. the strategic use of chromaticism in order to help propel the melodic line to the downbeat. the bebop scale emphasizes the essential chord tones of root. Arranging and Composing. 10. Essential for the proper stylistic employment of the bebop scale includes such aspects as a descending melodic direction.35 Baker is not only describing a recipe for the composer or performer of jazz.10 Baker then goes on to define two types of substitution: contextual and non-contextual. In a dominant-seventh chord change (such as F7 in figure 2. . fifth. This is illustrated by Baker when he discusses chord substitution.1). as long as it ends with a harmonic tone on a downbeat [beat 1] or other strong beat [beat 3]). Substitution Traditional voice-leading in jazz improvisation is for the most part accidental. such as in the substitution D-6 for BØ7. which Baker demonstrates in numerous examples. b. but he implies a specific process of goal-orientation within the jazz style.
He goes on to depart from parsimonious third-related chord substitutions when he suggests that a minor seventh chord can be substituted with chords “which have their roots in the same diminished chord and their accompanying resolutions.3).13 11. such as substituting G7 for D-7. .”12 Figure 2. but the list eventually breaks down by the final prescription. Ibid. The list begins systematically by illustrating chords that share common tones. Baker’s non-contextual substitution of a major chord For minor chord substitutions. Aßmi7. therefore. “For the major chord substitute any other major chord. as in the following examples: Dmi7. and Bmi7 all have their roots in the same diminished chord. Baker.2. Arranging and Composing. Ibid. Fmi7. Baker provides a list of substitutions that begin as logical possibilities.”11 Beginning with major chord substitutions. which states. such as replacing the bass while accommodating the same pitch content of a major-based harmony (figure 2.36 Beginning with non-contextual substitutions Baker states that they “…seem to work relatively independently of the musical context.2). Baker asserts that a minor seventh chord may be substituted with a dominant seventh chord that lies a perfect fourth above the root of the minor chord. 12. 13. the following substitutions for Dmi7 are possible according to the preceding rule” (see figure 2. 140.
Baker develops a chart that he calls “Coltrane” changes (originating in John Coltrane’s Giant Steps. In contextual substitutions.3.4).3. the systematic illustration culminates with the final prescription: “substitute any other minor seventh type chord. Again. As before. Baker’s non-contextual substitution of a Dmi7 chord Dominant-seventh chord substitutions are the final category of Baker’s noncontextual substitution types. Baker. considering there are 7 no common tones. Dß7. Baker goes on to state that any other dominant seventh may be substituted. 14. Building on principles illustrated in non-contextual substitutions. as well as any minor seventh chord. II–V–I) may feature individual chord substitutions that ultimately lead to the same goal: the tonic. Arranging and Composing.”14 Figure 2. Dmi substituted with Aßmi7 is quite striking. which exploits symmetrical third-relations). . A similar formula as minor chord substitutions permits any dominant seventh that shares its root with a fully diminished seventh chord of the originating chord (figure 2. Baker illustrates how a formulaic chord progression (in particular.37 In figure 2. while sharing one common tone is still striking in the substitution by a root down a semitone (note that tritone substitutes always approach their goal from a semitone above) and changing its chord type to a dominant seventh. 140.
Baker states. Baker’s example 3.5. . 142. Arranging and Composing.. “a chart illustrating a matrix which [Baker] evolved and developed based on the Coltrane changes”16 15.5.”15 Figure 2. Baker. Ibid. 16.38 Figure 2. 143.4. Baker’s non-contextual substitution of a G7 chord Of figure 2. “Any chord in any column can be substituted for any other chord in the same vertical column.
1996). The more distant the substitution. Baker. Henry Martin.39 As can be seen. one may substitute a IV-chord with a II-chord.6 and 2.” In Schenkerian terms. Or the upper-third may be substituted with a lower-third divider (VI). and Steve Larson have argued for its application. For example. including those permitted in jazz composition.17 In the Bach partita analysis. Steven Strunk. II. the chords are still considered a succession of root-based vertically-arranged pitches. Maryland: The Scarecrow Press. Illustrated in the previous examples. while the term “substitution” is shared by both jazz and classical traditions. Charlie Parker and Thematic Improvisation (Lanham. Schenkerian Applications to Tonal Jazz (Strunk. Henry Martin. Martin. The next section demonstrates how a group of scholars have attempted to explain these “extratonal” substitutions while remaining faithful to Schenkerian theory.7. In traditional tonal music.15-20. Voice Extraction and the Case for Linearity The theoretical and compositional manuals provided by Russell. the tonic may be prolonged by an upper-third divider (III). Henry Martin demonstrates similarities in voice-leading between passages of a Bach partita and a Charlie Parker solo from “Shaw Nuff” (figures 2. Larson) a. . which is quite different from substituting a IVchord with “any other major chord. the more difficult it becomes to demonstrate tonal coherence. with no broader connection. In spite of the problem this poses for long-range tonal hearing and the Schenkerian concept of prolongation. it imparts different meanings. and Levine provide evidence of this underlying assumption: even with a goal-directed approach to improvisation. respectively). Martin extracts four voices from a single melodic line (based 17. jazz chord substitution has a considerably wider application.
however. 18 Figure 2. the Parker solo presents more of a challenge. Henry Martin’s examples 2-5 and 2-6 (opening measures to a Bach partita) By extracting several voices from a single melodic line. Some of these voices are in the same register. Charlie Parker and Thematic Improvisation. the Bach passage is now “animated vividly by hearing the de facto syncopation of the voice leading” (figure 2.6. Martin demonstrates a built-in rhythmic complexity (which he calls “syncopation”) when focusing on one voice over another. That G4 and F4 represent 18. He then compares this rhythmic complexity as a result of voice extraction to an improvised melody by Parker. In so doing.40 on registral connections). 16. Martin. one will note that Martin again extracts four voices.6). . While the melodic line of the Bach partita readily suggests multiple voices (out of the French baroque stile brisé tradition). In figure 2.7.
Martin’s examples 2-7 and 2-8 (Charlie Parker’s solo from Shaw ‘Nuff)20 19. Figure 2. 2 of the example. while G represents a thirteenth extension to this dominant seventh harmony. upper voice.7. Martin thus elevates its status to a separate. second system). which is absent in m.” 20.19 Nevertheless. B flat.41 two voices is a difficult assertion (circled on figure 2. . Martin. 16. however. the G is of registral importance. Charlie Parker and Thematic Improvisation. A jazz musician would not infer E flat from Parker’s solo during the span of Bß7. Mark Levine would call the E flat.7. The voice-leading suggests a @ double-neighbor over the root. though it is not consonant (in the traditional sense) with the present B flat harmony. an “avoid note. The voiceleading that accompanies this voice extraction suggests that G4 is harmonically supported by an inner-voice E flat. the fourth of the Bß7 harmony.
while the latter suggests that the soloist has departed completely from a given theme or melody and is improvising on nothing but a chord structure” (emphasis added). albeit through traditional means. Musings: The Musical Worlds of Gunther Schuller (New York: Oxford University Press. 86. Martin’s larger goal is to demonstrate “thematic improvisation.” a term coined by Gunther Schuller. “what we all at times loosely call ‘variation’ is in the strictest sense no variation at all. 1986). occurring on the last half of the last beat of the measure.23 He focuses much of his attention on chorus improvisation (which he likens to the rhetorical strategy of 21. a traditional voice-leading analysis would treat G4 as an appoggiatura that resolves by step to F4. Ibid. The G4’s non-chord tone status. Gunther Schuller. and its treatment as such. 86-97. Ibid. The consonance of F4 is fleeting.. since it does not proceed from the basis of varying a given thematic material but simply reflects a player’s ruminations on an unvarying chord progression” (original emphasis). Schuller provides an evocative interpretation of an improvised solo by tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins in his 1958 article. “Sonny Rollins and the Challenge of Thematic Improvisation. 22. repr. 87..22 The term “variation” is used commonly in the jazz vernacular and Schuller is careful to note. “The former consists mostly of an embellishment or ornamentation technique. .” The Jazz Times (1958). makes a strong case for the kind of rhythmic complexity Martin seeks to expose in Parker’s music. a chord tone of the B flat harmony. however.”21 Schuller first distinguishes between two types of improvisation: paraphrase and chorus improvisation. 23. He writes. “Sonny Rollins and the Challenge of Thematic Improvisation.42 Without separating Parker’s solo into several voices.
“Charlie Parker: Techniques of Improvisation. Martin. Martin codifies several ways to elaborate on a theme. 35-36. a theme usually being a much larger unit than a motive). Owens catalogs melodic formulae in Parker’s improvisations.” Ph. couching these within a modified Schenkerian system of analysis.43 inventio) to show how one can introduce thematic elements in a work that is guided only by harmonic structure. but when one examines them through a prolongational approach.25 24. a standard by which he judges the success of Rollins’s improvisation. Martin asserts that there are latent thematic references in the improvisations of Parker. The challenge is for the artist to create something thematic on which to develop throughout the improvised solo (in the example Schuller gives. The analysis is clearly motivic. but it is worth noting Schuller’s emphasis on demonstrating coherence in an improvisation. Charlie Parker and Thematic Improvisation. diss. Los Angeles. which leaves one questioning the difference between motivic and thematic improvisation. . argues Martin. (University of California. It should be noted that Martin’s theory of thematic improvisation seems to be a response to Thomas Owens. subtly undercutting the notion of ingenuity required in truly spontaneous improvisation. 1974).D. Schuller criticizes most solos in general for lacking a general unifying organization. He reveals that Parker had a melodic vocabulary to utilize like a grab bag of ideas. Martin’s Charlie Parker and Thematic Improvisation builds on some of these earlier issues Schuller identified in Rollins’s solo. Sonny Rollins exhausts a motive built on three notes. one can trace thematic parallelisms between the improvisations and the melody of the tune.24 While Schuller’s approach was purely motivic. but Martin seeks to revitalize Parker’s improvisational ingenuity by employing structural analysis. These concealed parallelisms may be unconscious to the performer and are not necessarily a question of intent. 25.
I build analytical claims from Mehldau’s own assertions of his approach to music. NY: Pendragon Press. See Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz with guest Bill Evans. Baker. does this analytical method apply only to the music of Bill Evans? Larson’s answer is tentative in that he concedes Evans was particularly intellectual (neurotically so) when it came to his musical practice. Stewart. For one. goal-orientation and closure. though.28 The interview reveals Evans’s approach to long-range tonal structure in the course of an improvisation.” Jazzforschung 6. See. and then delve into some of the philosophical underpinnings of Schenkerian theory. 7 (1974-75): 141-273. I will survey those scholars who apply Schenkerian analysis to jazz. Steve Larson. The Jazz Alliance TJA-12004 (CD). Steve Larson has proposed extensive applications of Schenkerian analysis to tonal jazz music. There are predecessors to Martin’s application of Schenkerian theory to jazz. Harmonologia: Studies in Music Theory. no. 1978. Some questions still remain at the end of his study. Larson’s argument is built from Evans’s own description of musical events as they interact with harmonic structure.27 Larson’s justification is derived from an interview of Bill Evans with Marian McPartland. In the following. and Levine. “Structural Development in the Jazz Improvisational Technique of Clifford Brown. no. Milton L. Analyzing Jazz: A Schenkerian Approach. 15 (Hillsdale. 27. 4-32. as Larson did with Evans. for instance. invoking my own voice-leading 26. . 2009).26 There is a friction in its theoretical application with the tenets of jazz theory established by jazz practitioners such as Russell. 28. Larson interprets Evans’s frequent use of the word “structure” as evidence of a Schenkerian application of structural levels to the music and treats linear aspects of melody and harmony within a larger harmonic framework made explicit by Evans in the interview. in particular.44 With Martin’s study comes a shift to an explicit application of Schenkerian theoretical tenets to jazz music. In the present study.
Steven Larson. [and thus] it is reasonable that we adopt a modified Schenkerian approach. “They may not be explicitly resolved in their own register. However. Steven E.” Musical Quarterly 70.45 analyses to reveal complex structures similar to those found in nineteenth-century tonal music. Gilbert. Larson summarizes their account of dissonant ninths. Modifications to Schenkerian Theory The music that Larson studies is not entirely similar to the tonal analysis I propose to use for Mehldau’s music. which will now be explored in more detail. They may ‘resolve’ to notes that are [also] dissonant. 9. refers to similar modifications to Schenkerian analysis in its application to tonal jazz standards: …Gershwin wrote basically tonal music. Gilbert. 5. elevenths. and thus modifications to Schenkerian analysis seem inevitable. Citing the work of Edward Aldwell and Carl Schachter. 30. 29. The triad was still necessary for closure. noted Gershwin scholar. . The main point of difference is that in Gershwin's harmonic language the dissonance had at least been partially—to use Schoenberg’s word—emancipated. the word “modified” must be stressed. Steven E. Larson admits that lines are blurred between the poles of dominant and tonic in modern and post-modern jazz. since. no. b.29 Larson seeks to explain phenomena of ninths. as having implicit resolutions. 4 (1984): 423. They may appear simultaneously with the tone to which they will resolve. elevenths. This is important in Schenkerian theory.”30 Larson also cites Aldwell and Schachter’s explanation that extended tertian chords are best put into contrapuntal terms within an octave. but dissonances such as ninths and socalled thirteenths did not require resolution. and thirteenths as linear entities within a Schenkerian framework. “Gershwin’s Art of Counterpoint. and thirteenths. Another question pertaining to Larson’s study concerns the need for modification to traditional Schenkerian theory. Analyzing Jazz: A Schenkerian Approach. Larson sympathetically cites this passage in Analyzing Jazz. as Larson states.
the Ravel excerpt. for instance.46 demonstrating that elevenths and thirteenths are actually fourths and sixths.’ and ‘13ths’ result from adding 3rds above the seventh chords. 32. They place this example into an “intermediate category. vol. In example 27–18 [i. Analyzing Jazz: A Schenkerian Approach. after quoting from Aldwell and Schachter. extended tertian harmony. 132.31 These fourths and sixths.. 33.32 This last statement must be placed in context. dissonant chords might really result from the piling up of 3rds [emphasis added]. 132. Larson. 5. that ‘9ths. Aldwell and Schachter. they offer an explanation that invokes Schenkerian principles of voice leading and structure” (emphasis added). “As an example of dissonant chords that really do result from the piling up of thirds. 133.’ These terms also result from the erroneous idea that such dissonances are chordal in origin.e. Harmony and Voice Leading. Aldwell and Schachter cite a passage from Ravel…. hence. 1979). 34. first.’ ‘11ths. In some twentiethcentury music.33 Aldwell and Schachter use the Ravel passage to show the exceptional case of the stacking of thirds. Analyzing Jazz: A Schenkerian Approach. Larson. states. that Aldwell and Schachter’s harmony text addresses music of the tonal era (essentially 1700 to 1900). 2 (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Harmony and Voice Leading. a II7 chord is sustained while first a 9th and then an 11th are added to it. Larson. eventually all six tones sound at once.”34 31. Even for this passage. some theorists refer to such 4ths and 6ths as ‘11ths’ and ‘13ths.1]. Ibid. Second. in turn. have appropriate resolutions to thirds and fifths (and not tenths and twelfths). It is important to consider. The full text by Aldwell and Schachter reads: Partly because these tones typically appear in the highest voice. See Edward Aldwell and Carl Schachter.. 5-6. they are explicit in distinguishing situations that involve melodic (by which they mean contrapuntal) content from situations involving actual stacked thirds. respectively. reproduced below as example 2. .
Aldwell and Schachter’s example 27-1835 They continue with a provocative speculation that Larson uses to support his primary argument: that the extended tertian chords in jazz have origins in simpler melodic motions.36 After illustrating a Bruckner symphony excerpt that also appears to implement stacked thirds as chordal entities. Schenkerian—principles of voice-leading. 133. Aldwell and Schachter.47 Example 2. Harmony and Voice Leading. 3rds and 5ths belonging to seventh chords. 37. Ibid. Ibid. 36.”37 They never actually attempt to explain either the Ravel or Bruckner examples as being controlled by contrapuntal—and implicitly. There is no reason.1. Aldwell and Schachter state: But in earlier music. not in the piling up of vertical intervals. rather than resolve to. they add a caveat to this hypothesis: “In some ways— the manner in which the dissonances enter and their lack of clear contrapuntal function [emphasis added]—the passage seems closer to the Ravel than to the [more normative examples from] Chopin and Schumann of excerpts quoted earlier. to regard “11ths” and “13ths” as anything but 4ths and 6ths that replace. therefore. dissonant chords originate in melodic motion. 35. .
39 These patterns are more recently refined by Larson. departing from two exceptional examples presented by Aldwell and Schachter. 1982). The LIP of example 2. Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis (New York: W. See Strunk. to illustrate systematically how one can derive thirteenths and elevenths from fifths and thirds. Larson builds on the concept of linear intervallic patterns. can the analyst reduce a 9–13 LIP to an 8–5. in order to show its contrapuntal “origin”? Evolving the typical 8–5 LIP into a 9–13 is quite different from demonstrating essentially a two-voice contrapuntal framework. In Strunk’s examples. W. 38. Norton. Nevertheless.” and Allen Forte and Steven E. .38 c. and cannot be rendered into a two-voice contrapuntal species model.” Annual Review of Jazz Studies 8 (1996): 63-116. Gilbert.. who ascribe them to an intermediate category. demonstrates how linear intervallic patterns (LIPs) can occur in jazz music. 83-100. which was first applied to jazz music by Steven Strunk. 9–9. borrowing from the work of Allen Forte and Steven Gilbert. 39.g. 13–9. Extending LIPs to include ninths. “Linear Intervallic Patterns in Jazz Repertory. Linear intervallic patterns in jazz music rely on chords. Steven Strunk.48 To summarize. “Linear Intervallic Patterns in Jazz Repertory. in order to support a prolongational environment that construes jazz harmony as having origins in traditional counterpoint.1. In example 2. he demonstrates LIPs with extended tertian harmonic chains (e. Larson makes his case for jazz harmony as essentially contrapuntal. among others). Linear Intervallic Patterns Strunk. Larson illustrates the linear intervallic pattern 9–13 as having origins in the 8–5 linear intervallic pattern.2 leaves the analyst with an interpretive decision: depending on the musical context.
This is important for Schenkerian theory. Larson effectively demonstrates that there cannot be a two-voice model to support compound intervals in a jazz LIP.2.2. and thirteenths is certainly appropriate for traditional jazz harmony.49 elevenths. In example 2. When the Baroque melodic figuration is retained. as in the Ravel waltz (example 2. for comparison with Larson’s illustration of example 2. harmony is projected from the overtone series.3. and sixths.1). The establishment of motion in music is dependent on the craft of the composer who can create a fundamentally sound two-part contrapuntal relationship that unites the vertical (tonic triad) with the horizontal (the fundamental line). I pose a similar theoretical rendering of a 10–5 LIP that is expanded into a 9–13 chain. Forte and Gilbert coined the concept to identify important contrapuntal patterns within a Schenkerian analytical context. since a first species model of counterpoint is the basis for the Ursatz. . these compound intervals require support by simple intervals. not by stacking thirds. as Larson demonstrates in example 2. Though LIPs are not Schenker’s terminology. Distinguished from seconds. To Schenker. the counterpoint between melody and bass become distorted to the point of sounding more like Hindemith than Bach. In jazz music. Strunk and Larson seem to argue that extended tertian harmonies are generated from stacking thirds of a chord. Larson argues for its application by creatively misreading a demonstration by Aldwell and Schachter. where sevenths and thirds are always present in the middle staff of each level. fourths. in which they show an anti-tonal example where harmony is generated by stacking thirds.
2.50 Example 2. 8.4. “A Chain of ‘Ninths’ and ‘Thirteenths’”40 40. Analyzing Jazz: A Schenkerian Approach. Larson. Larson’s example 2. .
See example 2. (Austin: Peer Publications. 13ths (or 6ths) to 12ths (or 5ths). 72-73. For instance.41 Rendering a 9–13 LIP into a two-voice representation is not necessary in his music. Theory of Suspensions: A Study of Material and Pitch Relations in Tonal Music.4.51 Example 2. 1979). For a thorough definition of the suspension and its musical effects. A 9–13 LIP rendered into a two-part keyboard figuration I will argue throughout the study that extended tertian harmony in Mehldau’s music frequently can be understood as suspensions in the traditional sense of their contrapuntal origins. in the B section of Mehldau’s Convalescent (see chapter 5 for a 41. as in the means by which Aldwell and Schachter explain them in the music of the common practice.3. . Komar. since 9ths resolve to octaves. and chapter 3 for numerous examples. see Arthur J. 2nd print.
as Agawu has argued. the phenomenon would already be sufficiently defined by Forte and Gilbert. is perhaps how Strunk and Larson distinguishes between linear intervallic patterns in jazz music versus common practice music.2). and Baker. There is no distinct goal-orientation in this type of voice-leading.42 To build on a Schenkerian analytical construct would seem. On the one hand. Scholars who have applied Schenkerian concepts to jazz have had to redefine essential parts of the theory. suspensions. See V. Martin encounters difficulties explaining jazz idioms such as extended tertian harmonies within a Schenkerian context. I am convinced that Mehldau’s music operates within a reconstructed tonal space precisely because the music demands no modifications to Schenkerian theory (see chapter 1. no. Mehldau composes a 5–10 LIP in the midst of a circle of fifths sequence (see chapter 5.43 Counterpoint at times seems incidental. Like Larson and Strunk. 43. Levine. “Mehldau’s ‘Reconstructed Tonal Principles. 42. for instance. which.” Journal of Music Theory 31.” Music Theory Spectrum 9 (1987): 1-17.” below). “Analysis of small-scale voice leading in bop thus proceeds along lines established in tonal theory: nonchord tones. otherwise. goal-orientation fundamentally underlies Schenkerian analysis (see “Beginning–Middle–End Paradigms. 3ff). example 5.52 complete analysis). Martin states. Also see Joseph N. to dismiss in large part the scale/chord symbiosis that has been demonstrated at great lengths in the works of Russell. then. neighbors…. “Concepts of Closure and Chopin’s Op. 28. Straus. It is perhaps for these reasons that scholars who apply Schenkerian analysis to jazz music do so with some trepidation. The dependency of inner voices with jazz LIPs. Kofi Agawu. 1 (1987): 1-21. . such as passing tones. rather than essential.’” p. “The Problem of Prolongation in Post-Tonal Music.
Beginning–Middle–End Paradigms: Closure in Jazz Music Jazz works tend not to end with tonic triads.53 anticipations and appoggiaturas function similarly.46 d. 47. . to the jazz dialect.47 44. Jazz music’s tonal closure is brought to bear only by the final chord’s root. Martin calls these “Common Bop Background Forms. no.. or thirteenths. While extended tertian harmonies are the norms of the jazz vocabulary for the middle of a work. 29. Ibid. Music of the common practice ends most of the time on a tonic triad to mark a work’s closure. V13. 14. accommodating a V13 for the middle harmony. 45. is not a triad. see the analysis of Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmastime is Here” (1965) in chapter 1. For an example of typical jazz closure.” Jazz Perspectives 2. part 2. (2) the middle harmony. such as Schenkerian theory. 16ff. James McGowan.” in order to fight the urges to adjust a system of tonality.”44 Yet he undercuts this assertion by later proposing that the fundamental structure be altered to depict a final “descent” of ^3– ^3–^1. A traditional Schenkerian approach rejects this alteration since (1) the melody lacks fluidity by leaping from ^3 to ^1 and lacks the important consonant passing tone. it is particularly within the norms of the style to end a work with chords that include ninths. elevenths.45 The fundamental structure is dependent on the non-chord tones identified by Martin. and (3) there is no distinction between dissonance and consonance. Charlie Parker and Thematic Improvisation. pp. Martin.” 46. “‘Consonance’ in Tonal Jazz: A Critical Survey of Its Semantic History. 1 (2008): 71. More recently James McGowan has suggested that “scholarly discourse about tonal jazz needs a new conception of consonance and dissonance.
This study frames aspects of closure within the broader Western aesthetic theory of beginning–middle–end paradigms. “Concepts of Closure in Tonal Music: A Critical Study. unusual for the jazz style. Not only are harmonic compositional traits retained from classical tradition.50 Anson-Cartwright stops short of proposing a theory of closure. Mark Anson-Cartwright. Mark Anson-Cartwright makes clear within existing scholarship the historical distinctions between tonal closure and chronological closure and their interaction. 16.54 Mehldau.” and Playing with Signs: A Semiotic Interpretation of Classic Music (Princeton. frequently ends his compositions with tonic triads. “Concepts of Closure and Chopin’s Op.49 More recently. n. but refraining from the jazz practice of employing dissonant harmony at the end of his compositions is a signal of closure that aligns Mehldau’s music with the commonpractice. 28. NJ: Princeton University Press. though he acknowledges Agawu’s rhetoric-oriented theory of closure in the music of Chopin as the most fullyworked out.” Theory and Practice 32 (2007): 1-18. particularly as it interacts with Schenkerian structure. 1991). This approach will set the stage for interpretive features encountered in Mehldau’s music. on the contrary. 50. See Agawu. 48. See chapter 1. 49.48 This is a natural common-practice strategy employed in his music and is significant evidence for his reconstructing a tonal language within the jazz tradition. . which has been rigorously applied to tonal music by Kofi Agawu.
