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JAZZ COMPOSITION THEORY ANO PHACTICE
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Melodic Devices and the Rudiments of Form


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REPETITION

Motivic repetition

One of the most obvious melodic devices is simple motivic repetition. If you look back
at the exercises on pages 7-9, yol will observe that each of the examples contains
some degree of rhythmic repetition. When rhythmic repetition is combined with pitch
repetition, a distinguishing motivic "hook" usually emerges. (see "strays," page 3,
measures 1,3, J.)

(Note the rhythmic displacement)

Phrase repetition-four measures

This is very common in the blues. (See "After Breakfast," page 119.)

Medium swing
F7($9) Bbi p'l

A-7(bs) D7(fe)

G7(be) G7 C7(alt)

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GHAPTEB 1 | MEL0DT[[0NStDERAT|ONS
Phrase repetition-eight measures

This is the basis for standard aaba and abac song form in which the a section is repeated
in conjunction with other complementary but contrasting phrases. (See "Strays," page 3
for aaba form, and "For Bill," page 141 for abac form.)

@ @ @
8 8 8

@ @
8 8

--7

A sequence occurs when you transpose a melodic fragment or phrase to a different pitch
level. This transposition may be diatonic (in which case the tonality is not disturbed) or
elac! (in which case a temporary "key-of-the-moment" may be suggest itself). The use
of sequence takes the concept of repetition to the next level and provides for melodic as
well as rhythmic variety.

Motivic sequence

Diatonic
Medium swing
F6 GJ C] AJ D7

Exact
Medium swing
F6 Abl Db7

(See also "Strays," page 3: compare measures l-2 with 5-6, and 10-11 with 14-15; also
measures 16 and 17.)
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JAZZ COMPOSITION THEOHY ANO PRACTI[F

TWo-measure melodic sequence

Note that the chord progression is also sequential. l--l


= interval at which the - r.' ' ' ''
sequence occurs. (see also "Scrooge," page r47 , measures g-r4.)-FV1 E ,,i.s,p c+

E evat F

@ e{'at*
A7(be)

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Four-measure melodic sequence
')o af :v' C i 'E{' ?-'..- '
(See als,o-"Scooter," page 728, measures Il-14, 1s-18.) 4Jrtt i' !c,+- ;J'"j )

Medium swing
D-6 c-6 E1(b5) A7(alt)

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Eight-measure melodic sequence

. Examples of this are relatively rare, but check out "Joy Spring" by Clifford Brown and
. -7 "So What" by Miles Davis.
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@ melody
@ melody repeats melody up a,
mrnor second @ melody as before

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IHAPTEH 1 I MEL0DTCC0NSTDEffATTONS
MOTIVIC TRANSFORMATION

Sometimes, too much repetition gets to be monotonous. Motivic transformation is a


device that allows you to alter the intervals or the rhythm of a motif in order to prevent
the overuse of an idea. You can keep the same rhythm and change the pitches; or you
can keep the same pitches and change the rhythm.

Intervallic transformation: Same rhythm, different pitches.

Bbl G_:7 C7 Bbl

(See also "Samba de Goofed," puge 155, measures 17-20 vs.2I-24.)


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Rhythmic transformation: Same pitches, different rhythm. i
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Medium swing I ;...,.,."_t-:,

G6 B-7(bs) E7(be)

A_:7 D7sus4 E7(*e) D7(be)

- also "Samba de Goofed," page 155, measures 1-2 vs. 3-4.)


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iu,,tJ\ \ MOTIVIC EMBELLISHMENT .. .,t,i i

Motivic embellishment is a device that allows you to activate a simple motif before it
becomes too repetitive and monotonous.

iVledium swing
D-7 G] D_7 G7

(See also "Samba de Goofed." pag,e 155. measure 25. vs.


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