9. In particular. For instance. but the voice-leading analysis reveals consecutive first inversion triads moving in parallel motion. in chapter 3 I uncover a chain of 9–8 suspensions in Mehldau’s composition.4 indicate roots of E flat and D flat.4. Methodology. all in support of the local key of B flat minor. bassist Larry Grenadier appears to contradict the voice-leading structure in Unrequited (chapter 4). This is especially important for the decisions made by soloists other than Mehldau. Reconciling the melodic lines as represented by chord symbols versus the harmonic structure become an important topic in chapter 4. The analyses in the following chapters will sometimes treat chord symbols differently from their contrapuntal function. While the chord symbols do not deter the voice-leading analysis. The first two chord symbols of example 2. Reconciling Chord Symbols and Voice-Leading I examined some of the problems of using standard jazz chord symbols with voice-leading analysis in Part 1 of this chapter. they will become important for interpreting improvisational decisions during solo sections. the roots indicated by chord symbols will sometimes be incongruent with the root of the harmony as demonstrated through voice-leading analysis. Example 3. For instance. . Sehnsucht. but these decisions are in agreement with the chord symbols indicated in the score. illustrates how the chord symbols mask the parallel motion that is broken up through the use of the 9–8 suspension. reproduced here as example 2.55 Part 2.
the methodology I find best suited to Mehldau’s works in this study is Schenkerian analysis. mm. Mehldau frequently uses the same colorful harmonies that have given jazz music its identity. which Larson used .56 Example 2. when another register supersedes the obligatory register. The music demonstrates clear contrapuntal origins. A chain of 9–8 Suspensions in Sehnsucht. I use implied tones in a Schenkerian way. To be sure. and develops motivic material within concerted group collaboration: all work together in order to convey a reconstruction of tonal principles within a jazz medium. as in the way Aldwell and Schachter speculated in order to understand a passage from the music of Ravel. The analyses do not replace pitches that belong to an extended tertian harmony. say. such as those found in linear progressions.4. 25–28 Schenkerian Analysis Mehldau’s music satisfies the tonal criterion of exhibiting a specific tonal goaldirection. Therefore. such as.
compression. they are treated as compositional challenges of a linear nature: problems that reveal tensions of tones in conflict with an underlying bass line progression. “A Theory of Temporal Plasticity in Tonal Music: An Extension of the Schenkerian Approach to Rhythm with Special Reference to Beethoven’s Late Music.” Ph.52 The reduction of basic melodic/harmonic materials to a species counterpoint model is used to illustrate aspects of plasticity. For more on outer-voice conflicts in Brahms. “Outer-Voice Conflicts: Their Analytical Challenges and Artistic Consequences. Plasticity Analysis The complexity of harmonic rhythm within a Schenkerian framework and the manipulation of contrapuntal structures makes Mehldau’s music apt for the application of techniques codified in Frank Samarotto’s theory of temporal plasticity.D. Smith. Transcription Transcriptions of improvised solos as well as available published scores will be utilized for analysis. see Peter H. frequently citing the inability to render with precision bended tones. Where tonal conflicts are presented in the music. 52. This will be a prevalent form of analysis in chapter 3. Scholars have lamented the inadequacy of transcription into standard music notation. as well as to capture the overall timbral conditions exhibited in a jazz 51. no. where I examine Unrequited. such as skewed tonal durations.51 I sense a genuine effort in the music to establish tonal puzzles within a tonal construct. Frank Samarotto. inflections.57 to justify certain linear relationships in jazz music.” Journal of Music Theory 44. and elongation of tonal events. The music analyzed in this study does not demand such a modification. (The City University of New York. These kinds of problems are the sort one would expect to find in the music of Schumann or Brahms. . 1999). 1 (2000): 1-43. diss.
see Milton L. I consulted this source for transcriptions of Sehnsucht and Unrequited (chapters 3 and 4. 2002. New York: Routledge. incorrect enharmonically equivalent pitches).e. part 1). conventions of jazz chord symbols within a transcription can conceal the linear aspects found within Mehldau’s music (as seen in the analysis of 29 Palms. see Robert Hodson.. and even when transcriptions of famous performances are catalogued. Improvisation.54 The transcriptions suffer from incorrect lead sheet chord analysis and arbitrarily assigned pitch designations (i. however. Mehldau’s music is adequately interpretable through standard notational transcription. 54. Volume 3: Songs. even when the chord symbols are provided directly from the composer. I hope to later expand on the possibility that jazz harmony in other situations might also benefit from such a separation (i. The Brad Mehldau Collection. probably as a result of using software designed to transcribe and analyze (no author is attributed to the transcriptions). and Interplay in Jazz.group collaboration. 53 58 In addition.e. removing it from its traditional 53. On the inadequacies of transcription for reflecting timbre. which further illustrates the music’s alignment with Western European musical tradition. c. At times. By using his music as a case study for separating the music from such traditional conventions. The basic “factual” pitch content in this publication is helpful in confirming my own transcriptions. respectively). The Brad Mehldau Collection is the only publication to feature transcriptions of selected works. 2007. rhythm is particularly difficult to indicate precisely.. For a discussion of such notational problems and proposed solutions. see chapter 1. however. Stewart. Interaction. “Grid Notation: A Notation System for Jazz Transcription” Annual Review of Jazz Studies 1 (1982): 3-12. some of which are found in Art of the Trio. . Milwaukee: Hal Leonard. I find most of them do not accurately depict the true rhythms as performed. In particular.
voice-leading analyses will reference time points from the recording. The following analyses are a result of my personal account of salient musical phenomena. but such far-reaching conclusions will be consigned to future research. mm. Mehldau’s use of standard chord symbols at times masks the true nature of the voice-leading made evident by both his score and performance. Sometimes Mehldau’s music seems resistant to standard jazz nomenclature due to the linear nature of the musical context (recall examples 1. see chapter 1. p 112ff. Also see chapter 3. and the solo section is free improvisation. identifying a chord as a simple vertical arrangement of pitches is misleading. 5-9. and particularly example 4. 77ff. respectively.” pp.” p. “Jazz Chord Symbol Notation.2 in chapter 1). 115. The first challenge is met by my own transcription of the theme. . As stated. For the second challenge.59 chordal orientation and placing it into a contrapuntal context). In some cases.1 and 1. “From Thematic Voice-Leading to Solo Voice-Leading” in Unrequited. “Analysis of Sehnsucht. part 2.7. on p. 55. 17-20. These incongruities are significant for my argument that vertical interpretations exhibited by chord symbols may be more pragmatic for the performer while the analyst requires a better syntactic explanation. and chapter 4. in the absence of measure numbers. For a demonstration of the performer’s and analyst’s perspectives of jazz chord symbols and voice-leading.55 I will therefore use Mehldau’s chord symbol notation only when I should like to contrast the meaning of those chord symbols with my own linear application in support of the musical surface. Convalescent (chapter 5) presents two challenges: there is no published score.
The suspension represents a beginning–middle–end scheme on the surface of the music. To review.Chapter 3: Sehnsucht and the Suspension In this chapter. Then I will review how the suspension is an unusual technique in jazz music in general. While a voice-leading analysis will help to clarify this ambiguity. particularly the suspension. it is the suspension that connotes the expressive frame of German Romanticism. (3) consonant resolution of tone(s) by stepwise ascending or descending direction. in Mehldau’s composition Sehnsucht. Part 1. The Suspension and the Beginning–Middle–End Paradigm The suspension is a non-harmonic tone defined by specific rhythmic and contrapuntal situations. Together. In part 1 I review the suspension as it resembles the beginning–middle–end scheme in miniature. The procedure requires dissonances to resolve in a specific way. Volume 3: Songs. In part 2 I analyze Sehnsucht in light of the above considerations. I will argue that the suspension creates the effect of musical motion and goal-orientation. which generally means yearning or longing. and its implications for longer-range tonal hearing. I 60 . serves as the impetus for the notable tonal ambiguity of this piece. these characteristics promote the perception of beginning–middle–end that is essential to a Schenkerian analysis of music from the common practice. I will demonstrate how contrapuntal norms are at work. Sehnsucht. (2) dissonant suspension of the tone(s) in a metrically strong position. from the 1998 album Art of the Trio. which places Mehldau’s music in opposition to standard jazz practice. the process of the suspension in tonal music takes place in three stages: (1) consonant preparation of one or more tones. with melodic and rhythmic considerations.
the passing tones would be dissonant. “[T]he arpeggiation of the bass signifies movement toward a specific goal. More importantly.. and ultimately the completion of this course. The fundamental line (Urlinie) begins and ends with members of the tonic triad. striving toward a goal. Free Composition. 4. no. ^3–^2–^1. 4. “Since it is a melodic succession of definite steps of a second. up to the dominant. itself a member of the tonic triad. trans. or dominant. 1979). 2.2 This passing tone bridges what would otherwise be an arpeggio of the tonic. 1 (1987): 1-17 and Playing with Signs: A Semiotic Interpretation of Classic Music (Princeton.” Schenker. Free Composition. The passing tone is now consonant.1 The fundamental structure (Ursatz) embodies the contrapuntal process that establishes a piece’s tonality. 4. If the bass line does not arpeggiate the tonic by moving to the fifth. See V. 1991).61 believe this surface feature is analogous to the long-range principles of Schenkerian structure. the Urlinie is supported by a tonic bass that leaps to the dominant in support of ^2. the fundamental line embodies motion. Ernst Oster (New York: Longman. 28. “Concepts of Closure and Chopin’s Op. 4. the upper fifth.4 ^2 is thus considered both a passing tone (secondary to the other melodic members of the tonic triad) and a 1.” Heinrich Schenker.e.” Music Theory Spectrum 9. which in turn is necessitated by principles of melodic fluidity (i.” Schenker. Free Composition. and ed. the fundamental line signifies motion.3 In order to support ^2 as a consonance. the bass move off the tonic. NJ: Princeton University Press. 3. In the simplest presentation of the fundamental line. Kofi Agawu. however. The steps between the tonic triad’s members are passing tones. . stepwise motion). The fundamental line “unfolds a chord horizontally while the counterpointing lower voice effects an arpeggiation of this chord through the upper fifth. and the completion of the course with the return to the fundamental tone.
See Allen Cadwallader and David Gagné. Schenker attempts to base the suspension (from fourth species) on the passing tone (from second species). 107.1). 7. Post-modern music does not require all the parts of a suspension. Earlier. for instance. John Rothgeb and Jürgen Thym. example 5.5 A remarkable conflict thus exists at the background: members of the tonic triad are combined in union with passing tones. the dissonant element is situated only between two consonances” (260). James McGowan proposes a redefinition of “consonance. The only difference is their metrical placement (260-61). Book 1: Cantus Firmus and Two-Voice Counterpoint. “‘Consonance’ in Tonal Jazz: A Critical Survey of Its Semantic History. Consider the score to Sehnsucht. See Heinrich Schenker. In jazz compositional practice. and other extended tertian members of jazz chords to be redefined as consonant. the subject of consonance and dissonance has been a contentious topic.62 consonance (supported by the bass arpeggiation). Counterpoint. Analysis of Tonal Music: A Schenkerian Approach. 1 (2008): 69-102. 2nd ed. John Rothgeb (New York: Schirmer Books. no. ninths. redefining dissonance and consonance is generally not needed in Mehldau’s works. The three parts of the suspension is thus analogous to the three-line Urlinie. .7 While appropriate for much jazz music. James McGowan. a part of the general problem of dissonance altogether…” (262). “that in both [suspensions and passing tones].” allowing sevenths. What unites them is the “essential course of events is the same: Consonance–Dissonance–Consonance! In this light even the dissonant syncope is fundamentally nothing but a type of passing dissonance.6 The suspension is quintessentially tonal since it explicitly depends on establishing a relationship between consonance and dissonance. ed.” Jazz Perspectives 2. 2007). trans. (New York: Oxford University Press. Schenker attempts to describe the suspension as the deletion of what would otherwise be a passing tone on a weak beat (266-67). Perhaps unusual to a jazz score 5. He notes. where Mehldau provides direct evidence to the traditional treatment of consonance and dissonance used to create a suspension (example 3. 6. 1987). In Counterpoint.6. consonance and dissonance are generally not distinguished from each other. whether consonance and dissonance even applies to jazz the way it applies to music of the common practice.
score.1. . with annotations a conceptual inne er voice… ob bbligato inner-voices ind dicate suspensions (4 - 3) …becomes literal inner voice (4 ( - 3) (4 - 3) (4 - 3) (4 - 3) is s the inclusio on of obbliga ato inner voi ices. In m. The G3 in ndicated on the t downbea at of m. Sehnsucht. 12 is s consonantl ly prepared b by the previo ous measure’s A7 . 1 12 the inner voice indica ates a 4–3 su uspension of f a dominant t seventh cho ord (D7) in th he local key y of G major.63 Example E 3.
Note that in m. 13. Despite the resolution of the suspension mid-bar. 12. 14. With the arrival of the cadence in m. 9) and 9–8 (mm. 15–16. Let us focus. resolving to B3 in m. example . The C4 indicated on the score is prepared in the melody at m.) A perfect authentic cadence reinforces the local key of G major in m. the C4 represents an inner voice. 15 and Fƒ7 in m. The melody represents the 9–8 while the continuing inner voice provides the 4–3 resolution. 12 prepares the suspension in m. then. on the 4–3 suspension. mm. These chord symbols indeed indicate two suspensions. These suspensions are telling for Mehldau’s contrapuntal thinking. one will note that the chord symbol only indicates a suspension (D7susß13) for all of m. 16. 13 the chord indicated is not Gsus but CÁ/G.64 chord. Other traditional suspensions that will be identified in the voice-leading analysis of Sehnsucht include the 7–6 (mm. 13. 13. From conceptual to literal. from C4 to B3. 13. the result of a compound melody from mm. 9–8 and 4–3. represented as an obbligato inner voice. 25–28) (see the foreground analysis. respectively. A 4–3 suspension takes place in mm. though both the score and performance do not indicate the presence of a melodic E over the bass G in m. the innervoice presented first by the melody in m. 12 to illustrate the suspension and its resolution may be due to the work’s general harmonic pacing at one chord per measure. This obbligato inner voice continues into the next phrase. 2–4. 13–14. 10–12. 12. This time both the suspension and resolution are indicated by two chord symbols: Fƒ7susß9 in m. Interestingly the melody’s C4 represents a conceptual inner voice. (That two chords are not indicated in m. continuing through a descending second sequence the 4–3 suspension.
Charlie Parker and Thematic Improvisation. three-stage suspensions as found in Mehldau’s works are generally not common in jazz. Maryland: The Scarecrow Press. Suspensions in Jazz Music The traditional. comparing bop to the common practice. Jazz sus chords are thus the result of linear motions (borrowed from the common practice) frozen into vertical arrangements. Henry Martin. indicated on the score with both chord symbols (Asus–AÁ) and inner voices. I would consider suspensions in jazz music reifications of the suspension stage. 1996). part 1). In jazz harmony. refer to mm. This is in distinct contrast to the way jazz composers normally incorporate a “sus” chord.65 3. Henry Martin. “rarely [are suspensions] prepared and resolved as in common-practice theory. Jazz music often removes the rhythmic and contrapuntal conditions in order to isolate a chord’s properties (i. writes.8). 35–36 of Sehnsucht (example 3. With the heavy association of chord to scale in jazz theory (refer to chapter 2. its color). ..1). chord symbols indicating a suspension are exempt from the conventions of preparation–suspension– resolution. Other contrapuntal techniques are employed throughout Sehnsucht as well. and they will be explored in detail in the second part of this chapter. (Lanham. utilized for their sound quality. where Mehldau does prepare and resolve them as in the common practice. preferring the qualities of a verticalized sound at the moment of suspension. itself having strong 8. omitting preparation and resolution.e. 14.”8 While true in much jazz music. Mark Levine associates sus chords with the mixolydian mode.
. 10. the 4th of a sus chord usually resolves down a half step to become the 3rd of a dominant 7th chord. whereas a traditional suspension is carried out in one conceptual voice. Levine provides a link from the tonal tradition to jazz. Sus chords are employed as one type of colorful harmony. Ibid.. 46. Because the sus chord is in traditional harmony part of a multi-stage process. where the fourth often replaces the third above the bass. a growing acceptance of dissonance led pianists and guitarists to play sus voicings with both the 3rd and the 4th…. 9. the 4th doesn’t resolve. removing the contrapuntal stages that provide beginning and end.11 Furthermore. 1995). 12. which gives sus chords a floating quality.66 associations with the dominant seventh chord. Levine is explicit in his description of the sus chord in jazz as a sound effect. “A persistent myth is that ‘the 4th takes the place of the 3rd in a sus chord. In contemporary music.. 43. Mark Levine. 11.9 By associating sus chords with the dominant. Ibid. Ibid. specifically identifying a sus chord’s role within the context of a beginning–middle–end paradigm: “In traditional harmony.”10 To be sure. Levine allows the third to remain in sus chords along with the fourth. but in the 1960s. absent of contrapuntal requirements.’ This was true at one time. Note that the 3rd is always [voiced] above the 4th. Levine states. that floating quality is a result of promoting the middle of a three-part progression. CA: Sher Music.”12 This final qualification is an important reconciliation of the simultaneous use of both the third and fourth as separate voices. 46. The Jazz Theory Book (Petaluma.
according to the melody. Mehldau manages to include the third and fourth in the same voice. the suspension conceptually spans all of m. The suspension and third occur in the same voice. 17.2. In the first interpretation (a).67 Curiously. and represent it in a chord symbol. provided at the top of example 3. his chord symbol points to an essential jazz trait: dissonances and consonances are not distinguished from each other. I offer three possible interpretations in example 3. Example 3. Moreover. In m.2. Three voice-leading interpretations of Bsusadd3 in Sehnsucht. . 17 Each interpretation is considered in relation to the score. m. Mehldau indicates Bsusadd3.2. 17 of Sehnsucht. Here I believe Mehldau is offering a provocative interpretation of the harmonic content in m.
the chord strikingly changes color in m. resolving in m. This first interpretation emphasizes the “sus” part of the chord symbol while minimizing the “add3” modifier. The third interpretation (c) shows no suspension at all. the third of the triad (D sharp) arrives prematurely on the downbeat. Normally a consonance.1). making this first interpretation most problematic. The second interpretation (b) provides a complex interpretation giving full consideration to the complete chord symbol. in the same voice that is representing the fourth of a 4–3 suspension. This final interpretation . This chord symbol suggests two different levels of dissonance occurring simultaneously: the “sus. This interpretation suggests that the suspension takes place conceptually on the first half of m.” representing a triadic dissonance (D sharp) that interferes with the time span of the suspension.68 17. 17. the D sharp that arrives on the downbeat is a lower neighbor-note (LN). 18 to a G major triad in first inversion. the suspension conceptually works.2). anticipating the resolution proper of D sharp midway through the measure (see example 3.” representing a linear dissonance through the standard suspension. 15–16. However. and the “add3. illustrated by the obbligato inner voice (see example 3. 17. However. The performance and lead sheet both indicate a clear arrival of D sharp on the downbeat of m. 18. Bsusadd3. and the resolution to D sharp would need to be replaced by D natural. 17 before resolving midbar. This interpretation is appealing since it is similar in duration to the suspension of mm. Even given this chromatic adjustment. representing a mode change and 5–6 exchange. acknowledging the primary role of D sharp’s arrival on the downbeat of m.
“For All We Know. G. The second interpretation is filled with contradictory voice-leading information.” he draws our attention to a certain linearity not previously heard in this standard. sus chords in jazz must be sharply distinguished from the use of suspensions in Mehldau’s music. into a ninth. This goal-orientation creates a perception of motion. suspensions draw attention to goal-orientation. which can be captured effectively by a Schenkerian voice-leading analysis. which requires no resolution in jazz practice (it too represents a frozen verticality utilized for its sound “color” rather than for its contrapuntal . which is enabled by a traditional consonance–dissonance relationship. As a sound effect.3. In Mehldau’s ballad arrangement of the 1934 foxtrot. This provocative chord symbol (Bsusadd3) highlights the struggle a contrapuntal thinker like Mehldau encounters when trying to communicate harmonic content through conventions of jazz chord notation. The melody arpeggiates the tonic triad (E flat major) in the first two bars of example 3.69 emphasizes the “add3” modifier to the chord symbol while minimizing completely the “sus” indication. The change of harmony from Eß to F9 in the second bar transforms the third of the tonic triad. I would argue that this type of complex linear interpretation is generally not demanded in traditional jazz music. In Mehldau’s music. To highlight the difference between jazz tonality and Mehldau’s traditional tonality. where distinctions between consonance and dissonance are not definite. but this is a result of the equally contradictory chord symbol. I will show how Mehldau is able to reveal new insights in a classic jazz standard that may not have been composed with a linear compositional predisposition.
it seems to be of little concern to the composer.3. But the piano accompaniment and chord symbol both indicate an immediate change to the F9 chord of the second bar. Volume 3: Songs.4) illustrates how the B flat in the first bar is 13. “For All We Know. Brad Mehldau. Warner Bros. As sung. Example 3. (CD). 1998. Volume 3: Songs. 1934) Example 3.70 implications). “For All We Know. with bass13 Turning to Mehldau’s performance. . Whatever potential exists for a 4–3 suspension.” chorus (Coots and Lewis. from Art of the Trio.4. The compound melody of the vocal part would seem to welcome a 4–3 suspension as Bß3 lingers into the second bar before resolving. In this case. 9 47051-2. a transcription of the right hand (example 3. the G is seen as an extension of the F chord of the second bar. one will note the opportunity for a performer to utilize portamento technique in ascending a major sixth from Bß3 to G4 in the first two bars. The Art of the Trio. calling attention to this colorful harmonic extension.” transcription of Mehldau’s right hand.
The 4–3 suspension adds another horizontal dimension to the vertically indicated ninth chord of the second bar: the melody’s G sounds like a 9–8 suspension that also needs to resolve.4. Mehldau not only highlights the beauty of the vocal line’s compound melody turned into a 4–3 suspension. Mehldau’s performance. Mehldau has paid tribute to this colorful ninth chord by reverting to a tradition that was probably not considered when the original foxtrot tune was composed. but this has the additional effect of imitating portamento vocal technique. The initial B flat is a conceptual inner voice that prepares the suspension of the B flat as a literal inner voice in the second bar.4. Further referencing the classical tradition. Mehldau includes an ornamented resolution of the 4–3 suspension.71 accented and sustained well into the second bar. respectively. treating both B flat and G as linear dissonance that must resolve to the consonance of A and F.14 Drawing attention to two voices that originated from a single melodic line helps one hear two separate contrapuntal strands of a tonal fabric promoting E flat major. results in a double suspension in the second bar. as illustrated in the transcription of example 3. Consequently. through the use of an anticipatory trill on the B flat to A. The G4 of the second bar no longer sounds like an extended tertian harmony added to the F7.3). Since the piano cannot utilize portamento technique as a vocalist would. not merely a consonant ninth chord falling within the practice of traditional jazz music. as one might gather from the vocal score’s indicated chord symbol. the creation and 14. I would argue the same effect is created on the piano as a result of sustaining the B flat as it melodically leaps to G4. as illustrated in example 3. Mehldau seizes an opportunity to present a 4–3 suspension. . a suspension that does not exist in the original score (indicated by the arrow in example 3.
The suspension as tonal technique is seldom found in modern jazz. specifically the 5–6 exchange. . Part 2. I then compared Mehldau’s use of suspensions with sus chords of modern jazz practice. For a concise historical account of ECM and Jarrett. 1997). providing a linear glimpse into his approach of triadic tonality.15 yet Mehldau has utilized it with such regularity that I believe it represents an expressive affect of Mehldau’s performance style and compositional practice. Musicians recorded by the ECM label in the 1970s also made frequent use of classical idioms in their music. A. in openended settings. indeed. C. Analysis of Sehnsucht The remainder of the chapter will present a voice-leading analysis of the theme of Sehnsucht in light of the above considerations. This section has attempted to sharply contrast the suspension as used during the common practice period against modern jazz practice. Sehnsucht. The History of Jazz (New York: Oxford University Press. Volume 3: Songs. The piece begins with piano 15. see Ted Gioia. 376-81. There is also a suggestive tonal pun that is in following with the Romantic style: an acrostic occurs on the name “Bach. A notable exception to this observation is Keith Jarrett. A glimpse into Mehldau’s score to Sehnsucht illustrated a treatment of suspensions in a traditional contrapuntal setting. whether composed or arranged.” by employing the notes. The suspension and its effects on a larger scale will now be considered in a comprehensive analysis of Sehnsucht. the tonal harmonic language. sometimes as a result of other obbligato inner voices indicated in the score. B flat. first recorded in the 1998 album. other contrapuntal techniques are employed.72 performance of suspensions encountered in the opening to “For All We Know” is an expressive affect within much of Mehldau’s music. who frequently explores. and B natural throughout the piece. Art of the Trio. In addition to the suspension. features Jorge Rossy on drums and Larry Grenadier on bass.
Chopin. op. and this seems to force the inner voice to ascend again to D. mm. on the downbeat of m. 11–12 does the tonality of A minor emerge with the arrival of a half cadence (itself on an unstable seventh chord). 5.5. When the espressivo melody enters at m. tonic harmony is avoided. op.5). joined on the repeat of the theme by the rest of the trio. respectively). beginning on ^2–^3–^4. 17. leaving the work open and with no clear . the F fails to resolve to E. the piece evokes several possible Romantic counterparts. 1–14 The striking unprepared dissonance at the opening of the mazurka exposes a tritone between top and middle voice (F and B. The mazurka ends with the same material as the introduction of mm. 4 (example 3. no. mazurka. Example 3. the last time with a fermata over the £− chord of m. 5. 17. 1–4. The delay of resolution in the top voice and resulting rising third in the inner voice is the impetus for the opening melody’s motive B–C–D when it enters in m. no. 2 (causing the bottom voice to expose a weak second inversion D minor triad). By beginning with solo piano. Consider the Chopin mazurka in A minor. The enigmatic sotto voce opening begins with an unprepared dissonance. 4. When the B resolves to C.73 alone. Only at mm. 4.
characterized by descending leaps with a rhythmic pattern alternating short and long durations. but. which allowed for such incomplete. Both the mazurka and Sehnsucht share the same opening melodic contour. .74 resolution. complete with picardy third. he is able to play on those expectations by ending with a first inversion F major triad (or an A minor triad substituted with an unresolved sixth). represented by A-/G. there are intertextual relationships worth noting. While the mazurka ends with an unresolved tonic triad. beginning with a similar striking unprepared dissonance. unlike the Chopin mazurka. Turning to the opening of Sehnsucht. like the mazurka. 1–2. 25–28 (refer back to the score. Sehnsucht provides a hint of A minor by outlining the tonic triad in mm. there is little harmonic support for A minor at the opening. 10–12 and mm.) The time period within which Chopin operated suggests that he wanted to promote a Romantic sensibility of longing by avoiding a tonic triad in the beginning and end of the piece. (This ternary piece includes a middle section in the parallel major. Mehldau has composed a piece in an era that has considerably less tonal expectations. Chopin plays on the traditions of the common practice. Sehnsucht provides tonal closure in a way that Chopin attempts to thwart in the mazurka.5). as if overcompensating for the outer sections’ ambiguous tonal center. example 3. The mazurka provides contrasting thematic material in mm. Sehnsucht ends with an unmistakable one. which is heavily repeated. Because Chopin’s audience expected a tonal ending. 9–12 (see example 3. fragmentary tonal gestures to remain through the end of the piece. While Chopin avoids A minor in the opening melody. The piece is also in A minor.1). Sehnsucht uses similar contrasting thematic material in mm.
or tonic. harmony. from beginning to end. . It is worth repeating Walter Piston. and not the incomplete A-major. where a triad is one of the least expected concluding chords. The closural tonic in Sehnsucht invites further consideration into a complete tonal trajectory.6. for instance—since the evasion of tonic triads in jazz music is the norm in Mehldau’s time. also blurs metric clarity and tempo and focuses attention on the sonority Mehldau references. Harmony. 16. 483. especially because a tonal center of A minor is especially unclear in the opening moments. especially referencing the sonority in m.75 Mehldau’s audience might expect a jazz piece to operate with an expanded harmonic palette.6). Another intertextual observation may be telling: the opening to Sehnsucht is similar to Schumann’s second song from Dichterliebe. (New York: W. an upbeat that is sustained over the downbeat of the first measure. establishing this work’s tonal identity. and thus makes this opening ambiguous: with the tonality of F sharp minor lingering in the listener’s mind. second eighth-note (indicated in example 3. 1. which is further enhanced by the concluding 4–3 suspension. Mehldau is not as free as Chopin to play on the listener’s expectations—by avoiding a tonic triad. Cƒ7. The entrance of the dyad. 1987).16 Mehldau thus provides a specific tonal context by ending with a tonic triad.” Walter Piston. Had the song begun with the passing tone enclosed in example 3. the opening dyad suggests an incomplete F sharp minor chord. “Students of jazz techniques will recognize that an entire harmonic vocabulary based on the complete set of added-sixth chord and non-dominant sevenths and ninths exists in that art. Norton. indeed defining the normative chordal states in a harmony where pure triads are rare. 5th ed. The opening of Sehnsucht has what Schenker might have identified as a “mentally prepared” tonic chord.7). The suspensions will serve as the primary foreground material that drives the theme towards a final tonic triad. W. who notes. The previous song ended on a dominant chord. This suggests a double passing tone in the bass and tenor voice of the left hand (see example 3.
6. The top voice in the melody presents consecutive fifths with the bass in mm. featuring the Kopfton. the opening dissonance of G. C5. no. begins as if it is in the middle of a double passing tone. opening The melody’s compound melody. The piece begins with a complex linear progression. Example.7.76 a tonal hearing that eventually establishes A major would still be possible.8). This parallel voice-leading is hidden in part by a compound melody. “Aus meinen Thränen. suggesting a first inversion . The music. and C in the left hand and the A in the right hand does not compromise tonal clarity.7. 2–5 (see example 3. initiates a third progression. middle system). In Sehnsucht. E4. Op. 3. 2–3.” Dichterliebe. rather. see the voice-leading analysis of example 3. which functions as the dominant in the subsequent modulation to G minor (not shown in example 3. Schumann. where an inner voice provides an implied 7–6 suspension in mm. Tonal ambiguity is created by the immediate turn to D minor. 2. This progression is complemented by a 7–6 chain between the alto and bass. The opening of Sehnsucht makes an excellent example for setting apart Mehldau’s use of extended tertian harmony from their use as a departure from the tonal tradition. 48. and alto voice. B.
3. to resolve to the chord’s root.) The resolution to D4 is delayed to m. This suspension in the opening moments of Sehnsucht argues strongly for Mehldau’s conscious awareness of strict contrapuntal norms. This is how triads interacted with seventh . E-11NO9. 2.7. The instruction to not include a ninth is indicative of the specific voice-leading Mehldau is trying to convey through jazz chord symbols. The inner voice D4 resolves to Cƒ4 in m.77 D minor # chord in m. (The indicated FÁ7 is not a real seventh chord. of the following A7ß9. a II chord that tonicizes D minor through a customary II– V–I progression (see example 3. Focusing on the bottom system of example 3. the 4–3. but here “11” indicates the fourth of a 4–3 suspension. suspensions were allowed to resolve to dissonances that represented chord tones. since contrapuntal norms require the seventh. D4. The suspension takes place over the unusual chord symbol E-11NO9. one will note the preparation of a consonant A3 in m. 5 as a dominant of G minor. bottom system). a 9–8 suspension created by the insertion of the A7 chord of m. E4. however. dissonant suspension in m. In the common practice. 2 (in spite of the chord symbol indicating FÁ7). 2–4. The seventh is dissonant but a chord tone. and resolution to G3 in m. 4 further breaks up the parallel fifths in the outer voices. Another suspension. belonging to the secondary dominant seventh chord.7. The suspension resolves to a dissonant seventh. 3 and functions as the seventh of a true seventh chord. One might freely insert a ninth as part of a typical jazz voicing. While the multiple voices created by the compound melody help mask the parallel motion. 4. takes place in the left hand in mm. 4 of the secondary dominant chord A7ß9. This D minor chord is prolonged through m.
but the allowance of this dissonant chord tone did not extend to ninths and thirteenths.7. This chord appears to initiate another 4–3 suspension. and Henry Martin (see chapter 2. “Modifications to Schenkerian Theory. . mm. D-11. 5.7. 3 (refer to the bass staff). The eleventh.78 chords. though it is represented in the chord symbol.17 Example 3. This G is represented in example 3. is not performed by the left hand. transcription and voice-leading analysis Perhaps most evocative of these first five measures is the final chord. as E-11 does in m. Examples of ninths and thirteenths as chord tones is well documented in the works of Steve Larson. 45ff). m. Sehnsucht.” p. Steven Strunk. bottom two systems as a 17. G. which are found in abundance in jazz music. 1–5.
“Attacking a Brahms Puzzle. …Unbounded ambiguity results in what we call vagueness. where a C-6 chord functions as a subdominant chord in G minor. without descending into vagueness. Vol. Cone. Drawing further attention to the unresolved fourth in mm. the harmonic rhythm slows for the first time (normally one harmony per measure) when D-11 is repeated for two measures (refer to the score. 7 (not shown in example 3. I would contend this voice-leading effect is made possible only through previously established contrapuntal practices. That Mehldau sets up several voice-leading expectations through the suspensions of mm. 1824 (February 1995): 72. With the repetition of D-11. example 3. “[A]mbiguity. Cone notes. By establishing traditional voice-leading principles in the opening measures. to be artistically effective. ambiguity resolved or successfully delimited is described as subtle. but the most successful are delimited by a context of relative directness and clarity. he is free to play on these expectations when he does not resolve the fourth of the D harmony of m.1). 5–6. an unresolved dissonance (the suspension) is extended for two measures. As Edward T.” Edward T. 5: begging for harmonic continuation. in this case the fourth above the D harmony. Recall the way Chopin was able to create a sense of Romantic longing by not resolving his final tonic harmony. Foreground and Middleground The following voice-leading illustration (example 3. This ultimately promotes ambiguity. 18. must be bounded.79 suspension that never resolves to F. 3.18 A longing is effectively created by m. based on the conventions of tonal norms. no. Not all instances of ambiguity admit of resolution. though this type of departure from voice-leading is utilized sparingly in Sehnsucht. .7). 5.8) combines elements from both the published score and Mehldau’s performance from Art of the Trio. the G continues to conceptually exist until m. Mehldau sets enough voice-leading constraints to cause a musical effect when the music denies an expected resolution.” The Musical Times 136. 1–4.
Secondly.80 Mehldau’s performance mostly reflects the score. 18 on the score indicates a C sharp passing tone that is performed as C natural. Otherwise. . mm. transferring G into an inner voice. I believe the C sharp is a misprint. the voice-leading analysis can be assumed to accurately depict both score and performance. The score’s obbligato inner voice of D4 to Bß3 is actually the outer voice in the performance. 20–21 on the score shows G4 as the outer voice when Mehldau performs it in Art of the Trio an octave lower. though two discrepancies stand out: m. and I reflect the performance within the voice-leading analysis.
Example 3. Sehnsucht.8. foreground and middleground voice-leading 81 .
8 (continued) 82 .Example 3.
which arrives at m. 3–6 and G minor in mm. 1-2.8. beginning with the chord. This voice exchange is then mirrored in mm 7–11 when the bass descends a third (completing . a II–V progression in A minor is directed for use during the solo section. At the end of the score. The coupling is broken into two stages: a sixth progression from mm. as if stepping down from the tonic. but lacks sufficient bass support to otherwise clearly indicate the key of A minor.83 Measures 1–22 Though it will be demonstrated that Sehnsucht is in the key of A minor. The unexpected appearance of the major mode is corrected to minor at a second cadence at m. 21. with the bass functions as a passing tone. A-/G. which serves as a pivot to the tonicization of D minor in m. 1–7 brings the bass from A to C. A passing through G (the first indicated bass note) to F. D minor functions as the dominant pivot to G minor. from C to A. This suppressed tonic chord. and is combined with a descending third progression in the melody. The opening chord A-/G could suggest a I% chord. The sixth progression in mm. 1 brings the bass to A2 at m. 1–7 and a third progression from mm. which strongly suggests the key of A minor. replaced by a passing tone in the bass. The tonic. 1 is overshadowed by a tonicization of D minor in mm. then. 5. 7–11. is shown in parentheses in the foreground voice-leading analysis of example 3. The theme outlines an A minor triad in mm. The fleeting appearance of the tonic triad over a G in the bass in m. I thus interpret the opening as beginning in the middle of a progression. 13 (though the cadence in G is decorated by a picardy third). seems to be suppressed at the beginning. 7–23. An octave coupling of the implied tonic at m. this is not immediately clear at the opening. A minor. 11.
12–21 to highlight these similar progressions. 13 (though this G minor chord unexpectedly reverts to the major mode at m. A third progression in mm. 13–21. A–B– C. two asterisks accompany the octave couplings in the bass of mm. 12–21. composing another voice exchange. while closer to the surface they are displaced by a bar. A sudden ascent in the . as in middleground 2 and the foreground (occurring in mm. 14). 12. 1–7 and the bass line third progression in mm. the melodic C becomes a seventh over the dominant D7 at m. the melody begins an octave progression that is similarly broken into a third and sixth progression. The melodic ascending progression composes out the opening motive. Functioning locally in G minor. 12 and 13).8 normalizes these melodic tones to occur directly over the bass (in mm. which directs it to resolve to B flat upon the arrival of G minor in m. 1–11 to the melody in mm. Middleground 1 of example 3. This boundary play results in the transformation of C over (suppressed) tonic to C over supertonic (II) in G minor.84 the octave progression) and the melody ascends a third. and reclaims the Kopfton’s register of C5. 1–11 and the melody of mm. In middleground 2 a single asterisk denotes two similar third progressions: the melodic descending third progression in mm. A kind of textural inversion effectively swaps voice-leading techniques from the bass in mm. Following the establishment of the local key of G minor. 12–13 first establishes the local key of G minor (with picardy third in an inner-voice in m. The sixth progression is characterized by sudden changes of register in the theme. A sixth progression completes the octave coupling of B flat in mm. 14). which at the foreground masks melodic fluency. 7–11. 11 and 12). (On middleground 2.) The coupling of the melody’s Bß4 to Bß3 is in turn broken into two progressions.
or upper third divider in the local key of G minor. . To further complicate the melody. only to be thwarted again by the melody’s sudden decision to return to minor in mm. in consideration of the melody’s fickle turn to major in m. 17. 16 before ascending a minor seventh from Fƒ4 to E5. which creates a monotony of register. This bass line mode mixture temporarily calls G minor into question. 14. not Bß3. 19–21. It is as if the bass. the lower B flat thus creates greater contrast in the register shifts of mm. the sequenced opening third motive in mm. with the resolution to a B major harmony. the dramatic reversal on the foreground from G minor. 16 seems to be in reaction to the bass line’s continued descent past the local tonic of G2 in m. 15. in m. 13. The arrival of B major at m. which illustrates G4 as the outer voice. the score’s G4 is in the same register as the cadence at m. 14 in the melody’s inner voice. Mehldau’s performance departs from the score. 12. This subtle change to the theme serves two purposes: the lower B flat completes the octave coupling from m. 17-18. The ascent of the melody is then imitated in the bass. The half-diminished II# chord in m. to major.11). 19 effectively returns the mode to minor. Measures 23–36 As will be revealed in the deep middleground and background voice-leading (refer to example 3. and provides continuity to the bass line’s octave coupling from mm. 1–11. 15 the bass’s descent to F sharp creates a double suspension in the theme and inner voice (9–8 and 4–3). Second. 17–18 is paired with a sudden departure to the lower register. 17 seems to be in reaction to the mode shift to G major at m. The melodic suspensions resolve at the downbeat of m. At m. completing the octave coupling to Bß3 in m. 15–21. 13 to F sharp2 in m. which in turn ascends to B2.85 melody at m. tries to suit in mm. 21.
86 and back to minor is all in service to the dominant prolongation of scale degree 2. A minor is indeed stretched to near incomprehension during the stretch from mm. 13-33. The next phrase, from mm. 21–29, confirms B flat as the prolonged melodic tone by tonicizing B flat minor at m. 29. The progression by analogy builds on G minor (the ßIII of V, E major) by supporting B flat minor, stacking another lowered mediant over the local harmony of B flat. Upon the arrival of B flat minor at m. 29 another 5–6 exchange takes place at m. 30, outlining a G flat major triad. This dramatic move to the “flat” side of the circle of fifths perhaps overcompensates for the use of B natural in mm. 14–21. Let us first retrace how the music arrives at B flat minor in mm. 21–29. The 5–6 exchange in mm. 17–18 that transforms G major into B major is employed in mm. 22–24 to transform G minor into E flat minor (see example 3.8, where numerals indicate this 5–6 exchange). This differs from the previous voice-leading in that the bass voice is also transformed chromatically, from G to G flat. This effectively pushes the bass down chromatically toward F, the dominant of B flat. At this point there is an insertion that prolongs the dominant of B flat from mm. 25–28. The music here suddenly becomes contemplative, with the piano presenting a four-voice texture, which presents a complex 9–8 chain of suspensions (example 3.9). The first two chord symbols indicated on the score appear more complex than the voice-leading suggests. The first chord, Eß-ß6 is used to indicate a C flat major triad in first inversion. The F in the outer voice is mentally prepared by the previous F7 harmony in m. 24 (not shown in example 3.9) before resolving to E flat. The second chord, DßÁ7ƒ5 is a fairly standard jazz chord symbol, here executed by its natural voice-leading tendency: a double suspension represented by the major seventh, C (not shown or
87 performed, but implied), and the sharp five converging on B flat of a B flat minor chord in first inversion. The additional 9–8 suspension adds further complexity to this fairly standard jazz chord. This four-measure phrase also unfolds an upper melodic third, from E flat to C; the arrival of B flat minor at m. 29 answers this with an unfolded third that connects the incomplete neighbor of E flat at m. 23 with D flat at m. 29 (these unfoldings are illustrated in middleground 2 of example 3.8). Example 3.9. Chain of 9–8 Suspensions in Sehnsucht, mm. 25–28
The 5–6 exchanges of mm. 17–18 and 21–23 motivate the most chromatic 5–6 exchange of the piece in m. 29. Here, Mehldau integrates a common jazz poly-chord, BÁ7/Bß, through a scenario that represents the culmination of all voice-leading techniques used in Sehnsucht. The foreground and second middleground level of example 3.8
88 illustrates both a 4–3 suspension and 5–6 exchange occurring simultaneously. Each voice of this complex chord shall be explained, from the least important to the most essential to the voice-leading. First, the C flat in the melody functions as a chromatic passing tone. This tone is paired with a B natural in an obbligato inner voice on the score (example 3.1). A connection to the B natural/flat conflict in the G major/minor section of mm. 11-21 seems evident here both in melodic content and chord symbol notation (BÁ7/Bß). The voiceleading analysis treats the obbligato inner voice from the score, B, as an incomplete neighbor note to B flat (i.e., C flat to B flat in the tenor voice of the voice-leading analysis, example 3.8). Second, an E flat (notated as D sharp in the score at m. 29) functions as the fourth of a 4–3 suspension, prepared by E flat of the F7 chord at m. 28. Locally, the resolution of the 4–3 suspension is unclear: does the E flat resolve to D, or does the enharmonic equivalent D sharp resolve to C sharp in m. 30? (The score indicates both D and C sharp.) This matter will be taken up in a moment. Third, and most essential to the voice-leading, while not indicated on the score, Mehldau performs an F, the fifth above the bass on the downbeat of m. 29. This F moves to G flat in the melody at the last eighth note of m. 29, completing a 5–6 exchange. Together, mm. 29–30 represent the greatest moment of tension in the piece. First, it appears to overcompensate for the move to B natural in support of G major as it first appeared in m. 14. The 4–3 suspension resolves to both a major and minor third over the bass, as the E flat of m. 29 resolves to both D and D flat (or D sharp to C sharp) in m. 30. Though the score indicates m. 30 as a “sharp-nine” chord, the configuration of voices is a
89 rendering atypical for jazz, since both voices appear in the same register. This voicing serves a higher purpose in terms of the tonal narrative, however, by conflating resolutions to B flat major and minor, culminating with an atonal gesture, a split-third chord. To further complicate things, a 5–6 exchange transforms the B flat chord into a kind of G flat chord (Gß–Bß–Dß–D½, a split fifth, perhaps). The arrival of B flat serves to extend the dominant as an upper third divider to the upper third divider of G minor (refer to the deep middleground, example 3.11, where this relationship is made clear). An astonishing reversal takes place over this tonally distant, “flat” chord: the melody’s G flat of m. 30 is enharmonically reinterpreted as F sharp, or ^6 in the home key of A minor (see the foreground of example 3.8). The melodic ascent in m. 31 seemingly recaptures the Kopfton, C, in m. 32. The rising gesture repeats the opening motive of an ascending third, though it is somehow unsupported by a true tonic chord. This is due in part to the split third (AÁƒ9) chord of m. 32. The split third chord’s bass, A, at m. 32 functions as a neighbor note within the prolongation of the dominant’s upper-third divider. The melody’s C is a passing tone within a third progression that prolongs ^2. This progression returns the melody from an outer voice that was the result of reaching over at m. 23. The dominant is absent during certain portions of this piece that helps conclude the Urlinie, and requires further attention. The end of the 34-bar tune (which serves as a structure for improvisation during the solo section) is particularly complex because it fails to provide bass support for the Urlinie prior to the solo section. At m. 31 there is an arrival of A in the bass, which remains as a pedal point through m. 34 (indicated by smaller note heads connected with
the forced assertion of a tonic bass at the end of the form. the B does not belong to the bass line Stufe. however. in mm. an A pedal is indicated following the split third chord of m. 33 and 34 the score indicates separate chord changes. the performance of the theme that begins and ends the piece. B.90 dotted slurs in the foreground analysis). 32–34. The roles of these two important bass notes need further refinement. . 34. 32. 29 to the B natural at m. By design. despite its four-bar duration. itself an upper third divider of the dominant. The head alone is not enough to establish a convincing tonality of A minor. 31–32 is a neighbor note in the bass that connects the B flat of m. 1. Sehnsucht exposes a conflict by avoiding tonal closure in the head. While A minor appears fleetingly at m. The A split-third chord of mm. or II and V. while remaining weakened in lieu of a root position dominant. The B represents an inflection from B flat that was previously understood as an upper third divider of G minor. the tonic pedal is replaced by the normative bass line arpeggiation in support of the Urlinie’s closure. B7/A in m. specifically ^2. Sehnsucht gains its full tonal strength by incorporating the improvised solo section with the composed score.” The performance of Sehnsucht follows the standard jazz sequence of head–solos–head. 33 (see example 3. While on the surface B7 and E7 provide the standard II–V progression in the key of A minor. 33 and E7/A in m. The tonic pedal in the head forces the appearance of tonic.11). B7 and E7. On the score. E. for “solos” and “head. During the solo section. is equally suspect of establishing Sehnsucht’s tonality. The tonic pedal covers the bass line’s dominant harmonic support of the Urlinie. In mm. providing the only root position dominant bass note.
through the extended four-bar pedal. which is illustrated through the deepest level of tonal structure. bass line and melody.91 while fully establishing those elements that would bring tonal closure during the middle of the piece. Dominant support is conceptually present. and creates a subtle form of tonality much like the Chopin mazurka that was considered earlier. This identity. only united through a long range hearing that imagines the Stufen and Urlinie co-existing on one plane. The Urlinie.8) thus illustrates the bass line of the solo section at mm. . is unmistakably present throughout. while the solo section provides the essential bass line support of the work’s tonal identity. Likewise. The foreground (example 3. the solo section. I believe the tonal ambiguity that characterizes the open and close of Sehnsucht is an important reference to its title. the theme and bass line Stufe are never presented simultaneously in the head. the bass line that would support the Urlinie occurs during the solo section. remain on two separate planes of existence. This imprint remains after the solo section has ended and the head returns. 33–34 within this dominant prolongation. To summarize. where the composed theme is replaced by improvisation. The two components. remains unsupported by a root position dominant. 33–34. once established. I would argue that the presence of the essential bass line progression that outlines a II–V sequence during the solo section imparts an unmistakable tonal imprint. 32–33. and is preferred at the middleground and background. when it arrives on ^2 at m. Sehnsucht longs for tonal identity: remarkably. the head provides a superficial bass line in support of an A tonic. even when the bass line reverts back to the tonic pedal point of mm. This bass line supports tonal closure.
tonal indicators otherwise suggest a minor mode. On the score there are two final measures indicated as “Head out only. 29). B natural. one imagines its goal is to a cadence in A minor at the repeat of the head at m. though the final chord includes mixture to A major. A perfect authentic cadence can only be imagined. B flat. Considering the amount of time prolonging B flat and B natural. and C. all within an Urlinie that descends from C to A.92 Astonishingly.. 31–34 are within a prolongation of the dominant. as the first chord always begins with a an “A-/G” chord. I find it reasonable to infer it in Sehnsucht.1. The suppressed root position tonic chord at m.” These final two measures serve to realize the root position tonic chord that has been avoided throughout. Sehnsucht never produces a perfect authentic cadence in the key of A (i. When the root position dominant is presented in the solo section. 35–36 of the head. 1 needs to be re-visited. notes that suggest the traditional cipher for the name “Bach. (Recall that the pedal A major chords in mm. Consider the way in which the theme concludes. and a brief appearance by B flat minor (m. though. a root position dominant to root position tonic).” The B–A–C–H motive is a well-documented tonal pun. 34 of the solo section helps connect it to the final A major chord of mm. This is illustrated on the foreground (example 3. Hidden Motives: B–A–C–H Sehnsucht has been demonstrated to be in the key of A minor. These key areas support melodic tones of A.) The root position dominant in m.e. 21). Secondary key areas include G major/minor (mm. This is never realized on the score or in the performance. where one can identify a chain of transposed BACH motives from mm. 14. 31–35 .8) where the bass line dominant connects directly to the root position tonic (the final moment of the piece).
11. This fitting demonstration of Schumannesque tonal wit is evidence of Mehldau’s Romantic sensibility. illustrates how an upper third-divider to the dominant prolongs ^2 for much of the piece. mm. these transposed forms of the motive are encapsulated by the bass and melody’s explicit statement of the motive in the closing moments. As the tonicized harmony of G major/minor serves to extend the dominant. . in chapter 4).10). 13. deep middleground). 29 relate by an upper third to G (see example 3. 29–35 Deep Middleground/Background The background. which is aligned with the deep middleground in example 3. Furthermore. Mehldau’s frequent use of chromatic third relations is one justification for this specific type of long-range hearing (chromatic thirds are also observed in Unrequited. so too does the motion to B flat minor at m. Example 3. B–A–C–H motives in Sehnsucht.11.10. E. At m. ^2 is prolonged through an unfolding of G minor. which brings mixture to ß^2.93 (see example 3.
since a goal remains in sight.11.94 Example 3. Once I established the criteria for Mehldau’s use of the suspension. deep middleground and background Conclusion I departed from the use of the suspension. The beginning–middle–end paradigm allows for tonal ambiguity. as a means for creating a goal-oriented tonal trajectory. in its use from the common practice. I then illustrated through voice-leading . Sehnsucht.
part 2. 21–24 through a chromatic 5–6 exchange involving the bass (from G minor to E flat minor £−. the following two chapters will additionally consider how improvisations are informed by the theme’s voice-leading. While the voice-leading analysis focused primarily on a performance of the theme alone. 19. the events. G. and how the group plays a role in projecting a coherent tonal trajectory.6.19 This idiosyncrasy. In spite of the lack of a perfect authentic cadence in A minor. This progression appears in Unrequited using the exact harmonies. and serves as a formula for a much larger tonal plan. demonstrated in light of the piece’s sophisticated metrical pacing. for example. Recall. will be examined in detail in chapter 4.” and example 4. I am also interested in identifying idiosyncrasies of Mehldau that sets him apart from his classical predecessors as well. Further. and inasmuch as I try to separate Mehldau’s music from his jazz peers. spread out over the course of a standard jazz order of head–solos–head. and embodying this piece’s title. The surface forever separates the three-line Ursatz from its bass line. . suggest a long-range tonal plan sufficiently capable of supporting its tonal identity. the local dominant to B flat minor is prolonged in mm. “Temporal Planes. established from early in the piece. as much as this study seeks to expose tonal norms in a style that does not normally include such techniques. the bass. This includes an elongated prolongation of the dominant through an upper third-divider.95 analysis a complex path through the piece’s subtle A-minor tonality. See chapter 4. becomes G flat). yearning for togetherness.
”1 The notion pits the abstract against the experiential. These two aspects are components for what I regard to be organizing tonal forces. 1999): 40.D. I will focus on the manipulation of tonal durations in the theme of Unrequited to explain dissonant harmonies as a result of underlying melodic tensions. First.1. Second. Frank Samarotto. temporal manipulations begin with the theme. In Mehldau’s music. Third. I examine the shifting of temporal planes. The City University of New York. however.. (See the lead sheet. Temporal Plasticity Frank Samarotto defines temporal plasticity as “the manipulation of musical time. Art of the Trio. 96 . which signal ambiguities in the tonal plan. example 4. Volume 3: Songs. I analyze the improvisations of bassist Larry Grenadier and Mehldau to reveal connections between their improvisations and these temporal manipulations. as performed by Brad Mehldau’s trio from the 1998 album. “A Theory of Temporal Plasticity in Tonal Music: An Extension of the Schenkerian Approach to Rhythm with Special Reference to Beethoven’s Late Music” (Ph. Two structural forces mediate the two sides: tonal structure (after Schenker) and metric 1.Chapter 4: Temporal Plasticity and Solo Voice Leading in Unrequited While in the last chapter I established the suspension as a primary indicator of tonal principles at work. Part 1. inevitably leading to improvisations that transcend an ordinary jazz performance. in this chapter I will demonstrate further linear complexity through manipulations of rhythm and time in Unrequited. The chapter concludes with a discussion of closure. and this is especially true of improvisation. manifest as aesthetic experience. diss.) Traditional jazz music bases its aesthetic on manipulations of rhythm and time.
Unrequited d. score .1.97 Example 4.
” or reduced to a simpler form. used throughout the head and following improvisations.2d as a turn figure.2 A three-voice species counterpoint model in example 4. the skewed tonal duration is represented on the musical surface in example 4. in a transcription of the first four measures of Unrequited. This turn figure is motivic.98 structure (which is a traditional view wherein a background “grid” pervades the musical surface). B4. I analyze an apparent E-11 chord in m. chords revealed by the transcription at times differ from those specified in the score (example 4. when the melody’s B4 moves to C5. Example 4. An approach based on temporal plasticity reveals both static and dynamic impulses to account for tensions experienced in the music as a whole. The skewing of the melodic C5 over the dominant sets up extended tertian harmony of the dominant flat-nine. 1 as a harmony filled with tensions that seek resolution (see example 4. For example. Example 4. .2b shows how the melodic line becomes more dissonant when elongating the first tone of the top voice: the second harmony is now contrapuntally transformed from a C major harmony to CÁ7. The would-be resolution from B4 to C5 is belated.2a illustrates how the melody’s top voice. interacts with the underlying harmonic changes at the most consonant level (melodically moving from B4–C5–C5–B4).2).1). providing a high degree of tension in both the apparent A-9 of the third chord and the B7ß9 of the fourth. Metrical disruptions need not be “solved.2c elongates the duration of the B4 further. Throughout this analysis. providing the source of dissonance for this dominant flat-nine harmony. Rhythmically. in traditional jazz music one does not necessarily have to invoke such linear justifications 2. however. in a voice-leading analysis. As argued throughout this study. I specify “apparent” chords when they differ from the published chord symbol.
the ending of the form thus simultaneously functions as beginning. While Mehldau clearly establishes a prominent melodic voice in the register surrounding B4. the alto voice represented by F sharp in m. 32. 1 is now heard as belonging to the dominant in m. this is more than just an inference. 32.5. The arrival of ^1 thus coincides with the restatement of ^5. 1. 1 is made complete by the dominant seventh of m. the complete musical texture of m. The alto’s F sharp in m. This seamlessly propels the music forward. A common strategy in jazz composition is the technique of ending a cyclical form on the dominant so that a cadence to the tonic is elided upon the repeat of m. 1 also vies for melodic attention. in Sehnsucht (chapter 3). Thus. ^5 (see example 4. the opening apparent E-11 is not an idiomatic jazz harmony.3). the voice-leading sketch of the opening measures interprets the inner-voice as part of a 9–8 suspension. apparently with no consonant preparation. In example 4.2f. A species contrapuntal model of the musical surface can be similarly traced through the entire theme. When examining the voice leading of the entire theme (see example 4. In the case of Unrequited. We also observed this.3). there is enough evidence supporting linear origins for every extended tertian harmony. However.99 for arriving at an extended tertian harmony: these chords can simply occur. the harmony is . suspended resolution of the dominant to the tonic in classical music. one will experience the closure of the Urlinie upon the repeat of the form. for example. a melodic paradox is suggested: the apparent inner-voice originates with the final descent of the Urlinie from the Kopfton. In this case. as will be shown in example 4. and like a delayed. Rather.
2. 1–4 a) ) b) c) ) d) ) e) f) ) . Skewed har rmonic durat tions in Unr requited. mm m.100 Example E 4.
Unrequited.3. theme.Example 4. complete voice leading analysis 101 .
now continuing from the register of the completed Urlinie. but because it essentially is the top voice. 33–35 of example 4.4). This countermelody becomes prominent with the repeat of the theme (see mm. Then the inner voice takes over with a countermelody at m. or what Samarotto generally describes as temporal planes. Part 2. In addition to the emergence of an inner-voice through the voice-leading analysis of example 4. First. The repeat of the opening B4 now becomes an echo.3). occurring near the end of the theme. Temporal Planes Having revealed tonal tensions in the melody and harmony of Unrequited. These surface features direct the naïve listener to an active inner voice. the transcription reveals an active inner voice that emerges through the eighth-note motor rhythm that accompanies the melody. and. arguably divisible into two equal halves. The theme is a 32-bar. not because it is in dialogue with the top voice. As I have illustrated by the voice leading of the theme (example 4.4 illustrates how the inner-voice becomes more prominent with the repeat of the form. . 24 (circled on the transcription) and the left hand.102 a logical extension of the dominant that precedes the tonic. a counterpoint is noted between the melody at m. I will now examine temporal pacing. the inner-voice is more active. through-composed form. made evident only upon the repeat of the theme. like a traditional canon.3. 29 (boxed on the transcription). though the inner voice originates from the outer. precisely at the time the inner voice from the voice-leading analysis concludes its trajectory. A transcription of Mehldau’s performance of the theme in example 4. we hear two time spans played out simultaneously and in two distinct voices.
Unrequited.Example 4. 0:00–1:25 103 . from Art of the Trio. piano transcription.4. Volume 3: Songs.
4 (continued) 104 .Example 4.
That is. however. The final four bars of the form return to the first hypermetrical interpretation of one harmony per measure. 1–16. The hypermeter thus slows to half the speed of mm. the first plane is defined by a whole-note pacing while the second is defined by a double whole-note pacing. 23–28. 23–28. The potential for perceiving such a change to the surface will become . there is a clear hypermetric pacing at one harmony per measure in mm. Surface activity is arguably perceived at twice the speed in mm. The pacing of the melody. 1–16. The change of hypermetrical interpretation in mm. Measures 17–20 represent a disjunctive boundary between the two planes. 17–28 in part define two temporal planes. which is contrasted by the “half-time” plane of mm. 1–16. 23–28 than the same activity at mm.5 attempts to illustrate how one might predict the symmetrical 32-bar form with the faster-paced harmonic rhythm (marked “5……8?”) against the actual half-time speed of harmonic activity. In sum. and seems to float over the changing harmonic activity. Measures 17– 28 are accompanied by a slower harmonic rhythm of one harmony per two measures.105 Tracing the bass line of example 4. Turning to the temporal planes. at one harmony for every two measures. Measures 29–32 returns to the original plane. remains mostly whole notes. The second system of example 4. The first sixteen measures group into a larger four-bar hypermeter. the first plane can be described as a “normaltime” plane. a quarter note on the surface of mm. defined in part by the return of harmonic rhythm to one harmony per measure. which suggests a lengthy two-bar hypermetrical grouping (beginning with “1 & 2 – 3 & 4…”). which are illustrated by the light and dark bars below the score. 1–16 will sound like an eighth note in mm.5.
which the voice leading illustrates as an upper-neighbor to the Kopfton. which is firmly grounded through prolongation of G minor’s dominant in mm. C sharp is then interpreted as a lower third to the submediant key area of C sharp minor.4. is problematic in the key of E minor. One should note that the score indicates this enharmonic reinterpretation melodically. and warrants close inspection. 17–21. following a deceptive motion to a VIß harmony in m. 17 is paired with tonal disorientation and ambiguity. 1–4 the home key of E minor is established. it is possibly the motor rhythm of the cluster of pitches in the piano’s inner voice that rhythmically hastens a harmonic progression from G minor to B flat minor. 21–22 (see example 4. The tonal plan seems to involve cycling up by minor third. 17–20. The underlying harmony of B flat minor similarly becomes reinterpreted within a prolongation of the tonic as A sharp minor. first. 29 (refer to example 4. as the flatted dominant. 5. 5–16. represents a disjunctive force. this C minor chord is a subdominant pivot to G minor. B. coincides with other disruptive forces. 17–19). The boundary between the two planes. In mm. having reached a climax in m. mm. While the trio drops its dynamic level. The tonal dilemma of enharmonic ambiguity. 21.106 evident during the solo section. particularly at the climax of Mehldau’s solo (see part 3. The disruption of harmonic pacing beginning at m. Mehldau blurs pitches together by way of the damper pedal (see example 4.1). 141). then. the music moves from G to B flat minor. “Special note regarding temporal planes and the climax. 8–15.3). in mm. occurring in mm.” p. . the melodic tone of D flat becomes re-interpreted as a C sharp. from D flat to C sharp in mm. which is tonicized at m. To review the tonal plan leading to this situation. Second. which. Instead. in mm.
5. three-voice species model and temporal planes (whole note = one measure) 107 . Unrequited.Example 4.
16-21 is very similar to a passage in Sehnsucht. Both G minor and G major can be suggested by this 3–4 exchange (or in this interpretation. the score’s chord symbols suggest that an A flat is present in mm.4). 1–16. .108 Regarding the voice leading of this disjunctive boundary. The harmonic accompaniment provides an additional linear exchange: a 3–4 motion (B flat to C flat) takes place with the original third (B flat) remaining. The A flat will play a prominent role in the solo section. strictly as a result of the indicated chord symbols (see parts 3 and 4 of this chapter). 16–17). a ß3–½3 split in mm. at m. for that matter). with the C flat enharmonically reinterpreted as B natural. however.6. 17 G minor is transformed through a 5–6 exchange. mm. 17–19 (beginning with Aß-ADD9/G).3 Having an understanding of the voice leading of this passage enhances this temporal disjunction in light of other musical elements mentioned above but summarized here. 21-24 (chapter 3). The voice leading of mm. The resulting ambiguous identity of G minor/major suggests an uncertainty not previously experienced in the first temporal plane in mm. though no A flat is to be found in a transcription of the theme (refer to example 4. That a chord symbol on the score suggests a chord root of A flat is an important detail. One will note the passage of mm. Adding to the harmonic complexity. 16–21 is illustrated in example 4. as a voice-leading analysis of the performance reveals no A flat-based harmony (no A flat is present in any voice. 16–21. the pacing of the harmonic rhythm is disrupted (as the music departs the first temporal plane of mm. where a remarkable parallelism is uncovered: the opening sixteen bars’ motion from E minor to G minor is paralleled in only six measures from G minor to B flat minor in mm. First. This represents a kind of “splitting” of the identity of G minor. 3.
there is a subsequent drain of melodic energy. the music exits this “time warp” at m. example 4. Second. Example 4. The change of voice-leading interpretation from B flat to A sharp coincides with the new temporal plane. Third. not only as a result of the uncertain pacing. 1–16 and 16–21 Referring to the foreground analysis in example 4. more rapidly now taking only five measures. Aƒ–Cƒ–E (see the voiceleading analysis. as if brought to a remote region of tonal space. however. the harmonic progression proceeds through the tonal processes that unfolded over the first sixteen measures. reinterpreted as C sharp. established by a double-whole note pace . this disruption results in the trio’s sudden drop in dynamic level. irregular harmonic rhythm). but also due to the enharmonic ambiguity upon the arrival of the structural neighbor note D flat. This disjunctive boundary effectively warps the regular flow of time.3). mm. Despite these foreboding musical indicators that slows musical activity (loss of melodic energy.6. that the music never escapes E minor in the larger structure. 21 in the distant key area of B flat minor. E minor is prolonged through its lower-third relative. drop in dynamics.109 1–16).3. Analogous tonal plans in Unrequited. It turns out.
Thus far.5).110 (see example 4. 29 also reestablishes the initial temporal plane of a whole-note pacing. Traditionally. A few moves through the circle of fifths then bring the music to the dominant. 29. my approach to analyzing Mehldau’s music places it in opposition to traditional. In addition. brought to the fore by the seemingly incompatible chord symbols on the score as they relate to the voice leading of the theme. I have set his music apart from the general characteristics of jazz music that emphasizes the use of harmonic color with no regard for contrapuntal origin. The arrival of C sharp in the bass at m. Last. Introduction In this section I will demonstrate an additional separation between Mehldau’s music and standard jazz practice. B. Analysis of Improvisation. for it sets the stage for complex improvisations during the solo section. in bop and post-bop music there is no real theme on which the . while the bass A sharp (m. In particular. jazz music places special emphasis on ex tempore performance within an open form (refer to chapter 1. The experience of contrasting temporal planes in the theme of Unrequited is an important facet of this work. 21) supports the submediant harmonic region. which continues the prolongation of the tonic through the submediant C-sharp minor. at m. C sharp minor. Part 3. In the next discussion (part 3) I will address the difference between thematic voice-leading (after the work of Henry Martin) and solo voice-leading. The tonic is prolonged through the melodic C sharp neighbor note to ^5. part 2). the temporal planes established by the theme will be re-addressed as a primary source of tension during the solo section. standard-practice jazz. Then I will analyze the voice leading in solos by both bassist Larry Grenadier and Mehldau.
In the 2006 performance. Maryland: The Scarecrow Press. This casts doubt on their status as improvised figures. when comparing the Art of the Trio version to a 2006 performance with guitarist Pat Metheny. On the repeat of the main theme of Unrequited. suggesting that perhaps the version recorded with his trio grew as an improvisatory impulse that became essential to that particular performance. for instance). I argue that at a fundamental level the composition is inseparable from the improvisation.4 In Mehldau’s music. the removal of the inner voice may reflect the presence of Metheny’s guitar.4). See Henry Martin. which provides the second voice: the 2006 recording is literally a duet. 1996). 4. the melodic inner-voice is absent altogether. Charlie Parker and Thematic Improvisation (Lanham. the distinctions between composition and improvisation are not entirely clear in many of his trio’s performances. This has forced analysts to evaluate the manipulations of thematic elements solely within the individual soloist’s improvisation. the elaboration of an inner voice could suggest that the solo section has begun (see enclosures on the transcription of example 4. An important idiosyncrasy of Mehldau’s compositions is how his music frequently seems to lie somewhere between composition and improvisation. for instance. presumably remaining a part of the composition.111 improviser elaborates. Indeed. Henry Martin’s work on Charlie Parker represents an important exception to this traditional view.4 are some of the seemingly improvised elaborations in the inner voice repeated verbatim (compare mm. However. In the Art of the Trio. . 29 and 61. Mehldau asserts a duet between an upper and lower voice conveyed by his piano performance. Shown in example 4.
Grenadier not only .112 From Thematic Voice Leading to Solo Voice Leading Before examining the solos. 17. which is in conflict with thematic voice leading. the solos appear to include foreign pitches. Regardless of the function of the thematic voice leading to introduce a 5–6 exchange. While not essential to the thematic voice leading. Aß-ADD9/G. In the voice-leading analysis of the theme (example 4. A comparison of the two add further insights to voice-leading analysis. not shown). Because of disagreements between the transcription and the prescribed chord symbols in the published score. This mysteriousness is brought to the attention of an improviser who notices the unique chord symbol of m. in Larry Grenadier’s first solo chorus contains an A flat melodic minor scale (ascending) beginning on G. but it also conveys a certain mysteriousness. a musician improvising from the chord symbols will likely incorporate the “root” of the chord symbol: A flat. 17. I will refer to these incongruent pitches as comprising solo voice leading. A flat appears prominently in both Grenadier’s and Mehldau’s solo voice leading. By labeling a chord beginning with A flat. sometimes additional voices appear with pitches seemingly incongruent with the theme’s essential harmonic content. In the solos. I treated only the pitch content provided by a transcription of the piano (and bass.3). Returning again to m. it is necessary to further consider how other unusual chord symbols do not correspond to the content of the theme or its harmonic accompaniment. The disjunctive boundary of mm. for example. This approach depicts thematic voice leading. an A flat is emphasized by the chord symbol Aß-ADD9/G. 17–20 was described as a warping of time. I contend that an analysis needs to reconcile the differences between the way a theme and a solo informs our account of tonality.
There are three aligned staves: the . 17. during his solo but. By chorus 3 of Mehldau’s solo.113 incorporates the root. its usage is essential to the temporal disjunction. A flat is the only melodic note heard in m. who might otherwise not know where to employ this normally improvisatory technique.6). This is particularly important as side-slips prepare the climax of the solo by chorus 3.” where a performer plays notes a half step away from the indicated chord symbol. Without the score (example 4. 17 is significant because of the warping of time. An A-flat minor chord superimposed over a G minor chord represents a common improvisational technique termed the “side-slip. I will demonstrate how the side-slip represented by the chord symbol of m. and I do not wish to underscore this compositional technique in lieu of voice leading analysis’s reductive tendencies.1) and with only the voice leading to work from (see example 4. 17. m. 17 serves as a catalyst for other improvised side-slipping. by chorus 2. The harmonic content revealed by transcription of the theme goes against the grain of harmonic content revealed by chord symbols used during the solo section. 17 is best understood as a composed side-slip. The use of A-flat minor in m. Recall that using a side-slip at m. beginning at m. A flat. I have juxtaposed two simultaneous renderings of harmonic content. To help better understand the difference between the voice leading of the theme and the solo interpretation of the chord symbols. This will not affect the essential voice leading. what would normally be a G minor chord is replaced by an A-flat minor chord over a G pedal. This chord change effectively initiates a side-slip for the soloist.7). 16 (example 4. At m. an A flat would indeed be a mystery considering its total absence from the performance of the theme. 23. H the side-slip is composed rather than improvised.
in chorus 2. 19–20.3 and the transcription of example 4. 23–24 that Mehldau identifies in m. Avoiding the reference to suspensions in these other measures allows for the minor third above the root to be employed during the solos. As shown. 19 and 25). 19 explains Mehldau’s use of the F blues scale. and the bottom staff represents the voice-leading analysis of the theme and harmonic content gathered from a transcription of the performance (this essentially corresponds to the harmonic content of the voice-leading analysis of example 4. 19 and 25. This notation is used.12 in the voice leading analysis of Mehldau’s second solo chorus). showing both theme and accompanying chord symbols. from right hand to left hand (as will be illustrated in example 4. Comparing the difference between chord symbols and voice-leading processes does help to separate multiple tasks when they occur simultaneously during the solo. This takes place the same time the tonal action incorporates the preparation. and employs eleventh-chord notation where there are additional suspensions (as in mm. for instance. to illustrate the chord’s function based on voice leading phenomena (such as the double suspension of a C sharp minor triad in first inversion in mm. the frequent use of A flat in m. the lead sheet only once refers to a suspension in the form of a chord symbol (in m. 27). suspension and resolution of B flat to A in mm.114 top staff represents the lead sheet. . This bottom staff illustrates both essential harmonic content with figured bass numerals. 23 as AÁÔ¦/E). For instance. even though the minor third does not occur in the theme at mm. the middle staff shows what choices a musician has by converting chords into scales (see chapter 2 for an overview of chord/scale theory).4).
16–32) 115 .7.Example 4. Solo voice leading choices compared to thematic voice leading (mm.
Example 4.7 (continued) 116 .
Observing Grenadier’s bass solo (example 4. 13. however. the turn figure is the primary motive for ex tempore elaboration. example 4. because the fundamental components of the theme’s structure (i. This transformation to a . which suggests a preconceived opening plan to the solo (otherwise it is the result of a remarkable ability to coordinate extemporaneously with one another). This motive is accompanied by Rossy’s ride cymbal (annotated in the example).7 should be consulted whenever there appears to be a discrepancy between the harmonic content of the theme and the pitch content of the solo. 17.117 Throughout the following voice-leading analysis.. the colorful harmonic content is relegated to the rich surface. The turn itself is rich with tonal idiomatic reference: a consonant scale degree elaborated by an upper and lower neighbor-note. the turn figure is the first musical utterance. In example 4.8). triadic harmony) remain intact. Recalling Grenadier’s usage of a seemingly unwarranted A flat in m. Larry Grenadier’s Bass Solo Foreground In Unrequited.2. followed by numerous note “bends” indicated on the score.e. example 4. Ultimately.7 reveals that the indicated chord symbol on the contrary encourages the use of the A-flat melodic minor scale. the first instance of the turn figure is the result of a skewed tonal duration by means of melodic elongation. using scales derived from chord symbols imparts musically a distinct jazz style. Grenadier gradually transforms the opening turn figure into a “blues note” figure by isolating the lower neighbor note of the turn. m. according to standard chord/scale jazz theory. Grenadier’s solo is two choruses in duration. In the first sixteen bars of the solo. This is first observed at chorus 1. and does not import into the foreground.
5 5. 25–28. but each is spun out differently. This dual role affords the opportunity to blur their distinction between voices. Grenadier transforms the turn figure into a blues figure. both choruses feature a lengthy fifth progression. This blues-note figure consequently becomes the focus of Grenadier’s second chorus. since I am treating them here as agents. From a tonal standpoint. this blues-note figure is linked to the compositionally-derived turn figure in the melody. The bended note is indicated by a slur preceding the note that represents the goal. mm. Notably. as in chorus 2. 13–14 the music twice more begins the turn began in mm. this typical blues figure is often represented as an appoggiatura. At mm. . this time turning into a bend on the B flat at the top of the turn. similar to the turn figure’s providing of upper and lower neighbors. 11 he initiates the turn figure without completing it.118 blues figure becomes the focus of the solo by chorus 2. Grenadier finds a link between a blues style and the theme’s motivic figure. The figure embellishes important scale steps. 11–16. For lack of better descriptors. In this case the blues figure emphasizes the lower neighbor. Grenadier emphasizes a “melodic” voice in the first chorus and a “bass” voice in the second. During the prolongation of the dominant of G minor in chorus 1. At m. 12 the turn figure is expanded as the bass ascends from D to E flat. and frequently appears on strong beats. The completion of the turn figure at mm. Bass solos commonly imply both bass and melody. At times. For example. In m. This metaphor separates what I believe to be a dialogue of two voices throughout Grenadier’s two-chorus solo. 15–16 coincides with the music’s arrival at G minor. Though the music and theme alone do not convey a blues style. Grenadier also emphasizes the upper neighbor. 11– 12. however. I enclose quotes around my distinction of melody and bass. mm.
with voice leading analysis 119 .Example 4. Larry Grenadier’s bass solo in Unrequited.8.
Example 4.8 (continued) 120 .
Devoting roughly equal amounts of time to each melodic member of the progression in chorus 2. the “bass” voice departs from meanings associated with the closure represented by the Urlinie of the first chorus. Mehldau continues several thematic aspects of Grenadier’s solo: the blues figure that emerges from the thematic turn motive. however. and last. Ironically. descending in a much more gradual fashion. there is a shift to exploring a co-equal relationship of bass and melody in the second chorus. this closural event occurs in the first. will be the focus of the following analysis. Mehldau’s Solo While Grenadier’s solo features clear and separate linear progressions. as well as the exploitation of the paradox of melody and bass functioning as one voice. As a lengthy fifth progression. chorus. representing a strong closural event. and stands out from the “melodic” voice of the first chorus.121 The first chorus prolongs the Kopfton for the majority of the chorus. rather than the second. Mehldau’s solo is more holistic: its three choruses create one uninterrupted linear progression. The second chorus takes the form of a “bass” voice. Emphasizing the “bass” voice in chorus two is more than just a recreation of the Stufen from the theme’s structure. The canonic return of melody as it becomes an inner voice with each repeat of the form is also prominent in Mehldau’s solo. and descends as the Urlinie would. along with other tonal manipulations. This type of descent plays a strong melodic role. These features. While the first chorus emphasizes an uppervoice that represents melody. The linear progression of the second chorus is thus closely related to the “bass” voice. each scale degree happens upon the root of the chord provided by the chord symbols. In .
Perhaps in reaction to Grenadier’s lack of melodic clarity in the second chorus. even an equal. the spaces between each fragment allows for the left hand to assert itself as an important entity. I will first revisit Mehldau’s use of skewed tonal durations (something that first appeared in the theme) in the opening measures of his solo. revealing how aspects of the theme’s voice leading becomes broken down and dramatized over the course of three choruses of improvisation. as if providing answers to the theme’s questioning. Skewing Tonal Durations: micro-analysis of chorus 1. considering the contemplative openness of the piece. . to the right hand. the punctuating solo is extroverted and declarative. an irony. inquisitive quality. This figures prominently at the end of the first chorus and into the second. First. paralleling the main theme’s continuation of the inner-voice on the repeat of the theme. a textural contrast is evoked between the theme and the solo. The fragmentation serves two purposes.122 this voice-leading analysis. Perhaps originating from the various melodic strands of the main theme. Mehldau begins with an unambiguous closing gesture. mm.9).or four-beat utterances with approximately one measure of rest between them. Then I will trace the voice leading of his solo. The melody then becomes fragmented in the right hand into three. While the main theme carries an introverted. the left hand now takes the role of an inner-voice. At first the right hand loosely follows the thematic contour (see example 4. 6–8 Mehldau again skews the tonal durations of non-harmonic tones. as illustrated in part 1 of this chapter. Second.
6– 8. which is subsequently re-struck on beat 4 of m. A re-composition in example 4.” in the same vein of Grenadier’s blues-note figures. though. 7. One might expect the blues-note C to resolve to C sharp in m. A chord-scale approach suggests an analysis of the C4 in m. 8. after the window of opportunity for the blues note to resolve has passed. represents a “blues note. Instead of immediately resolving to C sharp in m. Understanding that the C4 is not a sharp-nine extension is analytically fruitful because it acknowledges the contrapuntal role it has as an appoggiatura (an incomplete lower neighbor). In this case. a melodic fragment frequently takes a sharp-nine extension from the top of a figure to a lower point of resolution. as it were. Mehldau re-strikes the blues note and resolves it in m. while the C sharp becomes sublimated. On the other hand. illustrates what Mehldau could have done (the re-composition is located immediately below the transcription). a two-beat melodic fragment concludes on C4. 6. The C in m. to C natural when the harmony . If the C is considered an anticipation. 6 first anticipates its role as a blues non-chord tone that will carry with it the requirement of resolving up to C sharp. 6. The C sharp struck on the downbeat of m. 7 as a sharp-nine extension to the A‡ chord. mm. it would belong to the next measure’s harmony. 8 is particularly exposed for its grating “major seventh” quality against the prevailing dominant seventh (D‡). the C at the end of m.12.123 At the end of m. 7. This practice is so prevalent in jazz that it is referred to as the “Cry Me a River lick” (from the opening melody line to the 1953 Arthur Hamilton tune). 7. Such an approach is problematic: rarely will a melodic fragment (as presented here) end with the lowest note of the melodic contour being a sharp-nine. This C is a non-harmonic tone to the G-/Bß passing chord of m. 6. an A‡ dominant of the dominant in G minor.
the C’s role as a flatted-ninth extension originates from its delayed arrival in m. it is perceived as a late arrival. I will examine structure through the three solo choruses. The delayed contrapuntal resolution revisits a motivic parallelism that first occurred in mm. 9. helps prolongs ^5 into the second chorus. Chorus 1 Two aspects of Mehldau’s first solo chorus are notably different from the voice leading of the theme: (1) the music places special emphasis on G minor at m. which. 1–4 of the theme. . and subsequently explains the nature of the upper partial of flat-nine over the dominant harmony. In the following analysis. 9–16). (2) the solo places special emphasis on the structural neighbor note of C sharp in mm. which analytically cannot be explained by a normal jazz chord symbol. 21–29. From my linear perspective. Some of the delayed resolutions and skewing of otherwise coherent tonal voice leading is typical in Mehldau’s solo. This second aspect is particularly important as the music does not convey closure.124 changes from A‡ to D‡. in the solo passage of mm. It recalls the skewing of the opening pitch. creating a bifurcation of prolonged harmonies: D major (mm.2). providing middleground analyses as they provide a summary of voice leading content illustrated in the detailed foreground pictures. The elongation of the opening B is so pronounced that by the time C arrives. Here. into a delayed resolution to C. 4. This chromatic semitone is a tonal voice-leading idiom for a circle of fifths progression involving seventh chords. 8–15) and G minor (mm. combined with a register transfer. B. thus enabling a longer solo narrative that continues into the second and third chorus. over I–VI–IV–V (see example 4. 6–8 the delayed resolution to C sharp creates a moment of incongruity when it occurs over a D dominant seventh chord.
9. 1–16 125 . Mehldau’s solo.Example 4. chorus 1. mm.
Example 4.10. with voice leading analysis 126 . chorus 1. Unrequited. piano solo.
which leads to a slightly different voice leading interpretation (compare examples 4.11). Stufen). or the unfolding of two harmonies in shared time spans.6 This alteration takes the form of a bifurcation. By emphasizing other melodic scale degrees.11. Bifurcation of harmony in chorus 1. 13 rather than the D of m. local dominant and tonic. mm.e. Example 4.8. he effects a change in the interpretation of the Stufen in the first sixteen measures when compared to the theme.. Mehldau’s melodic emphasis on B flat at m. Grenadier also changes the Stufen (compared to the theme) in his second solo chorus by placing an unmistakable emphasis on E flat at m. 8–16 6. 9 (compared with D in the theme) brings out the contradiction of two simultaneous prolonged harmonies: D major and G minor. respectively (example 4. changing the essential voice leading structure. chorus 2). has the potential to remain fixed during the solo section (often the case in jazz music). but there are instances where the Stufen seems to be altered by Mehldau’s melodic choices.127 mm. . 1–16 The theme’s bass line progression (i.3 and 4. 12.
At the foreground and middleground. This motion to B flat is brought out on the surface through a 9–8 suspension over a G minor £− chord. Essentially. D major and G minor. Compared to the theme. revealing a bifurcation of the two chords. (C5 again is implied in an upper voice. This middleground interpretation is only informed by the suspension and arrival to B flat at m. 9. both chords unfold over differing time spans. though. 5. however. represents a sudden plunge into an inner voice. 9. this relationship is less clear. arriving in m. The processes that take the music from B to B flat are different. 8–16. B. as the local tonic is thwarted by a suspension over a £− chord (G-Á‡/Bß). the C functions not as a passing tone but as an upper-neighbor note to B flat. there is no third progression from B4 to D5. there is a tonal conflict: is G minor prolonged. which ultimately leads to a different interpretation of the bass line structure. and its chromatic alteration to B flat. which suggests a special type of tonal contradiction. but tonal coherence remains. 9–16. the arrival of B flat is premature. In the solo. 1–9. an important chromatic alteration of the Kopfton. This reading interprets both time spans overlapping in mm. Example 4. as in the theme. In the solo. This draws attention to the key of G minor. or its dominant? At the background the dominant is an arpeggiation of G and is therefore prolonging G minor.) The melodic descent to G4 in m. . Instead. In the theme there is a boundary play that extends up through a third progression to D in mm. In the theme this was represented within a prolongation of D major.11 summarizes the middleground of mm. the local dominant to G.128 One prominent similarity between the theme and improvisation in chorus 1 is the extension of the Kopfton.
represented by the third progression that arrives locally in the key of G minor. a shift that reflects an over-compensation of the melodic overshooting of the B flat. 14. which arrives in m. the enharmonic reinterpretation of B flat minor at m. the foreground sketch consolidates these registrally compensating forces into a single register. Regardless of the lower register. Second.3). At other times. 29. a fourth progression following the bass line’s dominant of C sharp .129 An energy gain from mm. 9–11 results in a melodic ascent through the process of reaching over the B flat of m. the theme’s C-sharp minor seventh chord at m. 29 is replaced by a triad in the solo. 21. In the theme (example 4. This is also the first clue that the left hand will play an integral role in the long term of the solo. B flat is first presented in the left hand. 11 represents an upper neighbor to D. differences in melodic content appear to give special attention to some of the tonal problems first encountered within the theme. First. 9. The E flat of m. 17–32 A comparison of the structure of the theme and the solo choruses reveal remarkable similarities. this time by a change to a lower register. In the first solo chorus. in the solo. the C sharp coincides with a strong closural gesture that emphasizes strongly the local key of C sharp minor. recall that an arpeggiation up from B flat to D flat is reinterpreted as C sharp. While in the theme the neighbor note returns to the Kopfton by m.10). this C sharp continues to represent a structural upper neighbor to the Kopfton (example 4. Balancing this inertial melodic ascent into an outer voice results in a third progression of this outer voice back down to B flat at m. mm. as if the music has actually modulated to C sharp minor. 12. This modulation is suggested by several indicators. namely.
At the end of the first chorus. .10). The arrival of C-sharp minor introduces a new key as if by a true modulation.3). as embodied by the Urlinie. the right hand begins to function as an ostinato. however. continuing into the next chorus. The emphasis on the upper-neighbor ^6 is like a side-story within a narrative that occurs after all actors are introduced (the theme. the compression of the final three notes of the progression conveys closure. The first chorus of Mehldau’s solo could be likened to one of these side-stories in the large-scale tonal narrative. This parallels the theme’s canonic treatment of melodic time-spans as the Urlinie becomes an inner voice upon the repeat of the form (refer back to the foreground analysis of the theme. This also delays any undesired finality in the return to the tonic. Third. leaving the melodic form unresolved. This time. the Kopfton is transferred from the right to left hand in mm. one of the apparent secondary characters might grow to be more essential than the main characters as is the case with C-sharp minor. but it serves a few purposes. and the left hand functions not as accompaniment but as a new melodic voice. The repetitive structure of Unrequited (and other jazz lead sheet compositions) creates a monotonous return to the tonic (E minor). The arrival of C-sharp minor is followed by the expected harmonic “turn-around” in re-establishing E minor. 29–32 (see example 4.130 (m. By emphasizing the structural upper-neighbor ^6. The narrator devotes some time to explore a secondary character (the neighbor note). 27) enhances the arrival of C-sharp minor. example 4. Emphasizing a new key area helps to break this monotony. the Kopfton returns after the brief turnaround. Changing the emphasis of key to C-sharp minor may seem tonally inconsistent. in this case). And as in some of the best narratives.
often echoing or anticipating linear progressions (as will be illustrated in example 4. and pushing the arrival of Gƒ‡ a measure later. G sharp takes place over Dƒ-‡ in m. 25–28. however. 27.e.12). C sharp. instead occurring a bar late. 28 (see example 4. The most sophisticated voice-leading also takes place in these improvised choruses.12). 25. the left hand provides the primary voice. One place where a bass voice clearly emerges takes place in mm. chorus 2 progresses from ^5 to ^4. 27. but the bass voice skews its resolution. it appears the G sharp is an anticipation of the G sharp chord in m. The right hand eventually dissolves into a virtuosic bravura figure. First.. in the way his bass solo shifts from a “melodic” to “bass” voice. and chorus 3 concludes with an interruption from ^3 to ^2). in m. The right hand begins in dialogue with the left hand. the shift from the right hand to left hand parallels the differences in choruses 1 and 2 of Grenadier’s solo.131 Chorus 2 While chorus 1 establishes the Kopfton through expansion of its structural neighbor note. For the duration of chorus 2 and much of chorus 3. the left hand emerges as a prominent new voice. In some ways. but it also functions as the eleventh of the indicated chord symbol. m.7. The resolution to F doublesharp would normally occur in m. which I analyzed as a suspension in example 4. 25. Initially. to m. a lengthy interrupted fifth progression takes place over the next two solo choruses (i. chorus 1 prolongs ^5. Mehldau similarly transfers melodic emphasis from a higher to lower voice. 26. only returning as a melodic voice by the climax of the solo in chorus 3. .
Example 4.12. Unrequited. piano solo. chorus 2. with voice leading analysis 132 .
left hand. The right hand continues in motor rhythm. even a key area. downbeat). Adding to the complexity of this two-voice texture is the compound melody of the left hand. The voice leading. while remaining sotto voce. suggesting a third voice as it frequently provides an additional inner-voice to the harmony. instead of as a seventh chord that clearly prepares the return of E minor. provided by the middleground picture in example 4. is comparable to the theme’s middleground 2 level of example 4. In chorus 2 the left hand provides the melody. providing the Kopfton. G sharp. 29. when the leading tone of C minor. the theme resolves instead to a C-sharp minor seventh chord. instead the texture is reduced to two voices (only one vertical chord occurs in chorus 2: m. B. While B sharp in m. 20. Summarizing the voice-leading content of chorus 2. the voice instead leaps down to an inner voice.3. 1– 26. 28–29 parallels the theme in mm. which featured a right hand melody accompanied by left hand chords. especially from mm. is expected to resolve to C. In the corresponding place. . Throughout the solo section. B.133 The texture of chorus 2 is more complex than the texture of chorus 1. Two notable exceptions to the similar treatment of structure take place in the final six measures. the resolution of B sharp to G sharp in mm. over the root of the chord. 4–5. instead leaping down to G to avoid parallel octaves with the bass.13. First. probably due to the complex coordination of the left and right hands. 28 should resolve to C sharp in m. On the other hand. the C-sharp upper neighbor is incomplete in chorus 2. C sharp minor is treated as a triad. the left hand closely follows the structure of the theme. Rarely is there an accompanying chord present.
30. emphasizing ^4. instead of resolving to the Kopfton continues down to A natural (a common tonal strategy). . mm. often follows the left hand’s melodic direction. continuing a two-chorus-long fifth progression.) The right hand. This creates parallel octaves at times (see example 4. it would seem that parallel octaves might occur as the mind attempts to process information in real time and communicate that information to two hands. 11–16. This leads to an arrival on tonic. to ^3. while clearly secondary to the role of the left hand. During improvisation. The note A sharp. 31. possibly a very weak authentic cadence. which often emphasizes the downbeat. to reflect either a cadence or a re-launch of tonic harmony.12. Unrequited. at the downbeat of chorus 3. which supports A minor. the left hand is always presented as a syncopation relative to the downbeat. contrasting the repetitive motor rhythms of the right hand.13. middleground The C sharp remains an incomplete neighbor-note that proceeds to C natural in m. The left hand is always an eighth-note behind the downbeat.7 To help separate some of these parallel octaves. and 17–21). resolving with a passing tone to A sharp (or ƒ^4) over the F sharp major chord of m. (Subsequently the voice-leading analysis depicts a double arpeggiation of the tonic bass line. chorus 2.134 Example 4. The syncopation of the left hand 7.
societymusictheory.org/issues/mto.135 often creates suspensions and anticipations.9 Chorus 3 Chorus 3 continues the linear energy that has been building throughout chorus 2. In all three stages the right hand is secondary to the left hand’s melody. 20–24).8 Throughout chorus 2 the right hand ostinato increases in speed.0.alphonce. the right hand takes on a triplet form. 9. See Bo Alphonce.art.) The third stage (mm. .html (accessed January 28. This kind of “reckless counterpoint” indeed recalls some of Schumann’s piano textures as described by the late Bo Alphonce. 2002). In the second stage (mm.7. consult the published transcription in The Brad Mehldau Collection (Milwaukee: Hal Leonard. As secondary to the left hand. depending on its arrival relative to the chord over which it occurs. no. In the first stage (mm. quarter–eighth–eighth pattern. progressing through three stages. the second one more intense than the previous. These triplets coincide with the blues scale initiated at m. 21 the voice-leading analysis only considers the voice leading represented in the left hand. 1–19) the right hand is in a quarter–eighth– eighth. 2010).94.94. “Dissonance and Schumann’s Reckless Counterpoint. For a complete transcription of the right hand ostinato figures.” Music Theory Online 0. the long scale trajectory of Unrequited 8. 1. through chorus 3) begins a sixteenth-note ostinato that conveys a kind of perpetual motion. c. Chorus 3 ends prominently on ^2.0. 20. The numerous developments of chorus 1 and 2 lead to two climaxes in the final chorus. (Recall that the blues idiom began in the bass solo’s manipulation of the turn motive.7/ mto. a listener not aware of the length of each chorus may not perceive the beginning of chorus 3 as the left hand melody continues seamlessly through the arrival of the tonic in m. starting at m. 25ff. http://mto. 7 (1994). which suggests that up to the final solo chorus.
The left hand. filling in the implied harmony of each chord change. This climax allows the left hand to conclude its melodic function. in mm.d. Interrupted voice-leading structure in Unrequited Theme s. intertextual references to Chopin appear in other portions of this chorus (m. 23) and in the coda (as will be discussed in part 4.1. The left hand. arpeggiating a three-octave span. This “new bravura” figure is made additionally more complex by its three-beat grouping pattern. Figure 4. continues by repeating dotted quarter notes. 5–7. Together the left and right hand create a complex of syncopation against the prevailing meter. permitting the return of the right hand’s melodic control by m. This figure appropriately lasts three measures. This superposition represents a gradual shift to the obligatory register. 1 in C major. includes a third progression through superposition. 32 of the final solo chorus. which in mm. no.: ^5 Solos ^5 ^4 ^3 ^2 // V // Theme ^5 ^4 ^3 ^2 ^1 I VI Stufen: I The right hand provides the only signal of a new chorus by altering the sixteenthnote ostinato into its most virtuosic form. The primary register around G3 is set against a higher voice. 11.136 takes the music to a divider dominant at m. reminiscent of the Chopin etude. Figure 4. The rhythmic complexity here. combined with virtuoso playing in the right hand represents the first climax. when the right hand re- . meanwhile. op. often arpeggiates sixths. 10.1 illustrates this long-range tonal process. 1–13. creating a hemiola against the 2/2 meter. Indeed. below).
chorus 3. with voice leading analysis 137 .14. piano solo. Unrequited.Example 4.
14 (continued) 138 .Example 4.
Aß-ADD9/G: the left hand performs a side-slip to the side-slip! This AÁ‡ chordal accompaniment represents a kind of upper neighbor to the accompaniment in the second half of the bar. while implied every chorus. 17. incorporated an A-flat minor chord over essentially a G-minor harmony. is preceded by an improvisatory side-slip in chorus 3. however. rather than a chromatic half step. At m. The right hand is completely chromatic at this point. 15 embellished m. 14. The left hand accompanies the E-major content with a cluster that can be related to the Gminor chord of m.139 asserts its melodic role at m. as in the way the lower neighbor of m. The transition to the obligatory register is delayed. however. 11–14. A two-octave coupling. at the moment of the composed side-slip. 17. with a scalar descent into m. The tension created by this chromatic shift. 11. This transposes the essential content of the chord symbol up a whole step. This tension is an important indicator that the climax of the solo is imminent. by the right hand’s extremely high register of mm. 9–15. 18. and back down to D5 in m. . prolongs the dominant of G minor (as in previous choruses) from mm. The height of using the technique of side-slip becomes evident at m. This remains on the surface. from D4 to D6 in mm. leading to the climax of the solo. 16 by a chromatic lower neighbor. and does not become integral to the foreground. 16. discussed earlier. 10–13. (Many jazz musicians might presume that an effective side-slip always be off from the prescribed chord by a half step). 15 the right hand performs an E-major scale during the prolongation of the dominant of G minor (D‡Ô·/Fƒ). The composed “side-slip” at m.
16. 16–17. which is transferred to the left hand. This very closely follows the voice leading of the theme (see the foreground of example 4. The A flat functions as a lower chromatic neighbor to A natural in m. which is arrived through another virtuosic rise. at the arrival of G minor in m. The D that becomes transferred registrally from left to right hand in mm. echoing the voice leading of the third progression while continuing through a chromatic scale in m. Recalling that the F-‡Ð Š• of m. 17. In m. 15–17). The side slip. 22. beat 4. 18–19. arriving on the A flat at m. the first setting up the second. 21. the melody anticipates the following. This figure emphasizes the structural upper-neighbor of D flat as C sharp. 19 functions as a suspension to the F‡ chord in m. from C flat to A flat. the melodic line here reaches a maximum level of melodic fluidity. The C flat to A flat is again emphasized in mm. The second outburst results in the upper fifth of the structural neighbor.140 While most of the side-slips remain on the surface. G sharp. The figure in m. as the voice leading carries to an A by the end of m. mm. 20. The climax of the solo takes place in two outbursts. however.3. 23 . 1. By m. and its requirement to resolve up to A in m. creates an echo of this third progression in mm. 20. While not a real third progression (illustrated with brackets on the foreground of the sketch). 10–15 becomes part of a third progression down to B flat. Fƒ-−. 20. 19 in the obligatory register. a third progression associated with a side-slip articulates a parallelism that warrants inclusion into the foreground. the left hand illustrates the function of the A flat enharmonically reinterpreted as G sharp. 21 the right hand provides a rapid B flat minor arpeggiation that recalls the ostinato of m.
141 could be a direct quote from the Chopin Fantasie-impromptu, op. posth. (m. 7), perhaps conjured through a subconscious impulse. The left hand during the climax of mm. 23–24 has additional improvisatory complexity: the left-hand music ascends, complete with a passing tone, in a chordal texture, arpeggiating the third of the C-sharp minor triad. Several elements of the climax recalls chorus 1. First, the rise to G sharp references the strong motion to C-sharp minor (mm. 23–29). This also brings attention to the unusual structural neighbor note of the theme, as well as the unusual key area of Csharp minor (ƒVI) against the global key of E minor. Second, from m. 26 to 27 the right hand quotes, up an octave, the same melodic figure in chorus 1, m. 27. Third, from m. 28 to 29, the left hand quotes, down an octave, the same melodic figure of the right hand in chorus 1, m. 8. Special note regarding temporal planes and the climax Recalling example 4.5, two temporal planes divide the form into four distinct parts. First, temporal plane 1 occurs from mm. 1–16, corresponding to the harmonic rhythm of one harmony per measure. Second, there is a transition represented by the disjunctive boundary of mm. 17–20. Third, temporal plane 2 takes place from mm. 21– 28, and is defined by its “half-time” harmonic rhythm of one harmony per two measures. Temporal plane 2 also encapsulates the prolongation of the C-sharp minor harmonic region. Fourth, there is a return to the first temporal plane in mm. 29–32. The harmonic turn-around of these final four measures reinitiates E minor’s presence while returning to the harmonic rhythm of one harmony per measure.
142 At this point it will be useful to revisit the question of having a distinction between these two temporal planes. As I discussed in part 2 of this chapter, that the second plane exists at half the speed of the first in mm. 21–28 has implications for the surface. If a quarter note is used in mm. 1–16, it arguably sounds twice the speed in mm. 21–28, or as an eighth note. Melodic activity occurring at this slower plane sounds twice the speed. Further, this plane corresponds exactly with the climax of the solo. The twobar melodic figure of sixteenth notes in mm. 21–22 comes off to the listener as thirtysecond notes. The climax is thus made cogent by the timing of these virtuosic melodic figures during the “half-time” plane. The slower temporal plane effectively sets up a dizzying melodic “double-time” of virtuosity in mm. 21–24. Perceiving these two planes explains how one might hear the melodic sixteenthnote figure of mm. 21–24 as somehow faster than the sixteenth-note ostinato in the right hand at the beginning of the chorus, mm. 1–10. Furthermore, one will note that the ostinato figure of the right hand in chorus 2 also proceeds through its acceleration at the boundary between the two planes (chorus 2, mm. 15–20), which activates the general perception (even to the amateur listener) of an increase in activity. The calming aftermath of the climax, brought in part by a return to the first temporal plane, returns the music to E minor with a final, interrupted, fifth progression, bringing the entire piece to a climax through the tension brought to bear by this unresolved fifth-progression. While the C-sharp minor key emphasis is accompanied by events that recall the first chorus, the progression up to the interruption includes a summary of events from the second chorus: the left hand compound melody of unfolding
143 sixths and the first rhythmic ostinato figure of the right hand.10 While the interruption sets up the return of the theme and tonic, with the constant multiple arpeggiations of the tonic bass, multiple progressions in subsidiary keys (such as G minor and C-sharp minor), and the descent of the primary key’s melodic content, one is left wondering how the work will effectively come to an end. Would a final cadence in E minor be superfluous? Mehldau’s solution presents a tonal mystery that warrants special attention. Part 4. Aspects of Closure As revealed by the published score, Mehldau appends a fully composed coda to Unrequited (see example 4.15). Avoiding the obvious solution by simply ending the piece on the tonic, Mehldau replaces the expected authentic cadence with a deceptive one, from V to VI in the bass line. A chromatic descent in the bass and upper-voices draws the piece to a close on the final chord of A flat minor.11 This would seem to be quite an unlikely choice with which to close a piece in E minor. If one considers this a true modulation, this suggests a distant relation, from a one-sharp key signature to a seven-flat key signature. Before analyzing the voice leading of this passage, I would first observe how the close on A-flat minor evokes a Romantic-era effect. First, there is an intertextual reference to Chopin’s E minor prelude, which is summarized by a harmonic, chromatic descent, in which each voice separately pulling the others down as if by gravitational forces of voice leading. These forces are brought out by the bass’s descent, creating 7–6
10. These complex, self-referential quotes from prior choruses consequently blurs the distinction between composition and improvisation. 11. One might connect the choice of ending on A flat to the unusual chords of mm. 17–20 (recall example 4.7). The A flat, entirely absent during the theme, is now the final goal of the coda!
144 an nd 4–3 suspe ensions in th he upper voic ces. This fo orces the upp per voices to follow in an n in nevitable des scent. Secon nd, the specif fic choice of f the key of A flat is also o historically y suggestive of th he Romantic c era. As Eri ic McKee po oints out in a an analysis o of Schoenber rg’s Op. 19, no. 6, throughout t the nineteen nth century the t key area as of E and A flat had sug ggestive
12 meanings. m E major (wit th four sharp ps) represent ted life while A flat major (with fou ur
fl lats) represen nted death. These two keys, k when p placed in opp position, not t only represented distant key re elationships, they empha asized this du uality betwee en life and d death. Taken n to it ts extreme, A flat minor (with seven flats) could suggest an a additional “l lowness” to the ev vocations of f death, and consequently c y burial. He ere, Mehldau u seems enga aged with th hese an nachronistic meanings. This harmon nic descent i is further enh hanced by th he melodic re egistral descent, coexten nsive with the e voice leadi ing. Example E 4.15 5. Unrequite ed, score, cod da (mm. 33– –39)
Recalling the cycl lic repetition ns of the toni ic triad that p pervades the e piece including the e solo section), E minor seems to hav ve run its co ourse in the b bass. Perhap ps (i th he tonality of Unrequited d seeks a dif fferent final r resting place e. By understanding the e co oda’s progre ession to the chromatic mediant, m ƒIII, , or G-sharp, , rather than n A-flat, mino or,
12. See e Eric McKee, “On the Death h of Mahler: Sc choenberg’s Op p. 19, No. 6,” T Theory and Pra actice 30 0 (2005): 133-3 36. McKee writes, w “Simply stated, the sha arp/flat principl le holds that th he sharp side of f the ci ircle of fifths correlates to the e positive in hu uman experienc ce, the flat side e to the negativ ve” (133).
145 the Kopfton, B, is retained in the final chord. The Kopfton is additionally transferred through an octave coupling, returning again to the register of the left hand, bringing continuity to this register’s role during the bass and piano solos. A voice-leading analysis illustrates this final melodic descent to G sharp minor (example 4.16). Structurally, the voice leading suggests the bass line composes-out an E major triad, by way of arpeggiating members of the tonic, from E to B (repeatedly throughout the piece), to G sharp (in the coda). Given Mehldau’s previous tonal puns and classical borrowings of unexpected changes of modes (as observed in Sehnsucht, chapter 3), I propose that the coda serves to compose out a metaphorical picardy third. First, a picardy third is an embellishment; a minor-keyed piece that ends with a major third over the tonic is still regarded as a minor-based piece. Second, recognizing this embellishing function, Mehldau reserves this embellishment for a space that is beyond the form proper: the coda. The voice leading demonstrates a curious effort to create a kind of unrequited picardy third. In the voice-leading analysis of example 4.16, the tonic pitch is present for the first four measures of the coda, but in an inner-voice. At m. C5 of the coda, the tonic is forced down a half step, however, and the tonal center of E is lost. Eventually the register around this E3 bass voice returns to D sharp in the final measure. All voices have been shifted downward, including the tonic. Composing out a picardy third by way of ending with G sharp in the bass is indeed latent, since on the surface the music presents a minor triad. And yet during the performance, the melody does allude to the major mode when it passes for a brief moment through B sharp (as if about to conclude on a G sharp major harmony). There
Example 4.16. Unrequited, coda, with voice leading analysis
147 are a couple scenarios that would effectively produce a literal picardy third. In example 4.17, the first scenario illustrates how Mehldau briefly alludes to the major mode by anticipating the major third of the final chord, A flat. This simply alters the final state of the chord provided in the score. In the performance, however, with only slight hesitation the melody descends a half step further, to C flat, or to the Kopfton, B. In reality the C sharp (D flat in m. C6) serves as a dissonant seventh that passes chromatically through B sharp (or C) to the final pitch, B3 (or C flat). Example 4.17. Two scenarios for concluding with a picardy third
The second scenario illustrates what would happen if the tonic, E, had not been replaced by subposition of a lower bass voice. Elaborations over a tonic bass could generally support the upper three voices’ descent, with only slight modifications, particularly in mm. C4–C7. In contrast to scenario 1, where C4 is the goal, scenario 2 retains the actual pitch of B3 on the downbeat of the final two bars of the coda.
G sharp. a paradox is revealed by these interpretations of the coda: death on the surface (A flat minor) co-exists with life. This moment is enhanced by modern jazz techniques. even suggestive quotes from Chopin’s oeuvre. particularly death. The voice leading of the coda. other Romantic allusions. and enharmonic ambiguity. The coda provided a particularly “unrequited” ending to this song without words. Viewing this music through the lens of Schenkerian analysis and Samarotto’s complex Schenkerian approach to rhythm within that analytical context suggests to me a successful revival of tonal principles. and metric aspects with tonal analysis. Finally. the complex interaction of these tonal forces were revealed to have an important influence on the solos: the motivic turn-figure. multiple melodic strands. but also as a pre-composed idea represented on the score. comparing surface to structure. the tension of a structural neighbor serves as the pivotal enharmonic moment of B flat versus A sharp minor at m. by ending with the theme’s Kopfton. all in a traditional way. which was revealed not only as a factor within improvisation. over a bass that represents the major third of E major. Summary Having drawn attention to the conjoining of durational. rhythmic. reveals a kind of unrequited picardy third. is brought to bear by the coda’s final descent to A-flat minor in the score. such as the side-slip. 21. . In addition. however.148 While there have been some evocative intertextual references to Chopin. represented by the voice leading that composes out a picardy third (E major). B. merging two opposite meanings into an interpretation of the surface (representing death) and the structure (representing life). In particular. Unrequited is an advanced example of tonal music.
For a comprehensive study of free jazz. Though there are similarities with free jazz. 1994). from the 1998 album Art of the Trio. The first part is broken into three sections. 1. Bach’s Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments. P. Volume 3: Songs. Throughout the chapter. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Free Jazz (New York: Da Capo Press.1 I argue that the traditional use of the pedal point is an essential tonal strategy in Convalescent. see Ekkehard Jost. trans. Norton & Company. Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments. Though pedal points in jazz music permit any number of harmonic choices. William J.2 I revisit C. I address the question: how does this piece retain a tonal predisposition in the absence of chord changes. This is distinguished from “free jazz. and ed. In the first section I examine similarities between pedal points used in Convalescent with “organ pedals” as once demonstrated in C. and form? The chapter is divided into two major parts. This chapter discusses how aspects of the Baroque style of fantasy are transformed in Mehldau’s jazz setting. E. Bach’s Essay in order to locate common ground between Convalescent and the genre of the free fantasy. the primary focus here is demonstrating the nature of Convalescent as sharing important similarities with the free fantasy once defined by C. 149 . Mehldau operates within traditional constraints of harmonic and voice leading options reminiscent of the tonal era. E. Brad Mehldau employs the pedal point as a compositional device in a manner reminiscent of the free fantasy of the late Baroque. E. Together these musical parameters promote improvisational freedom. Bach.Chapter 5: Aspects of the Free Fantasy in Convalescent In Convalescent.” however. 1949). Mitchell (New York: W. The second section considers the eighteenth-century character of Mehldau’s combination of pedal point with free meter. P. W. 2. meter. in that it remains entirely tonal. By way of the free fantasy. P.
the free fantasy) with the closed (i.17).. tonal structure).14 to 5. . In spite of the openness of form created by a lack of meter. Part 2 of the chapter consists of a detailed voice-leading analysis of Convalescent. the tonic pedal ultimately helps to balance open elements of form (i.. The group’s choice to impose tonal constraints supports a reading of this piece as a modern adaptation of the free fantasy.e. Reconstructing tonal principles in Convalescent thus additionally suggests questions of genre. The voice leading analysis constructs a hermeneutic of convalescence that engages the artist’s struggle with extemporaneous creation (as will be illustrated in examples 5.150 Mehldau accesses older means of creating a tonal environment.e.
theme (with annotations) .151 Example 5.1. A transcription of Convalescent.
Convalescent.Example 5.2. theme. complete voice-leading analysis 152 .
This musical passage recalls a discussion of organ pedals by C. Next enters the piano with a sparse two-voice texture. The pedal. such as in example 5. C. Example 5. P. The tonic pedal adds a degree of harmonic tension as the resolutions from each 7–6 suspension take place in the upper voices. Example 5. merging with the musical texture.4. followed by Rossy’s subdued ride cymbal. E. 1–7) This passage warrants comparisons to an older style. and in contrary motion. The Pedal Point The bass plants the seeds of tonality in the opening moments. . one hears echoes of a J.3. P. and then decorating it by leaps to the dominant.153 Part 1. Essay. Convalescent. Bach. 320. Departing from a unison tonic. opening melody’s two-part counterpoint (mm. Aspects of the Free Fantasy I. who illustrated how the pedal can add harmonic sophistication to straightforward contrapuntal situations. S. a melodic duet moves stepwise. Bach’s figure 4023 (“strange signatures”) (“ordinary progressions”) 3. Bach. As the voices depart. first by establishing a tonic bass pedal. Bach organ prelude.4. sets the stage with grave affect. E. they become more independent and progress through a chain of 7–6 suspensions. like a slowly rising curtain.
While pedal points are frequently used as a compositional device in post bop jazz. Ibid. Bach (example 5. remarkably similar to illustrations by Bach. 433. the illustration of harmonic activity through the T–P–D–T cycle is not a prescript of Bach’s.”4 For this reason.154 In Bach’s illustration.. E. This is. favoring an earlier technique. Essay. “the bass [pedal] should be disregarded” when considering the harmonic content created by the upper voices that constitute the melody. Bach.5 In addition to a more normative progression masked by the bass pedal. the contrapuntal interaction in Convalescent cycles through typical harmonic schemes common of the tonal era. in particular. which represents the tonic arrival in the bass.e. figured bass notation when it is built on the pedal] turn out to be nothing more than the ordinary progressions of thorough bass [illustrated in the second version]. Bach treats the figures that accompany the second version as the bass. Indeed. “Defining Tonal Principles. which can be found in chapter 1. he presents two versions: the first (top) with figures in relation to the bass pedal.” . Essay. This inner voice represents the tenor of the first version. differs from typical jazz pedal points.6 The pedal point in Convalescent. appearing to consider the subdominant. part 2. an additional bass pedal (presumably the G dominant pedal is the primary focus of this illustration). the Tonic–Predominant–Dominant–Tonic cycle (hereafter T–P–D–T). 4. except for the final pitch. 319. 6. To be sure. the second (bottom) with figures in relation to an inner voice from the first version. Bach discusses how “the strange signatures [i. P. Interestingly. rather. Mehldau distances himself from a post-bop style. based on my adaptation of Joseph Straus’s fifth criterion for defining tonality. Bach. 5. F. an examination of harmony created by the melody reveals further similarities with figured bass examples illustrated by C.5).
7 There is an acknowledged contradiction in this definition. E. p. 433. 202. However. 4 8 9 11 12 13 16 Convalescent ≤ £°≥ g: I »™‡ ×£‡ Š»− »@ Ô@ ¢ﬁ ˚›± ×∆› IV ¢»‡ ¢ﬁ V ˚— I –‡ @ Š»‡ ¢— ˚‡ ¢»− Ô∆− »‡ ° ™¦ –ﬁ V I Vπ IV V Vπ IV ° % ‡ £‡ @ §»‡ ( ° ) % ! ! @ ‡ % (£°)Š‡ # ¢— ! C. Modern definitions of the pedal have blurred the distinction within which the pedal point operates in tonal and post-modern traditions.5. Stefan Kostka and Dorothy Payne. the pedal point often has such tonal strength that the harmonies seem to be embellishing the pedal point rather than the other way around. (Boston: McGraw-Hill. states in their chapter titled “Non-Chord Tones [Part] 2. Stefan Kostka and Dorothy Payne. Clarifying the differences between modern and eighteenth-century accounts is important for identifying the way pedal points are treated in Convalescent. instead forcing any dissonant harmonies above to resolve back to one that is consonant with the originating bass pedal. Tonal Harmony: With and Introduction to TwentiethCentury Music. Bach. 2009). then becomes an NCT as the harmonies around it change. The pedal point has been defined by several authors as a type of non-harmonic tone (or non-chord tone). P. 6th ed. P. adapted from Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments. . E.” The pedal point is a compositional device that begins as a chord tone. in Tonal Harmony.155 Example 5. On the one hand. and finally ends up as a chord tone when the harmony is once more in agreement with it. unique for its inability to resolve. figure 472. the pedal represents the dissonance relative to the harmonies (hence. its ascribed status as 7. Bach m. Tonal cycling in Convalescent and in an illustration by C. The other… NCTs…are clearly decorative and are always dependent on the harmony for their meaning.
Tonal Harmony. 10.”11 In jazz music. Norton.” Kostka and Payne. 483. Those harmonies. clearly intended as a practical. “The pedal is the one exception among the nonharmonic tones in that it is not melodic. 9. or even as a dissonant element in a chord. the device seems far from the implications of its name. he merges traditional definitions of the pedal point with post-tonal compositional techniques.8 Walter Piston. . even though the accompanying harmony may go far afield. asserted vigorously or subtly but always definitely. Ibid. Piston notes later that “the most important means of defining a tonal center. 202. when the pedal is used as a compositional technique. 11. In light of this pedagogical clarity. in the absence of a preceding dominant. As subsequently developed by composers. Walter Piston. “This sounds more complicated than it is. notes. 1987). stating. became and remained the solitary tonic element in itself. Ibid. 8. … The strength of tonality inherent in the pedal makes it a very effective device for establishing or maintaining a key.156 “non-chord tone”). 132. 5th ed. in his definition.” 9 Following this caveat. W. on the other hand. (New York: W. are required to move back to a consonant position with the bass because.. Even in works considered to be tonal. it creates an opportunity for colorful harmonic combinations. The term pedal originated as descriptive of the natural procedure of holding down an organ pedal key while improvising on the manuals above. pedagogical aid. Historical and stylistic criteria are absent from this definition. however. however. the harmonies are also dissonant relative to the bass. whether as a triad or as a single pitch used somewhat like a pedal point. Harmony. ironically the authors add.10 This last sentence is more indicative of the looser use of a pedal.
22ff). Indeed. 1 (tonic or dominant). I use “key” here only to assert a tonic. A central characteristic of Naima is the proliferation of “sus” chords. For convenience. the bass resolves to the tonic on the downbeat of bar 4. 13.12 The key of Naima is A flat major.157 once the adhesive of a tonic or dominant pedal is applied. analyzed by jazz theorists as poly-chords and sideslips. the pedal point in post-bop music frequently has little to do with establishing tonality and more to do with conjuring exotic imagery. “Defining Tonality. This leads to further tonal disorientation when it resolves to the E flat in m.” p. see chapter 3. At bar 4 there is a fleeting sense of closure: in the original recording of Naima. The piece’s slow tempo and quiet dynamics creates a mysterious and otherworldly musical affect. such as in John Coltrane’s Naima (example 5. taking us further from the tonic. E flat. I do not wish to confuse the notion of Naima.6). Following the above definitions. The B section features a pedal point on B flat. since one might expect the resolution of the B-flat dominant seventh to resolve to a tonic. or any of the following post bop examples.13 The opening bass. For differences between jazz sus chords and the traditional contrapuntal technique of the suspension. only to return immediately to the dominant pedal. any harmony can be applied to the surface without suggesting a loss of tonal center or key. is a dominant pedal. . though it might be construed as a secondary dominant. one finds typical applications of pedal points in post-bop music that often lead to striking dissonant harmonies. the dominant of the dominant. 12. The musical effect of the B section is that of a bass standing on the dominant. indicated both through the signature and the closing harmony of AßMaj7. part 2. as being of the same tonal “dialect” that I explore in Mehldau’s tonal works (see chapter 1.
creating its own sense of tonal closure. . oscillating tonic and subdominant chords. tonal ambiguity is the main function of the pedal in Naima. in order to depart to another key area in the B section. and continuing in reverse direction of the circle of fifths. Only at the coda does the bass definitively assert the tonic.6. harmonic reduction Traditionally the pedal’s function is to impart a clear tonal center. Ultimately. the use of a pedal point serves not to establish a tonal center. but only to suggest possibilities of a tonal center. Normatively one would expect the A section to confirm tonic. Likewise the B section suggests the dominant area by including secondary dominant sus chords. 1959). back to A flat and then up to D flat. Naima infers tonic with the variety of dominant sus chords.158 Example 5. fleetingly arriving on tonic at the cadence of bar 4. from A flat to E flat. In Naima. however. Naima (John Coltrane.
through T–P–D–T). a guitarist might find the opening parallel motion particularly intuitive. Instead. which outlines the planed harmony. 1947).e. Consequently. an idiomatic harmonic sequence would have dramatic implications for both the musical affect and melodic construction (see example 5.15 Melody is derived from the harmonic content. The melody also exploits the use of consecutive fifths.. Each triad is presented in the same register. features a tonic pedal from the outset. similar to Convalescent. and sliding down the neck. pedal notes in the bass often allow for dissonant. Had Green Dolphin Street been composed using traditional voice leading constraints. The exoticism would be lost in this hypothetical composition that recalls C.7). Green Dolphin Street (Bronislau Kaper and Ned Washington. however. and often planed. the chord progression does not feature any kind of idiomatic tonal cycling (i.159 Green Dolphin Street (example 5. harmonies.7. the melody. Unlike Convalescent. on the other hand. contrasted with the “Swing” style in the B and C sections. Originally. P. Bach’s examples. harmonic reduction The move through the T–P–D–T scheme over a pedal point may be uncommon in jazz. Further. . In addition. A section. Green Dolphin Street features an exotic effect through the use of planed descending triads over tonic pedal.14 Parallel harmonic motion is the primary characteristic of the opening phrase. Example 5. there is no concern for voice leading principles (note the planing of parallel fifths). following the chord changes with the same finger position. would have to be fundamentally changed in 14. which outlines all but one of the triads. E.8). the A section was played in a “Latin” jazz style. 15.
As with the previous examples. The first eight bars’ material is transposed down a whole step in mm.160 order to accommodate the idiomatic harmonic progression (this re-composition is not shown).nor dominant-based. Example 5. the use of the pedal here seems primarily intended to blur—rather than to establish—tonality. Lydian-based harmonies in the B section. The bass pedal is suggestive of a minor II harmony. but with no intention of realizing the V–I portion. for the pedal is neither tonic. The contrasting B section beginning in bar 17 destroys any fleeting sense of tonal coherence. as if extracted and frozen within an idiomatic II–V–I progression. with classical realization of harmony over tonic pedal “classical” version: ° ! ‡ % Ô£‡ @ ∆ §‡ % ° ! Joe Henderson’s Black Narcissus (example 5. . suggesting a pentatonic collection. 9–16.8. Green Dolphin Street. The opening eight bars of A flat in the bass oscillates Aß-‡ and Bß-‡ chords.9) is unusual by jazz theory standards. The AA’B form features pedals in the A sections and planed.
Joseph N. NJ: Prentice-Hall. focused on specific pitch classes or triads. That is.”17 By no 16. In his discussion of pedal points in post-tonal music. but not all centric music is tonal. 2005). Straus states. Joseph N. This is probably why jazz theorist Mark Levine broadly defines the pedal as “playing a series of chords over the same bass note. 131. “All tonal music is centric. the use of pedal points in jazz has more in common with post-modern practices of the early twentieth century. Introduction to Post-Tonal Theory. Straus. with no voice leading constraints. there are few specific tonal requirements for the compositional use of pedal points in jazz music.9. Mark Levine. The pedal may allude to tonality by assertion. 344. as a technique.161 Example 5. . Viewed in this light. 17. (Upper Saddle River. no traditional application of voice leading and typical harmonic schemes are required. 3rd ed. CA: Sher Music Company. Any series of chords may be layered on top of the static bass. Black Narcissus (Joe Henderson. 1975) To summarize.”16 Exploiting colorful harmonic arrangements is one result. The pedal point typically is an assertion of a single pitch class. 1995). The Jazz Theory Book (Petaluma.
Essay. The pedal serves to prolong the originating harmony. 431. There are specific principles for establishing the tonal center using a pedal point that Convalescent follows. 19. but the work concludes with a coda that features melodic elaborations over a tonic pedal as well. . such as in Convalescent. He later adds that pedals can be used at the conclusion as well (“A tonic organ point is convenient for establishing the tonality at the beginning and end”). P. “At the start the principal key must prevail for some time so that the listener will be unmistakably oriented. C. when discussing the improvisation of a free fantasy. This harmonic progression is characterized by consonant starting and ending points. For instance.19 I have already discussed the opening tonic pedal in Convalescent as a curtainrise. A tonal trajectory is thus created. in Harmony and Voice Leading. Bach.”18 Since any number of keys could be visited. Ibid.162 means is the use of pedals in jazz aimed at establishing a hierarchical tonal environment. and returning to the tonic (following the T–P–D–T cycle). 432. A harmonic progression establishes necessary consonant–dissonant conditions to impart a sense of tonality. the pedal’s primary purpose was to establish the tonal center. it was essential to establish the tonal center. E. moving harmonically away from the tonic. Edward Aldwell and Carl Schachter. intended to govern over the work. with intermediate dissonant harmonies (relative to the stable bass).. to the predominant and dominant. often accomplished through counterpoint in the upper voices. In the classical tradition. “[A] pedal point can be one of the strongest aids to extending or prolonging a chord. for the 18. Bach states. state.
Indeed. these features are illustrated in the melody of Convalescent. The departure away from consonance leads specifically to harmonies of a typical tonal framework (such as T–P–D–T). A chord is prolonged by beginning and ending with the originating consonant harmony. however. Some of these chords may be dissonant against the bass. The use of harmonies over pedal points in jazz music typically coincide with only some of the criteria enumerated by Aldwell and Schachter.. Quite often. However. 40-41. 2 (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. which are characterized by its contrapuntal texture. but they also capture the opening of Convalescent: Sometimes a pedal point supports a single chord prolonged by figuration or imitative counterpoint. Green Dolphin Street begins and ends with the same consonant harmony. Harmony and Voice Leading. Second. the motion of the upper voices produces a succession of chords.”20 The following observations refer to pedal points of the tonal era. 41.163 bass tone…persists audibly through the transient. this is perfectly good if the chord succession and voice leading make sense. Aldwell and Schachter point to surface features associated with pedal points. Edward Aldwell and Carl Schachter. Most often a pedal point begins and ends with a statement of the chord it prolongs. 21. In addition.” Dissonances among the upper parts themselves. vol. subordinate chords above it. 21 First. Leaps involving dissonances against the bass are also good. the progression I-IV-V7-I is particularly frequent over a tonic pedal (emphasis added). Ibid. must be prepared and resolved normally. however. there is no tonal framework that cycles through a T–P–D–T tonal scheme. . 1979). from the contrapuntal surface to the sophisticated middleground. dissonances in the 20. Convalescent follows all these criteria. Aldwell and Schachter provide harmonic constraints for prolonging a harmony. they need not be “resolved. For instance.
24 Each chorus is a different length. January 2. As a student of the New School (and by extension. The Free Fantasy Transformed In the absence of a consistent meter. 22. Perhaps unrecognized by Mehldau. Mannes College) in the early 1990s. but that it become abandoned. since the choruses cannot follow the harmonic events provided in the theme. 23. “chorus” should not be taken literally as something that is distinguished between itself and a verse. solo choruses are difficult to define. Jazz compositions that use pedal points seem more aligned with those definitions of Kostka and Payne or Piston that also encompass early twentieth century practice. There are two solo choruses in Convalescent. these tonal criteria indeed may be imprinted in Mehldau’s subconscious.” I am keeping with the basic conventions of identifying parts of a jazz solo. These definitions permit a variety of harmonic options. however.or eighth-note subdivision suggests that predetermined metric constraints alone cannot predetermine goal-orientation.1).164 upper voices are not prepared and resolved traditionally.22 II. Since counting bars is not feasible. the tonal criteria observed by Aldwell and Schachter correspond with the compositional approach in Convalescent. Mehldau has mentioned that a simple meter begins as a basis for solos. By referring to a “chorus. where the music is held together by either a quarter. 24. held only by a basic pulse. throughout the analysis of the solos I will refer to time points from the recording (figure 5. This requires the analyst to find other signals by which the soloist might end a phrase. . In this context. Due to the open form of the solo sections. 2010.23 Instead. signals of tonal closure (complete with departure and return to the same tonic. combined with absence of meter) are reminiscent of the free fantasy as once defined by Bach. As confirmed by the composer in an e-mail message to the author.
for the performance must soon come to 25.” but he later explicitly states the importance of the tonic in relation to other keys: When only little time is available for the display of craftsmanship.10. 430. The articulation of melodic phrase-endings is an adequate indicator that signals the end of each chorus. Bach writes. which are composed or improvised in meter. Each chorus ends with a distinct. the performer should not wander into too remote keys. these musical elements evoke the genre of the free fantasy. “A fantasia is said to be free when it is unmeasured and moves through more keys than is customary in other pieces. Example 5. As I have argued. scalar descending gesture reminiscent of a Baroque keyboard figure.165 Figure 5.10.”25 In the first part of the definition Bach does not quantify what constitutes moving “through more keys than is customary. . Bach. Essay. and indeed it is difficult to assert that there are any choruses at all from which to distinguish. Summary of solo durations in Convalescent Piano Chorus 1: 0:53 – 1:56 (63 seconds) Piano Chorus 2: 1:56 – 3:20 (84 seconds) Bass Solo: 3:20 – 4:24 (64 seconds) Free improvisation departs from a tonic pedal. Conclusions of chorus 1 and chorus 2 The use of the pedal point and absence of meter are two primary characteristics of Convalescent.1. as illustrated in example 5.
interprets Bach’s words. “The Art of Improvisation. Moreover. Ian Bent (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.”in The Masterwork in Music: A Yearbook. ed. the tonic is asserted for a longer time than other key areas. Essay. G minor is clear (1) at the end of the first and beginning of the second chorus of piano solo (1:54–2:42. 1. The theme itself never modulates. which I will discuss presently. fourteen seconds). and (3) from the return of the theme through the 26. The piano solo begins with tonic pedal and does not depart into other key areas until 1:30 of the recording. In addition. lasting thirty-three seconds. 27.26 Not only does the tonic key frame the composition.27 Convalescent achieves an unmistakable tonal center exactly in the way Bach describes the free fantasy’s principal key. In concrete terms. Schenker. The coda that concludes Convalescent also incorporates a tonic pedal point. “Bach insists on a principal key to be used in equal proportion in longer and shorter fantasies alike. which I have discussed at length. Schenker construes this passage as one of two essential steps in Bach’s discussion that serendipitously constitutes “a theory of tonality. (2) the beginning of the bass solo (3:19–3:33. so as not to lose the tonal center. forty-eight seconds). while the duration of the theme is fifty seconds. as well as at the conclusion. the principle key must not be left too quickly at the beginning nor regained too late at the end. stating.166 an end. in particular. but Schenker seems to believe psychologically that in order not to lose sight of the tonal center. Schenker. a sense of G minor. At the start the principle key must prevail for some time so that the listener will be unmistakably oriented. Proportionally. but it must be used at a certain proportion to those satellite keys. “The Art of Improvisation. vol. tonic must be asserted at an equal proportion to the other key areas. and even promote. The tonic is asserted at the beginning. trans.” Bach never explicitly states a proportion of equal duration.” The first step involves establishing a principal key. Schenker. Bach.” 4. the A section consists only of tonic pedal. William Drabkin. and instills the key of G minor unequivocally during those fifty seconds. 4. And again before the close it must well be prolonged as a means of preparing the listener for the end of the fantasia and impressing the tonality upon his memory. This includes the occurrence of predominant and dominant harmonies that retain. . 431. the second step involves using the principal key more than other key areas. 1994).
with the exception of chromatic passages used for a particular effect. P. but not prescribed for the divisions of the entire piece. 31.167 coda (4:25–5:53.29 Example 5. E. P. E. Bach’s strict definition excludes pieces “improvised in meter. The other component of Bach’s definition of the free fantasy is just as telling for us: a free fantasy would seem to require a certain metric looseness.” In the absence of meter.11. common time is indicated. In total.”31 Ultimately. bar lines are always omitted. Bach. those who would assume jazz automatically embodies aspects of the free fantasy might consider that C. Bach. Ibid. Essay. 29. C. eighty-eight seconds). a degree of metric looseness imparts a degree of notational imprecision. the listener is “unmistakably oriented” to G minor for 240 seconds. 28 He also prescribes that. Indeed. or absence of meter altogether. 439. For this reason. Essay. Bach did not intend for the pacing of harmonic content to flow discontinuously. or four out of six-minutes: two-thirds of this piece references the principal key of G minor. 430. “Broken chords must not progress too rapidly or unevenly”30 Bach also remarks on the conventions of metric notation within the free fantasy: “As usually notated. improvised chords should be evenly-paced (example 5.. 30. . 153. While this is a challenge 28. Ibid. Bach’s figure 477.11).
as labeled in example 5..168 that I confront in the methodology portion of this study (chapter 2. While the theme contains specific metric indications. pp. This plane is a stable 2/2 meter (with the exception of m. This “Ominous” section increases the gravity of the music. part 2. and I identify this plane as having a “Grave” character. Referring to figure 5. See Frank Samarotto. diss. such as in the solos. “Transcription”). Paradoxically. 2010. 33. 1999). 6. January 2. the third plane has a pulse of a dotted half-note. This acceleration takes place alongside a circle of fifths sequence that seems intended to move the action along.32 which is essential for the ensemble’s coordination. conveyed by the bass line progression. and I identify this plane as “double-time. As confirmed by the composer in an e-mail message to the author. an additional challenge lies in identifying how the free fantasy works in a piece that contains elements that are metrically clearer (even predetermined). Also see chapter 4. . part 2. While the first plane had a pulse of a half note. This plane is characterized by a pulse twice the speed of the first (now a quarter note). and trumps the 32. The City University of New York.1). that which is predetermined in the theme seems intended to signal the extemporized. The second plane takes place in the first half of the B section (part 3). and elements that are metrically ambiguous.” The third plane takes place in the second half of the B section (part 4). I propose three metrical identities in the theme of Convalescent.D. which is elongated to 3/2). such as in the theme.2. “A Theory of Temporal Plasticity in Tonal Music: An Extension of the Schenkerian Approach to Rhythm with Special Reference to Beethoven’s Late Music” (Ph. the compulsive shifts of tactus throughout the theme serves as an evocative indicator for metric freeness. 102-110. The bass helps to establish the half note pulse. These identities correspond with three temporal planes. which returns to a slower pulse.33 The first plane is represented in the A section (parts 1 and 2 of the theme.
Measures 29–30 represent a transition to the first plane.” beyond the 34. Bach. it can accomplish the aims of the recitative at the keyboard with complete. Bach’s analogy of the free fantasy likened to a recitative. While I have identified these perceptual metric shifts in the theme. These three planes. unhampered by such trappings. imparts a sense of freedom. Hence. It is a distinct merit of the fantasia that. Three temporal planes in Convalescent section: A (parts 1 and 2) m. for each meter carries a kind of compulsion [emphasis added] within itself. 153.2. subtitled Songs. of “unbarred” music.169 initial “Grave” identity of the first plane. unmeasured freedom. providing closure to the theme. In the above passage. Unbarred free fantasias seems especially adept at the expression of affects. . 2/2 h qq Plane 1 Plane 2 (Plane 1) In the larger context of the album. 1 B (part 3) 19 B (part 4) 23 30 identity (affect): Grave tactus: primary meter: subdivision: Double-time Ominous Grave qq 2/2 h ee 5/4 q qqq Plane 3 3/4 h. imposed by changes of tactus. the metric signature is in many such cases more a convention of notation than a binding factor in performance. when he states. Essay. At least it can be seen in accompanied recitatives that tempo and meter must be frequently changed in order to rouse and still the rapidly alternating affects. Bach refers to the mixing of affects much in the way an operatic recitative includes abrupt shifts in rhythm and meter. and initiating solos. Convalescent is indeed a song without words.34 Figure 5. the compulsions of “rapidly alternating affects. This recalls a passage by Bach.
A transcription of the coda in example 5. Thematically the coda opens with a melodic outburst derived from m. by contrast. the transcription itself is a loose representation of rhythmic activity. An ensemble. the coda is extemporized with only a basic pulse. such as the trio. the beginning of the B section. communication has a spontaneous aspect. the genre was designed for soloists whose compositional skill was favored as much as technical competency. especially as the music departs from tonic . performers rely on other musical parameters to signal to others of changes in harmony and phrase endings. (In the absence of meter.12 illustrates an amalgam of features that point to the free fantasy: the music reaffirms the principal key through the use of the pedal point.) The coda also serves to reaffirm the tonic through harmonic processes representative of the Baroque era (see example 5.170 theme’s shifts of temporal planes.13). Though the free fantasy imparted certain restrictions for the improviser during the tonal era. Like the A section of the theme. Grenadier strives to follow Mehldau’s harmonic changes. Some attention to complications of adapting the free fantasy within the context of a small ensemble is in order. Like the solo section. must coordinate aspects of phrasing and form that would provide tonal coherence. Consequently. Pitch content is of primary importance. no prevalent meter is detected. 19. In solo sections. and this method will be followed for the remainder of the analysis. and takes place in the midst of free improvisation. is particularly brought to bear in the coda to Convalescent. While Rossy provides a common pulse during the solo. the coda exclusively utilizes tonic pedal. Rests between melodic gestures go unaccounted in this representation. however.
Example 5. coda 171 .12. Convalescent.
we must return to Mehldau’s interest of the nineteenth century (see chapter 1. The unusually long opening of the tonic pedal. Listening to Convalescent. Harmonic processes within the coda to other key areas. The genre of the free fantasy is reinvigorated by the ensemble. The fluctuations that generate three differing temporal planes in the theme add an additional improvisatory effect. S. One Romantic-era trait was the appropriation of Baroque music through the revival of J. but I have also demonstrated that compositional constraints engage precepts of this earlier time. S. part 2. even by jazz standards. Bach’s organ preludes. Bach. I have suggested that Convalescent can be placed into a late-Baroque or early-Classical context. I can imagine Mehldau improvising over a tonic pedal in keeping with the prescripts of Bach. resembles a Baroque musical image as captured . To place these observations into an analytical context. There are superficial musical elements that places this music in an earlier time. allow for contrapuntal interactions in the upper voices to seemingly float over the bass. reminiscent of J. for it contains both closed forms (represented by the theme) and open forms (represented by the solos. “Four Hypotheses”). which are not determined by the theme’s structure).172 Example 5. too. Convalescent. Convalescent is a difficult composition to understand.13.
reveal that there are recurring elements that create continuity in the theme.35 This gravity suggests an underlying inevitability. E. finally. 319). however. there is a clear emphasis on the Romantic aesthetic. A rounded binary form is concealed by metric irregularities. This stoicism comes from the grave character established by the opening pedal. P. One should note. The title suggests recovery from illness. P. Essay. The following analysis will attempt to synthesize the two historical contexts: on the one hand the piece recreates a Baroque genre while. Part 2. Convalescence often involves not a full recovery but the acceptance and adaptation of living with a debilitating ailment. Analysis of Convalescent Formal Analysis Before investigating the qualities of this piece that point to a free fantasy closely aligned with C. C. to the struggle for recovery. Bach’s description. beginning with discovery of ailment. a basic familiarity with the form of the theme is necessary. and has overtones of Romanticism. A hermeneutic analysis suggests a tonal narrative. on the other. however. The theme recalls Baroque compositional strategies that emphasize economy of musical materials and impeccable design while the solo brings out Romantic virtuosic techniques that delve into both introverted and extroverted elements of the psyche. E. appropriate gravity” (Bach. 23 confirms the 35. to acceptance of the condition. that there is a certain amount of stoicism conveyed in the music. and. . even before one has a chance to come to any terms of acceptance. A thematic return of the ascending G minor scale at m. Thematic parallelisms. Bach states that the pedal “adds a final.173 through the lens of the Romantics’ rediscovery of Bach.
Figure 5. (The voice-leading analysis of example 5. 9–11). The sequence around the circle of fifths progression also creates a 5–10 linear intervallic pattern. The first time this melodic material is presented. alternating seventh chords in first inversion and root position triads (see voice leading analysis. the rhythmic activity increases by incorporating syncopated figures and faster rhythms.3. in m. 19 with the top voice’s first three pitches of mm. example 5. Second.174 reprise of the opening theme in Convalescent. the digression borrows material from the beginning of part 2 (compare the top voice’s first three pitches. 19 serves as a digression within the rounded binary model.) First. First. the trio performs rhythmic punctuations together.1) and the voice leading analysis (example 5. contrasting its freer interactions within the A section. a circle of fifths sequence breaks from the tonic pedal. Synopsis of rounded binary form of Convalescent. Third.2 helps reveal the thematic elements that signal a two-reprise form.2). and moves the tonal action forward.) HC’ Formal Description: Main Theme Subsections: Part 1 ||: Part 2 Harmonic activity: Tonic pedal || Digression :|| Part 3 || circle of fifths Rounding Part 4 || || || 23 (cons. theme Lead Sheet Labels: A Measures: 1 || B 19 (ant.3 presents a schematic for the rounded binary. it initiated a build of melodic energy in the duo.2). while the trio performs more uniformly. re-attaining . ascending through an octave coupling. Thematically. D–F–E flat.) 9 P-D-T closing || Several elements indicate that the new material at m. which uses corresponding labels in the theme (example 5. each section (labeled A and B) symmetrically divides into two subsections. Figure 5.
The authentic cadence is elided with the beginning of the solo section. The circle of fifths sequence takes the music completely through the progression I–IV–VII–III–VI–II–V. . This results in a quicker presentation (as seen in example 5. though. bridged by a brief tonic pedal “vamp. Other than “free jazz” performances that often depart into atonality.” Voice-leading analysis: Preliminaries Since solos depart from a tonic pedal. Rather than proceed through the circle of fifths.36 For instance.1). The end of the circle of fifths takes the music to a half cadence at m. propelling it through another harmonic sequence. This second time. new modulatory possibilities are explored in the piano and bass solos. and the predictability of eight-bar subsections. Just as the digression from part 3 borrows thematic material from section 1 to initiate a harmonic sequence. The opening (part 1) featured half notes in 2/2 meter while part 4 opens with quadruplet quarter notes set in 3/4 time. This half cadence represents the point of interruption for the large scale design. 22. Following the half cadence at m. though. 22 is a clear return of the opening theme. too. similar melodic energy is harnessed into a harmonic sequence. The bass line supports a final melodic descent that closes on the tonic with no third. What fundamentally separates this work’s solo section from traditional tonal jazz pieces is the absence of predetermined phrase lengths. does this final section share the opening theme of part 1. a closural process takes the music through a double arpeggiation in the progression II–V–I–ƒIV–V–I (see example 5. D. hypermeter. While not uncommon to perform free improvisations.2). I am referring to the unusual setting of an ensemble performing in such a free context. the solo section stands in 36. so. A different metric presentation rhythmically transforms the reprised theme.175 the Kopfton. I am interested in examining this group’s interaction in a free but exclusively tonal environment.
with Unrequited as track 2 and Convalescent as track 6. The lack of chordal accompaniment is unusual for a jazz piano solo.176 complete contrast to the aspects of temporal plasticity discussed in Unrequited (chapter 4). even when the harmonic structure is not predetermined and the group’s coordination is tested. When the left hand takes on the role of melody in the second chorus. numerous unfoldings (often with suspensions). having arrived at a secondary dominant of IV at 1:14 of the recording (see example 5. These are the only two pieces that share this type of presentation of a virtuosic. and suspensions. Mehldau foregoes any chordal accompaniment in the left hand. While multiple voices are brought to bear in the solo. The group meanwhile is free to respond to each other’s tonal and rhythmic decisions. One will note the similarities of technique between this improvisation and Unrequited. seems to retain a broader sense of tonal order. obbligato right hand to the primary melody in the left hand. the piano solo departs from the tonic. the right hand engages in sixteenth-note arpeggiated runs. and modulations to several harmonic regions. through techniques involving unfolding. Yet there are predictable voice-leading paths taken in Mehldau’s solo that allow for prolongational analysis. Grenadier begins by vamping on the tonic pedal. Mehldau’s voice leading. these techniques are without a metrical context. After a II–V–I not previously heard in the theme (at 1:11).37 The lack of a chordal texture suggests a marked attempt to convey a contrapuntal approach to improvisation and tonality. Remarkably. neighboring and passing tones. Before analyzing the voice leading. The track sequence of the album separates the two pieces.14). compound melody. This roughly corresponds to part 2 of the theme. which in his solo includes the use of compound melody. . a few important topics 37.
The Kopfton. Mehldau frequently exploits this pitch as a D flat. however. 8. G.” and must follow the lower voice’s descent. . and major–minor ambiguity. or patient. Voice transfer The tonic pedal by mm. D flat. The top voice accordingly is the “patient. The C sharp moves directly to C natural. particularly when moving into “flat” keys during the remoter tonal regions explored. a dissonant fourth above the bass pedal. The apparent rest on the dominant in m. The bottom voice. This pitch ambiguously functions as either ƒ^4 or ß^5. with the final resolution of the top voice from B to A. longer sustained tones.177 from the theme will be addressed. Tonal conventions suggest that C sharp is the pitch. 7–8 has sufficiently established the key of G minor. Cƒ–Dß ambiguity The two voices at the beginning of the theme quickly depart from a unison into a chain of 7-6 suspensions.3). voice transfer. is coupled an octave lower in m. and the introduction of chromatic passing tones in the top voice (see examples 5.2 and 5. but its chromatic descent suggests that it functions simultaneously as a chromatic passing tone. In the solo. Each subsequent resolution (totaling three) of the dissonant seventh to the consonant sixth is slowed through ornamentation. especially when the lower voice arrives on C sharp. as they motivate the improvisation during the solo. and the effects of the dissonance becomes more noticeable. The score and voice leading illustrates a C sharp in both places. 23–26. The topics are Cƒ– Dß ambiguity. Each resolution is more slowly teased out. 8 may confuse one into losing track of the agent of the initial 7–6 chain: the lower voice has now come to rest on C4. The same descent takes place in mm. functions as the instigator (or agent) for each 7-6 suspension.
the tonicization of B flat major (which is the relative key). This ambiguity would seem to be by design. is the dissonance required to resolve. This evidence extends into two recordings of the same piece. Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 007 (CD). and the final preparation of the dominant in m.13). the fourth of the bass. C minor. . particularly as Mehldau explores key areas as distantly related as B flat minor and B major. or completely absent through the final chord (see examples 5. 25 strongly asserts B flat in the theme. but it never resolves. The top voice now becomes the agent. Major–Minor ambiguity (Bß versus B½) One will note that both perfect authentic cadences. at m.38 There are implications for the solo section. This comes to bear particularly in the first solo chorus. An earlier performance from 1993 features a B flat in the same place. Despite the lack of third in the final chord. for instance. 24 of the present analysis there is a B natural. which will now be examined. Parts 2 and 3. When I Fall in Love. 1993. The end of the coda features a suspension of C4 in a middle voice. However. This leaves the quality of third forever in question. At m. representing ^3 of the foreground’s Urlinie.178 This reverses the roles of the two voices. as if by 2–3 suspension (ignoring the bass pedal). begin with a major-tonic chord and lowered seventh. (a “V‡ of IV”). 9–12). 38. B natural does appear throughout the theme. conclude with open octaves and fifths. This reversal sparks a melodic energy between the two voices that initiates a transfer of register for both voices in part 2 of the form (mm. This occurs at the beginning of the coda as well. and represents an ambivalence of modal identity. The constant move to the minor subdominant.” Suddenly the voice represented by C4. Neither cadence presents a tonic triad. the tonality of G minor is not in question. forcing the bottom voice into the role of “patient.12 and 5. see Mehldau and Rossy Trio. 16 and 27.
reaffirming the key of G minor. This usage is suggestive: given the relative rarity of this progression in the tonal repertory. each time emphasizing transformations between the roles of subtonic and leading tone. The initial improvised theme references a disfigured form of the opening melody: from G–A–Bß–D to G–A–Bß–Cƒ. peaking instead at a dissonant tritone. Attempts of recovery (either psychologically or corporally). Mehldau incorporates boundary play at two separate times surrounding ^7.15) of the first chorus of Mehldau’s solo reveals a composing-out of an octave progression. are notably absent in the first chorus. taking the music through the octave progression from ^8 to ^1. particularly en route from ^8 to ^5. The C sharp and D flat (as it is later interpreted) seem to reference its usage in the theme. There are two phrases in the first chorus: the first phrase is brief. chorus 1 (0:53 – 1:56) A complete foreground and middleground analysis (examples 5. example 5. The trajectory ultimately proceeds down as the combination of unfolding and implied suspensions in the left hand continually pull all voices downward.) Even the opening motive is unable to attain the consonant perfect fifth above the tonic. The second phrase is developmental.14).14 and 5. in the form of long-range rising melodic gestures. (This is bracketed in example 5. complete with an internal fifth progression (refer to the foreground.14 of the piano transcription. The first phrase exploits an enharmonic paradox first uncovered in the theme: .179 Piano solo. This is accomplished through several modulations. a prevalent emphasis on descent seems to present a challenge to any attempt of recovery from illness as in a hermeneutic reading that reflects the title of the work. One’s deteriorating health could be represented by the descending gestures. as addressed above.
with voice leading analysis 180 . piano solo. chorus 1.Example 5. Convalescent.14.
14 (continued) 181 .Example 5.
Convalescent. piano solo. middleground 182 . chorus 1.15.Example 5.
Mehldau transforms the Kopfton. but against the setting of an acute illness. The C sharp provides hope for recovery. A note that is symbolized by its need to rise has instead become symbolized by imminent descent. which the melody does not incorporate on the surface. In the voice-leading analysis of example 5. given the use of ƒ^4/ß^5. The inner-voice figure (represented by downward stems) shifts sequentially downward.14. tonic pedal. hope alone cannot succeed in this struggle. this suggests a German augmented sixth chord (Eß–G–Bß–Cƒ. to C sharp at the peak of the contour. Beginning with the same contour of the opening theme. This also marks the beginning of an internal fifth progression from D to G (^5 to ^1) that constitutes the first phrase. however. This includes a resolution from D to C sharp. 39. D. the lower voice continues to C4 at 1:09. the opening figure is repeated for a third and final time. There is more to the play on the ambiguity of C sharp–D flat. This characterization sets the tone for the rest of the chorus. This is also in imitation to the upper-voice’s resolution from D flat to C an octave higher. and an additional B flat. this implies a resolution of Cƒ5 to D5. The E flat resolves to D4 at 1:00. Together with the C sharp. The second time an E flat occurs in the inner voice. One may also pose a motivic reference to the blues scale. . Like the lower voice from the duo in the theme continuing chromatically downward. Following the implied resolution to D5 near 1:00. in which all voices attempt a few times to ascend. but the figuration does not support a blues scale reading: I would expect the additional use of ^4 (C) with ß^5 (D flat).39 The augmented sixth chord provides an identity for the C sharp in the upper voice. This is repeated two more times.183 C sharp versus D flat (ƒ^4/ß^5). over G pedal).
G flat. though this is not illustrated in example 5. The inevitability of the descending progression is like quicksand. The octave progression as observed through the middleground voice leading of example 5. only accelerates the quicksand’s potency. the leading tone’s function is replaced by its forced descent to the subtonic (note that through enharmonic reinterpretation. to the subtonic. Each move through harmonic regions is embellished by a scale figure. After this brief first phrase. The subtonic. like someone trying to claw his way out. These melodic flourishes in the right hand (in the foreground) represent energetic bursts that try to counteract the underlying descent of the voice leading.184 particularly in the plays of meaning on ^7 that will be discussed shortly. the downward pull is so compelling that the inevitability of descent promotes a frequent preference towards the “flat” side of pitch meanings.15 is filled with chromatic complexity. providing a hint of remedy that may serve as a way out of an inevitable descent. F sharp is thus sublimated to F natural. where the primary motivic elements are laid out (the quote of the main theme and an inner-voice turn figure). ultimately. such as at 1:36. There are a few noteworthy moments in the first chorus where attempts to shift out of flat-key harmonic region includes a strong move to B minor. Making this relationship more complex. the F sharp could originate as an upper chromatic neighbor.15). surrounds the leading tone. ^7 is put through third progressions twice. starting with the oscillation between the subtonic and leading tone. creating . a circle of fifths sequence occurs beginning at 1:14. as if F sharp is treated as a G flat upper neighbor-note. and the rising scale figures. Both times these progressions represent motions into and from an inner voice. often unfolding a dominant seventh in the right hand. F.
through trial-and-error voice-leading.” I do hear this “trial-and-error process” at work in this first chorus. this progression provides insight into the composer’s creative process: Mehldau seems to play out the same idea. “The Mehldau Effect. Each is supported by root position dominants to each suggested key area. 1 (January 2007): 34. I let the public see all the struggles encountered in the extemporaneous creation of music. no. as Bach describes. It’s such an emancipative experience that counters the Western paradigm of making music: working hard behind closed doors. Dan Ouellette.41 Thus. and Bach would probably refer to these as “feigned” modulations. first on the subtonic. As Bach warns. both boundary plays are presented as though they are both of the same contrapuntal origin. . 434. These passages are not modulations. The octave descent begins with two passages. This and other rational deceptions make a fantasia attractive. Like two alternate realities. or natural relationships will become hopelessly buried beneath them.185 boundary play.40 I believe Mehldau is attempting to demonstrate this compositional strategy. while I question the extent to which Mehldau’s processes “counters the Western paradigm. As an improvisation. This recalls a passage where he states. going through the trial-anderror compositional process and then presenting the finished piece to the world. Bach. then again on the leading tone. one that takes the music through B flat minor and B minor. but they must not be excessively used. Essay. these modulations may hinder their natural relationships in the larger 40. Bach writes about the effect in an improvisation of a free fantasy: It is one of the beauties to feign modulation to a new key through a formal cadence and then move off in another direction. that exploits a revealing component to the free fantasy.” Downbeat 74. 41.
15. namely the enharmonic pitch class of F sharp or G flat (as upper chromatic neighbor to the subtonic). as they try to react to Mehldau’s changes of tonal plan. near the end of the first chorus. As if trying to improve on this voice leading. Grenadier more or less locates these bass notes. The boundary play of the leading tone is re-started on its return to F natural at 1:46 of the solo. though. ^4 rises momentarily to ƒ^4. This trial-and-error method has additional implications for the members of the trio. This sublimation of the leading tone is recreated at scale degree 4. but still have implications that confirm the strength of tonal forces at work. supported as a consonant passing tone.186 tonal context. Grenadier has to make choices that do not immediately correspond to the surface of Mehldau’s solo. For much of chorus 1.14 and 5. The octave progression that frames the tonic is what provides large-scale tonal coherence to these remote regions. particularly bassist Grenadier. the second attempt instead creates interpretive problems. from 1:51–1:57 ). This suggests that tonal processes revealed by Schenkerian analysis contains within it predictable voice leading strategies. however. the first “trial” turns out to be the straightforward solution. As the voice-leading becomes more complicated. achieved with relative ease. . this time functioning ambiguously as a neighbor note (see example 5. which returns to ^4. The boundary play. and I have taken liberty at times to illustrate these in the voice leading analyses. is attempted again. It is interesting to note from a voice-leading perspective that in this trial-and-error of the subtonic and leading tone. Much of the voice-leading techniques employed by Mehldau imply certain bass line support. as revealed in chorus 2.
and A flat. The first section (1:59–2:25) unfolds a sixth progression (from 1:59–2:14) and is characterized by bop melodic runs. Only three pitches of the aggregate are left out of the linear progression when viewing the deep middleground: B. The second half (2:30–3:20) prolongs ^3 through multiple registers. E makes a few melodic appearances as part of a third progression surrounding the boundary play of ^7. for the first time in the piece. commented above. . 1:14). when tonicizing C minor). Piano solo. While B does not appear in the linear descent. This omission comes to fruition when a significant turn of events takes place in the second chorus. E. when there is an abrupt arrival of F minor. A flat. for instance. particularly in a 10–5 linear intervallic pattern at the close of the progression. chorus 2 (1:56 – 3:20) Notably longer than the first chorus.187 To summarize the first chorus. From 2:14–2:25 there is another octave progression. is conspicuously absent for nearly the entire first chorus (used only as a neighbor note just after 1:14 of the solo. the second chorus breaks into two sections. The pitch. an octave linear progression touches on diatonic and chromatic scale degrees. achieved through an interplay between the left hand (and bass register) accompanied by a virtuosic right hand obbligato. B also occurs during the “problematic” boundary play supporting the melodic leading tone. including some chromatic triadic sequences. it appears frequently as an inner-voice that supports the arrival of C minor (see. at 2:43.
chorus 2.16.Example 5. piano solo. with voice leading analysis 188 . Convalescent.
189 Example 5.16 (continued) 189 .
Convalescent. chorus 2.17. piano solo.Example 5. middleground and background 190 .
Example 5. a side-slip fills in the noticeable register gap left when G5 leapt to D5.191 The opening gesture captures at a glance much of the action to follow. Example 5. Representing another trial-and-error process. The foreground voice leading (example 5. Chorus 2. In example 5. a second attempt from 2:04–2:08 alters the pitches to F sharp and E natural on the way to a fourth progression from G to D. The expansion in example 5. as it prepares the tonicization of B minor at 2:08. the progression is barely acceptable by voice leading norms: there are parallel fifths from G minor to the four-voice presentation of the dominant seventh to B minor. there is a leap down from the upper-register of G. opening melodic figure (1:59) In the figure. perhaps initiating a turn toward the flat side of the circle of fifths.18. Instead.19 illustrates the harmonic stages that transforms G minor into E minor. 1:59–2:04) illustrates an attempt by the upper voice to descent a third from G to F to E flat. The processes that take G minor to B minor involve an internal fourth progression within the larger sixth progression that unfolds G5 (at 1:59) to B4 (at 2:14). which is an abrupt chromatic move for a standard progression.16. On the foreground sketch following the opening figure. Example 5.19b through a 5–6 exchange moves directly to an E minor chord. leaving a gap that fills in a melodic rise to ^3. the result of arriving on E natural forces the music to the “sharp” key region of B minor. This exchange would have implications for the bass.19c tries .19a. perhaps realizing a 5–6 exchange. which in itself serves as a parallelism of the unfolding that takes place from 1:59 to 2:14.
2:04–2:08 transcription: The sixth progression of 1:59–2:14 exposes scale steps of the melodic minor scale.192 unsuccessfully to bridge the gap from G minor to E minor by interpolating a C minor chord. One will also note the parallelism of the bass’s unfolding from G to B. By example 5.19d the upper voices of the C minor chord continue up chromatically and begins to smooth-out the voice leading that takes the progression to B minor. . The voice leading of this passage is represented by the fourth progression of example 5.19d. Example 5. Voice leading stages in chorus 2. while echoing the trial-and-error procedures of the octave progression in chorus 1.19.
but also asserts flat scale-degrees of ^5 and ^4 (D flat and C flat). as a swifter octave progression from 2:14–2:25 not only reinstitutes flat scale-degrees of ^7 and ^6. 29–32 for a similar sequence. This creates a 10–5 linear intervallic pattern. In the sixth progression the pitches E and B also make appearances in the bass line. no. This “sharp” side of the circle of fifths is unusual to this piece. op. Chorus 1 focuses mainly on the “flat” side of the circle of fifths while chorus 2 considers the “sharp” side of the circle from 1:59–2:14. The descending second sequence at 2:20 of example 5. This reveals special insight into the interplay of two instruments in a freely tonal environment. .193 This progression also emphasizes two of the three pitches notably absent in the octave descent of the previous chorus: E natural and B natural. particularly during the change of sequence during the octave progression. though they play a critical role in the final moments of the solo (3:14). different chord roots: Gƒm–Dƒm–Fƒm–Cƒm).16 creates a progression reminiscent of Romantic-era tonality (and prefigured in Chopin’s “Revolutionary” Etude. This “sharp” side is short lived. while demonstrating Mehldau’s improvisatory game plan. 3. during the circle of fifths progression. The voice leading of this octave descent has two halves: the fourth descent that leads from G to D flat. does not provide the entire musical picture as Grenadier has trouble accompanying Mehldau’s sudden shifts of key areas. as a result of the circle of fifths sequence. The rest of the descent suddenly changes mid-progression into a descending second sequence. though. see mm. Exploring both flat and sharp keys creates a large-scale balance in the several circle of fifths sequences that appear in choruses 1 and 2. The voice-leading picture. 10.
mm. which leads him to the bolder . Grenadier’s A in mm. On the example Grenadier initially appears to accompany this F minor chord. 7–8 works for either II or V. m.194 In example 5. 5. so he begins playing pre-dominant Stufe in a hemiola pattern (example 5. Indeed. This passage is revealing for its collaborative and extemporaneous tonal play. Mehldau’s linear descent. I believe this takes place all in reaction to an intuitive sense of closure signified by the scale steps of the octave progression. Mehldau stops on the B-flat minor chord by pairing it with its upper dominant divider. Grenadier’s choice of pitch becomes inaudible.20. Without this tonal grounding. the completion of the octave progression allows Grenadier to predict the trajectory’s completion.20. It is at this point I believe he is grasping for more clues from Mehldau. This conflict between Grenadier and Mehldau distorts the voice-leading picture. 6–7). the implied bass. Instead of continuing the circle of fifths to E flat. a voice-leading reduction of these two elements. that tonal forces are brought to bear by a sense of directed motion and goal-orientation. and Grenadier’s bass line. 4). 2. Grenadier would not know to begin providing predominant bass notes near the end of the progression. but the choices made by Grenadier support this study’s overarching hypothesis. in the F‡ harmony of m. F minor (example 5. still has an approaching G-minor tonic in sight. a surface transcription with hypothetical bar lines juxtaposes four elements: Mehldau’s solo. since it has become clear to him that the circle of fifths sequence has been abandoned.20. originating. Grenadier begins by following Mehldau’s circle of fifths sequence through the F‡ harmony in m. I argue that this accompaniment does not support the F minor chord. When Mehldau proceeds down to A flat minor in m. however. rather. 2. however.
Interplay between Mehldau and Grenadier.20.195 Example 5. 2:14–2:25 .
completing the total musical fabric. And in following Grenadier’s delayed response. the interaction with the melody is not far from the way a cornet and clarinet interacted in traditional Dixieland jazz. with a predetermined chord structure. In a traditional jazz analysis. much in the way the F‡ accompaniment was skewed when the passage became more complex.196 prediction of the dominant when he plays the leading tone in example 5. then. which allows Mehldau to conclude the sequence in m. It represents another voice. 42. along with Rossy’s drums. Following the progression. it is intuitive to assume the bass leads the way concerning harmonic structure. and Grenadier has no choice but to follow. I do not believe in Convalescent Grenadier has an obligation to provide harmonic support. For one. The bass is employed as another voice. so too does Rossy delay his final punctuation in the drums. 8.20. Mehldau completes his trajectory with confidence. But I believe Mehldau also reacts to the pre-dominant notes of his bassist. At the same time this vamp has a calming effect to the rapid descent that just took place. In some ways. which occurs precisely when Mehldau arrives on the dominant. skewing the arrival of tonic. there is a brief vamp on G minor. m.42 A few concluding remarks and questions about this interaction remain. This is not the case in Convalescent. What is Grenadier’s role in Mehldau’s solo? Aside from the conventional use of the bass in a jazz trio. 8. Mehldau’s melody seems to determine harmonic structure as it develops. The group has effectively communicated their understanding of the melodic trajectory that completes the octave progression. which allows the right hand to introduce the virtuosic obbligato that accompanies much of the next part of the chorus. Feeding off each other’s sense of closure. Grenadier delays the resolution to the tonic. .
His fills remain subdued. While the voice leading picture leaves out much of the virtuosic obbligato right hand from 2:30 to 2:59. and he changes texture only after Mehldau ends a phrase. Rossy is just as sensitive to the phrasing Mehldau incorporates into the solo. which was first suggested at the beginning of chorus 2. The voice leading of this section (2:30–2:59) prolongs B flat by reaching over to an E flat. then descending through a fourth progression that follows the bass through a circle of fifths progression. G. This passage is important considering the piece in its entirety because Convalescent is built upon a tonic pedal. The second half of chorus 2 focuses on ^3. Enhancing the startling move away from the tonic root is the mixture invoked by F minor at the start of the fourth progression from 2:43–2:59. The voice leading paradigm stems from a 5–6 exchange that initiates a bass descent of a 7–6 chain until arriving at the dominant just prior to a cadence at 2:59 (see example 5. near 2:30. Without Grenadier’s voice. The voice-leading scheme here is a typical recipe that forces the conceptual bass voice. something would be missing from the voice leading in example 5. the E flat first comes from Grenadier’s accompanying. and not from Mehldau’s solo. though. In this passage.16. While the D flat–C sharp duality has been much of the focus of the first half of the Mehldau’s solo in chorus 1 and 2. The lack of chord structure does not permit Rossy to provide drum fills after every eight bars. to move from its pedal status. B flat. it focuses primarily on B flat. . It has been rarely developed to this point of the solo (even the entire work). for instance.197 Further turning the jazz tradition on its head.21). Mehldau seems interested in prolonging the flat side of the unfolded tonic to its mediant.
Not even the bravura work of the right hand.198 Example 5. A. voice leading All voices in example 5. Second. ^6. is infused by Grenadier’s bass with a subtle heaviness such that the requirement for it to resolve down is turned into a hyperbolic resolution further. E flat. in becoming reinterpreted as ƒ^4 itself is sublimated down to ^4. This eventually pushes the G off its bass to F at 2:43. too. Chorus 2. everything has reverted to a fully flatted state. This suggests a metaphor.21 are forced downward. not to D but to D flat. It appears that superficially strong forces (represented in the right hand) cannot stop the laws of voice leading. The multiple interruptions on ^2.” vacuuming all melodic voices into its void. As a prolongation of tonic. is pulled downward to A flat. of futility of hope against an illness alone cannot stop an ailment from progressing into a worse state. as if by sheer assertion forces the tonic pedal G into a patient. ß^5.21. 2:30–2:59. The best way to . can stop the imminent depression created by this “black hole. which ascends to its highest register at this point (and will come back in a more important melodic role at 3:05). the D flat–C sharp enharmonic scale degree once again appears in an inner voice. In a surprising twist it. First. Most surprising in the voice leading is the role of A natural.
rather than to deny. The right hand’s re-emergence and its function to restore tonal order.199 combat nature. Only at 2:59 does the right hand re-emerge as part of a dialogue that I believe constitutes the first sign of acceptance (of the illness). Acceptance appears to be the final stage of the second chorus. beginning at 2:59. just prior to 1:46 (indicated with hanging brackets on example 5. that was part of a third progression representing motion into an inner voice. The obbligato runs of the right hand. An imitative texture between the left and right hands at 3:14 recalls the use of imitation in chorus 1.16. the lower voice goes so far as to unfold through bifurcation a B flat minor harmony with its dominant (see example 5. then. Regarding the foreground. quotes of the main theme are found. This creates a sense of motivic cohesion while also serving as conclusion. The right hand restores order. In addition. would be to accept. its existence. The chorus’s unusual length has a specific purpose: to perceptibly mark the climax of the piece. 3:14). bass staff). The approach to the Kopfton at 3:05 initiates a swift conclusion to the solo while referencing several events that have taken place throughout both this second chorus as well as the first. and in fact summarizes much of the previous progression’s underscored prolongation of ^3 through the neighbor note group ^3–^2 / ^4–^3. totaling twenty-one seconds more than each of the first chorus and Grenadier’s bass solo to follow. along with a turn figure so ubiquitous throughout the solo.16 between time points 3:05 and 3:10. combined with the remaining fifteen-seconds of dénouement accounts for the second chorus’s unusual length. More . which began as a sextuplet sixteenth note figure. spin rhythmically out of control during the section from 2:30–2:59.
E resolves to D as part of a tonicization of B minor. In the final passage the F sharp serves its true function by prolonging the dominant of the home key. or as a passing tone (as in the second passage) on its way to B minor. illustrated in example 5. Mehldau recalls the second passage (2:04) that led to B minor. The final passage changes the role of F sharp in the melody. first at 1:37 of chorus 1 and again at 2:06 of chorus 2 (the voice leading of the second passage was illustrated in example 5. From the E minor assertion at 3:14 forward. accompanied by the prominent turn figure references two previous sections.22.22. the voice leading involving the resolution of E to D.200 importantly. In the final passage. . we see a kind of amicable solution to the high degree of tonal disagreement that posed interpretive problems in chorus 2 (recall example 5. a tonicization of B flat minor (not shown) is followed immediately by an E minor scale.19).19). In the previous two passages the F sharp was either directly related to B minor (as in the first passage). By aligning the three passages in example 5. however. G minor.22. Three similar passages in the piano solo of Convalescent In the earlier two passages. Example 5. from Fƒ‡ to B minor.
Otherwise. The recognition and acceptance leads to the climax of the solo section. To have a bassist extemporize on a tonic pedal seems to be a challenge by the nature of the instrument. particularly in its delayed approach to the Kopfton. including two octave progressions and a descending sixth.16). minor. the rise to F sharp followed by the descent to E and D are considered inner voices. the composition.201 At all stages. taking the majority of the solo section. In spite of the several descending progressions in choruses 1 and 2. This special use of ascent. as the B flat continues to be prolonged in the outermost voice. Bass solo Commenting briefly on Grenadier’s solo. In the middleground. Bß5 represents the Kopfton. The music up to that point functions as an initial ascent. the highest register is reached melodically at 3:05. which was the last emotional outburst of denial to the ailment. and now in its higher register. each step potentially grows as an extension of the previous B flat minor harmony (see the voice leading analysis. not E. In the solo section. is fitting for the hermeneutic interpretation posited throughout this analysis: only upon recognition and acceptance of the illness does the recovery process begin. with the complications of life taking place beneath the essential progression represented in the background (example 5. example 5. the Urlinie represents a transcendence of register and voice leading. so Grenadier employs a few of Mehldau’s . it should be noted that Mehldau does not reciprocate the exercise that takes place when Grenadier followed Mehldau in his solo: only drums participate. an enharmonic reinterpretation is required at 3:14 to remain connected globally to the home tonic of G minor. with the potential first harmony of F flat.17). indeed. The arrival of the Kopfton also coincides with the termination of the right hand bravura.
The coda leads the voices one 43. it would seem one conventional scheme remains: theme–solos–theme. especially in the lead-ins to C minor cited above.202 strategies: he moves to C minor by way of exchanging the tonic triad with an applied dominant. There is more emphasis on the inner voice of the piano part through sharper attacks and articulations. The Coda The coda presents a way to bring together parts of both the theme and solo sections. Return of the theme The return of the theme is nearly identical to its opening presentation. Grenadier frequently uses descending energetic flourishes. lasting 64 seconds. Contrasting Mehldau’s ascending scales. but the absence of meter softens the effect. where the coda could serve to wrap up all motivic characters from the development that were not heard in the recapitulation. . The coda itself opens by referencing the beginning of the B section from the theme. the theme seems somewhat redundant for restoring the tonic’s status. 3:40–3:43). as a reflection. especially as the theme is too formulaic to introduce anything novel in the solo section. G‡ (3:24–2:27. He recreates his earlier attempts to follow Mehldau near the end of a linear progression by creating a tonal play on subdominant Stufe from 4:01–4:10. The bass line quotes the motivic turn figure (3:42–3:49. 4:12–4:16). With a remarkably tonally coherent solo section. The solo overall is brief. The bass line unfolds 7–6 linear intervallic patterns. while the rest remains identical. While I have demonstrated that many jazz traditions are challenged within this piece.43 It is similar to the narrative character of Beethoven’s sonata forms. or less than half the length of Mehldau’s solo. The solo is characterized by rhythmic complexity and hints of hemiola technique.
The ominous use of pedal this time looms like a shadow over the entire piece. battles with this condition.203 final time through a chromatic descent. Bach’s organ pedal that served to establish the initial tonal center. Considerations regarding large-scale structure When considering the complex voice-leading from theme to solos. perhaps coping with a diagnosis of cancer and coming to terms with both the psychological and physical trauma of facing death. and reconciles the condition. The order of events is actually quite economical for a jazz piece and conveys a clear sequence. while not being too specific about said malady. I would like to question the appropriateness of such a long-range hearing. though. For instance. back to the theme and to the coda. This sequence of events provides a great amount of detail . This time the pedal is used to confirm and conclude the work’s tonal center. the ailment could be a metaphor for love. The effect is once again an elaboration that intuitively recreates the atmosphere of C. First. In both cases there is a narrative paradigm at work here: a trajectory that initiates a condition. and would seem to be of average length for a typical jazz performance (perhaps even on the short side). which concludes with open fifths and octaves. P. The ailment could also be quite literal. it is worth considering how one might hear this piece from a global perspective. E. and Convalescent could be about coping with an unreciprocated love. as the constant slide through diminished seventh chords highlights every color associated with the pedal. I have attempted to draw out a narrative from the evocative title that suggests how to come to terms with a debilitating ailment. Convalescent is just under six minutes long. The figure below attempts to combine the performance into a firstorder background picture.
details that can be drawn out over the course of days. The continual ascent through each tonic triad member further creates an undetected.44 Each solo chorus relates to the components of the tonic triad. Mehldau commented on the paradox of timelessness in a brief song. saying. From his website. Indeed. making it the goal of the solo section I believe is one way of creating a large scale balance. months. It implies a few things— simplicity of melody. Example 5. A song is short and ends quickly. . perhaps subconscious.bradmehldau. an economy of material and a short form.204 in only six minutes. of something much bigger than its duration. 2010. Note that each scale degree is encountered at a higher register from the previous. Register transfer/transcendence in Convalescent 44. but it should also give you a feeling of endlessness. transcendental quality to the prevalent surface descending progressions. I was thinking a lot … about what ‘song’ means to me.com. or years. While the theme was analyzed with an Urlinie descending from ^5 (D5). Since ^3 is suppressed in the conclusion of the theme. You should sense that you’re scratching the surface of something eternal. accessed February 23. but also a strong emotional effect on the listener that hopefully lingers and swells in your consciousness after you’ve heard it. Mehldau’s solo emphasizes ^8 (G5) and ^3 (Bß5).23. http://www.
Convalescent does not fit so well into the mold that typifies a tonal jazz work because (1) solo sections normally follow a harmonic structure provided in the theme. freeing the soloist to explore several other harmonic regions. (2) the harmonic structure usually can be subdivided into hypermetrical units. . tonal environment adds a new degree of sophistication. E. As in the free fantasy described by C. a tonic pedal establishes the key. This in turn enables completion of the linear progression. unlike free jazz that is atonal. In a jazz trio setting this results in a free play on tonality. the trio’s commitment to maintaining a triadically-driven. and (3) the bassist usually plays the role that supports that harmonic structure. While the interplay and motivic development in the group is similar to techniques involved in free jazz. E. The primary argument for such a free play while remaining tonally coherent is the use of a tonic pedal point. P. much in the way C. an exercise involving the bassist. often delineated by the drummer. Grenadier. which is the basis for elaboration through several harmonic regions. Bach.205 Summary In this chapter we have seen how Mehldau and his trio create a tonal environment in the absence of chord changes. P. This at times results in contradictory harmonic support. Bach once prescribed for the free fantasy. Because of the predictability of a tonal surface. Grenadier is able to predict the end of Mehldau’s phrases by supplying pre-dominant Stufe. but we are given insight into how one follows the tonal path of an improvised linear progression. who attempts to support Mehldau’s extemporaneous linear progressions.
affinity for the German Romantic tradition. The music analyzed in this study has revealed tonally complex surfaces and techniques that. in particular. In a remarkable irony of the post-tonal era. I will now speculate more generally on the nature of style. but was not impressed (as will be documented below). Returning to the perspective on influence Joseph Straus adapted from Harold Bloom. and by reconstructing tonal principles. Mehldau’s music has been compared by critics to Bill Evans. I hypothesize that Mehldau’s love for German Romantic traditions sets him apart from the French Impressionist style of Evans. Mehldau clears away creative space by returning to an earlier time. 1 Interestingly. while not regularly encountered in the tonal era. Straus. one encounters a problem attributing these ideas to Mehldau’s music. The Anxiety of Influence in Jazz By establishing opposing relationships in jazz theory and tonal theory (in chapters 1 and 2).” The Journal of Musicology 9. thus distinguishing his music from mainstream jazz. I return to questions of influence. See Joseph N. Having considered Mehldau’s explicit use of basic tonal principles. 206 . Mehldau turns the anxiety of influence on its head by 1. no. I made the case that some of Mehldau’s music can be analyzed the same way one approaches traditional tonality. is the lingua franca of Mehldau’s tonal language.Chapter 6: Conclusions By way of concluding the study. 4 (Fall 1991): 430-47. “The ‘Anxiety of Influence’ in Twentieth-Century Music. Mehldau has explicitly stated that he listened to Evans when he was young. and the distancing of himself from a similarly outspoken intellectual jazz pianist. the notion of entering into a contest with the past. such as the way Straus suggests with early posttonal composers.
In what may be the defining moment of his career. Brad Mehldau was branded as a Bill Evans disciple. which began not with a description of the music. for several months…. when I was 13 or 14 years old. . Early in his career. By a willing suspension of disbelief one enters into his tonal world. who states.Often what I am doing in my solo is basing its melodic content on the initial melody of the song. . in terms of tonal problems that are worked out on their own terms. or thanking his producer.”2 2. . It is worth quoting at length jazz scholar Ted Gioia.com/features-and-interviews/2007/12/31/assessing-brad-mehldau-at-mid-career (accessed February 26.207 embracing the traditions of tonality and employing them with relative ease in a post-tonal era. rather. Ted Gioia.” entry posted December 31. One need not frame Mehldau’s music in terms of historical anxiety. the source of anxiety lies perhaps with his more recent predecessors of the jazz tradition.” Mehldau continues by offering evidence. a world where the emancipation of dissonance never occurred and goal-orientation and unity direct compositional strategies. You won’t find the model for this approach in Bill Evans…. but rather as follows: “The constant comparison of this trio with the Bill Evans trio by critics has been a thorn in my side. I remember listening to his music only a little. but Mehldau would have none of it. 2007. But this act in its own right is effectively a contest with the past in that it succeeds in clearing away its own expressive space. If there is an anxiety of influence to be detected in Mehldau’s music. or the typical quasiphilosophical musings we have come to expect in such settings.jazz. “Assessing Mehldau at Mid-Career. “The way Larry and I are abstracting harmony has nothing to do with Bill Evans . http://www. 2010). particularly in the way Mehldau has recently distanced himself from Bill Evans. Most young pianists would be flattered at the comparison. Mehldau wrote lengthy liner notes to his Art of the Trio 4: Back at the Vanguard CD.
and includes insightful commentary about Evans by both guitarist Pat Metheny and Mehldau. to which Metheny answered. the two having recently collaborated: When Brad Mehldau made his debut as a solo artist in 1995 with Introducing Brad Mehldau.’ it’s stated as a matter of fact that he’s my main influence and. I barely listened to this guy.” Downbeat 74. misguidedly labeling him as one of “the plethora of young jazz pianists who have adopted Bill Evans as their role model. One critic even bundled Mehldau into a pack. furthermore. I will consider these differences in light of Steve Larson’s work on Evans. If I can be controversial here. I have no idea what they’re talking about….208 Dan Oullette outlines the history of Mehldau’s initial reception. “Whenever I hear people talk about Brad and Bill Evans. . Dan Ouellete.” Then. I’m happy to report that Brad had never heard that album. Mehldau added.” Andersen then queried Mehldau on why he hated being compared to Evans. Andersen asked if they had been inspired by the Evans/Jim Hall 1960s duo sessions..e. “I don’t quite understand why he’s put on a pedestal.”3 The anxiety of influence is particularly evident here. many jazz pundits with equal measures of celebration and denigration proclaimed him as the second coming of Bill Evans.” …Kurt Andersen interviewed Mehldau and guitarist Pat Metheny about their new duo CD. In the interview Evans steps through the process of elaboration in the jazz standard. I’m not even crazy about his playing. 1 (January 2007): 32. no. Larson’s argument is based on revealing commentary in an interview of Evans. where he argues for the application of Schenkerian analysis to jazz music. the rumor suggesting that he is influenced by Evans]. Metheny Mehldau. sounding slightly irritated. to which he bluntly replied. that I’m inheriting his throne. No matter how many times I say. Yet there are important differences separating their musical style. “The Mehldau Effect. it would seem that Mehldau is required to distance himself from Evans. ‘No. someone similarly known for his intellectual acumen as much as his piano playing.From day one.” Important in this interview is the way Evans refers to “structure” 3. “It’s a fiction [i. “The Touch of Your Lips. In order to clear away expressive space. I’ve scratched my head over that.
6. All other works are from Art of the Trio. no. asked to clarify what he means by “structure. Analyzing Jazz: A Schenkerian Approach (Harmonologia: Studies in Music Theory. Hillsdale. though it remains unclear to what extent Evans was specifically referring to a typical Schenkerian paradigm. After investigating the music further. 5. through transcription and voice leading analysis.4 This. and Convalescent (chapter 5). I am not convinced Schenker’s views of tonality readily suit jazz music. his arrangement of “For All We Know” (chapter 3).6 I made the case that these works demonstrated an essential reliance on the triad (rather than the seventh chord) and contrapuntal relationships in which dissonance and consonance are in a tighter relation than is typical of the music of Mehldau’s contemporaries. in which the influence of the past is particularly evident. Warner Bros. 10. the first time I heard Brad Mehldau’s Art of the Trio. Places. NY: Pendragon Press. . Unrequited (chapter 4). 15. I was pleasantly surprised to find numerous essays and liner notes by Mehldau. 2009). 9 47693-2 (CD). structural elements.5 The sampling of music I chose to present in this study included 29 Palms (chapter 1). Volume 3: Songs. like the theoretical thing”). Steve Larson. That triads and counterpoint 4. Larson bases his argument for the tonal analysis of jazz on Evans’s “extramusical” demonstration of recursive. Sehnsucht (chapter 3). architectural thing. I (intuitively) sensed a predisposition to traditional tonality. While it has not been my goal to contest the applicability of Schenkerian analysis to Evans’s music. to Larson. On the other hand.” says “I’m talking about the abstract. 29 Palms is from Brad Mehldau. 2000. See the bibliography for selected writings. is an important indication that Schenkerian structure is evoked by Evans’s use of the term.209 (where Evans. Volume 3: Songs.
e. in light of Bloom’s theory of influence. rather than extended tertian patterns). (6) tonal puns on important melodic pitches. etc. mordents or trills). that Mehldau embraces a classical tradition of tonal harmony.. (2) linear intervallic patterns of an earlier period (i. In Unrequited. Projecting a sense of closure allows for a tonal play upon listener expectations that often are thwarted by the music.. This led to creative solutions to the problem of closure in both Sehnsucht and Unrequited (chapter 4). I find it interesting. 10–5. This directed motion creates a trajectory. such as the tonic pedal in Convalescent (chapter 5). 7–10. Specific tonal markers hold the tonality of the piece together. At one time composers seemed afraid to . This allowed for subsequent improvisations to depart into foreign key areas in the absence of a predetermined chord structure. and (7) T–P–D–T tonal cycling.g. The Nature of a Style In pointing out the tonal strategies evident in Mehldau’s music. leading to closure. the following techniques were among the most important that I discovered in each piece examined in this study: (1) use of suspensions with keyboard figuration typical of the tonal era (e. (3) 7–6 chains and 5– 6 exchanges. requiring enharmonic reinterpretation. (4) chromatic third progressions. complex temporal relationships were demonstrated when placing the theme against normative harmonic pacing.. In particular. (5) melodic turn figures and other idioms suggestive of the tonal era.210 are both important features to Mehldau led me to identify linear strategies that incorporate a Schenkerian sensibility of dissonance and consonance. I have attempted to uncover idiosyncrasies that align his music with the common practice tradition. I demonstrated how the suspension creates directed motion in Sehnsucht (chapter 3).
Mehldau relates his music to Brahms’s. for instance.com/writing. could the post-tonal era of the twentieth century be seen as an historical tangent to an encompassing tonal history? 7. What has emerged from this study is the idea that Western European composers more than a century removed inform his creative space. improvising with a sensitivity to voice and register. Further investigation into this claim will have to wait for a future study. and Improvisation. could there be a return to tonal procedures in art music.bradmehldau. reprinted on Mehldau’s website http://www.7 Constructing functional harmonic ambiguity. and manipulating the flow of harmonic events are all hallmarks of a tonal master such as Brahms. Following the post-tonal age that has come to define much music of the twentieth century. See. classical or modern: they simply wanted to be regarded as unique. “Brahms. Indeed.8 Mehldau’s anxiety of influence thus lies instead with his more recent predecessors in American jazz music. Brad Mehldau.” Jazz Times (February 2001). by the end of the twentieth-century. It is curious that. Mehldau is instead outspoken against the notion that Bill Evans is an important influence on his style. . accessed 22 February 2008. it is strange (and refreshing) that. Interpretation. beckoning forth a neotonal age? When looking back in several hundred years. Though one may note the interplay of the trio is rooted in Evans’s and Keith Jarrett’s trios. Mehldau has demonstrated originality by aligning himself with aesthetic and compositional principles from the nineteenth century. No longer worried about the “stigma” of the tonal era (as it might have been considered to modern composers earlier in the century). 8. at the end of the twentieth-century.211 acknowledge their predecessors. Sometimes composers dismissed any cited influence.
that it is not an outdated craft. A pioneer for the re-awakening of tonality. .212 Mehldau’s music suggests to me that tonality is yet to be exhausted. and we need not worry about it. The ring of authenticity is more important than the clang of originality.”9 9. The Aesthetics of Survival: A Composer’s View of Twentieth-Century Music (Ann Arbor. 1984). 242. and large-scale structure. George Rochberg. we can safely leave it alone and get back to the business of writing music without falsely institutionalizing the means we use to produce it…. to re-emerge as a spiritual force with reactivated powers of melodic thought. foresaw as a source of new possibility the patterns of musical creation that I have come to realize in the music of Brad Mehldau: The cultural mechanism for renewal resides in the courage to use human passion and energy in the direction of what is authentic again and again. Whatever is authentic about the twentieth century will be preserved. George Rochberg. MI: University of Michigan Press. To quote from my notes to the recording of the Third Quartet: “I am turning away from what I consider the cultural pathology of my own time toward what can only be called a possibility: that music can be renewed by regaining contact with the tradition and means of the past. Given the certainty. rhythmic pulse.
) Mehldau. (2) Unrequited. Germany. Warner Bros.” Jazz Times (December 2003). No.com/ features-and-interviews/2007/12/31/assessing-bradmehldau-at-mid-career. Robert L. Repr. Metheny-Mehldau. Burgers. “Assessing Brad Mehldau at Mid-Career. MD: Scarecrow Press. 1993. CD. 1998.” Jazz Times (June 2000): 18. on Mehldau’s website http://www. Interpretation. Warner Bros. Lloyd.” Paper presented at the 6th European Music Analysis Conference. Mehldau’s website http://www.jazz. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. [Featuring 29 Palms. Com/articles/arti0302_05. “Brad Mehldau: Genius of Modern Music” (c. Lanham. Pat and Brad Mehldau. CD. Places. [Featuring Convalescent. Libman. (6) Convalescent. “[Interview with] Brad Mehldau. 2000.] ———. The Art of the Trio. “Brahms. http://www. and the Avant Garde.” In Music and the Creative Spirit: Innovators in Jazz.] Mehldau and Rossy Trio. 213 . When I Fall in Love.] Metheny. Gioia. Brad. (5) At a Loss. (8) River Man. Daniel. Accessed 8 March 2008.” Jazz Times (February 2001). Peterson. 52. “Irony in the Earlier Music of Brad Mehldau. 9 47051-2. 2006. (9) Young at Heart. Improvisation.com/writing. Selected Writings about Mehldau DiPaolo. 88: The Giants of Jazz Piano. Accessed January 28.] Selected Writings by Brad Mehldau “Letters. [Featuring Unrequited. (7) For All We Know. (10) Sehnsucht.” (December 2007). 11-14 October 2007.allaboutjazz. Doerschuk. Jeff. 178-83. in Freiburg. CD. accessed 22 February 2008. Repr. Ted. “Ideology.bradmehldau. http://www. Nonesuch Records. 2006. CD.com/writing. works emboldened are analyzed in this study. 9 47693-2. and Improvisation. (4) Exit Music (for a Film). (3) Bewitched. 2009.bradmehldau. [Track Listing: (1) Song-Song. Volume 3: Songs. 1998). and Beer. Studies in Jazz.htm. 2001.Bibliography Selected Discography (Works italicized are written by Mehldau. Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT 007. accessed 22 February 2008.
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Vols. Eastern Illinois University 2008-2009 Lecturer of Music Theory. no. Indiana University. B. Op. Indiana University.Mus. Bloomington 2001-2003 Teaching Assistant. 2002 Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge 2001 Dennis Bayton Memorial Scholarship (presented by the Tulsa Jazz Society) 1999 Performed at 33rd Annual Montreux Jazz Festival.. Ph. Jazz Studies 2005 Indiana University.Mus.” Music Theory Conference at the College Conservatory of Music. Indiana University. Lincoln 2009 “Reconstructing Tonal Idioms: Temporal Plasticity in Brad Mehldau’s Unrequited. Music Theory Minor Fields: Music History & Literature.” Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 18 (2004): 1-21. 2 (Fall 2009): 187-200. Bloomington 2003-2004 Associate Instructor. Eastern Illinois University 2009-2010 Indiana University Dissertation-Year Fellowship 2003-2008 Indiana University Academic Fellowships 2001-2003 First Prize. Montreux. 101. University of Tulsa Awards and Honors 2011 Superior evaluation in teaching. Arthurs Education 2011 Indiana University.D.” Indiana Theory Review 27. University of Cincinnati 2008 “Irony and Illusion in the Second Movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata. “Applying Traditional and Proportional Aspects of Form to Atonal Music.” Music Theory Midwest. 25-26 (2005-2008) Editorial Review Board (2003-2005) . Understanding Post-Tonal Music. University of Tulsa 2001. Bloomington 2004-2008 Coordinating Associate Instructor. C.. D. Service 2003-2008 Indiana Theory Review Assistant Editor.. Béla Rósza Composition Competition. Switzerland Selected Papers 2011 “Tonal Motion and the Suspension in Brad Mehldau’s Sehnsucht. Washington. Library of Congress Publications “Review of Miguel Roig-Francolí.. Music Theory. University of Tulsa 1999-2003 Academic and Music Scholarships.” Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic. University of Nebraska.Daniel J. Music Theory Cognate: Composition 2003 University of Tulsa. magna cum laude Academic Positions 2010-2011 Instructor of Music Theory and Composition. M.
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