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THE EVOLUTION OF ELLA FITZGERALD’S SYLLABIC CHOICES IN SCAT SINGING:

A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF HER DECCA RECORDINGS, 1943-52

Justin G. Binek, B.A., B.S., M.M.

Dissertation Prepared for the Degree of

DOCTOR OF MUSICAL ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS

May 2017

APPROVED:

Jennifer Barnes, Major Professor


Richard Sparks, Committee Member
John Murphy, Committee Member and Chair
of the Division of Jazz Studies
Benjamin Brand, Director of Graduate
Studies in the College of Music
John Richmond, Dean of the College of Music
Victor Prybutok, Vice Provost of the
Toulouse Graduate School
Binek, Justin G. The Evolution of Ella Fitzgerald’s Syllabic Choices in Scat Singing: A

Critical Analysis of Her Decca Recordings, 1943-1952. Doctor of Musical Arts (Performance),

May 2017, 136 pp., 17 tables, 9 figures, 25 musical examples, discography, bibliography, 23

titles.

This study examines the evolution of Ella Fitzgerald’s scat syllable vocabulary

during a key developmental period in her career when she was recording for Decca

Records. Between 1943 and 1952, Fitzgerald established the syllabic vocabulary that

would serve as a defining characteristic of her improvisational style for the rest of her

career. Fitzgerald is commonly praised as the greatest vocal improviser in jazz history, but

while much has been written about Fitzgerald’s melodic and harmonic approach to jazz

improvisation, little has been written about her syllabic approach. Timbre and articulation

are considered to be vital elements of any jazz musician’s style; the study examines the

changes in Ella Fitzgerald’s syllabic approach through transcription and analyses of

thirteen scat solos recorded during this time period, using scat syllable choices to discuss

timbre and articulation. This analysis provides a model for further research of its kind, as

well as informing historically accurate performance practice by both teachers and students

of jazz singing.
Copyright 2017

by

Justin G. Binek

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Diana Spradling provided me with a remarkable opportunity in 2006 when she

asked if I would write the section on improvisation for her groundbreaking 2008 book Jazz

Singing: Developing Artistry and Authenticity. That project served as my first opportunity to

pursue this kind of analytical research in jazz singing, an opportunity for which I remain

immeasurably grateful. This dissertation is dedicated to her in appreciation for seventeen

years of instruction, constructive criticism, mentorship, and friendship. Additionally, I need

to acknowledge Fran Morris Rosman at the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation for her

enthusiastic support of this research.

I would like to thank the members of my DMA committee: Jennifer Barnes, Dr.

Richard Sparks, and Dr. John Murphy. The three of you are remarkable people and

educators, and I am grateful for your generosity, your wisdom, and your friendship. Special

acknowledgement also needs to be given to Rosana Eckert for her service as a committee

member on my three previous recitals, her infectious enthusiasm for teaching, and her

extensive knowledge of vocal pedagogy for non-classical singers. I am grateful for the other

faculty with whom I have had the pleasure of studying during my time at the University of

North Texas, as well as my fellow doctoral students in jazz studies and the vocal jazz and

choral conducting teaching fellows whom I am privileged to call my colleagues and friends.

My parents, William and Georgia Binek, instilled a love of learning in me at an early age,

and have continued to exuberantly support my musical passions throughout every stage of

my career. Last, but certainly not least, I need to thank Claire Binek for agreeing to uproot

our lives and move halfway across the country so I could pursue this degree. Her patience,

love, support, and commitment to “us” know no boundaries.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .................................................................................................................................... iii

LIST OF TABLES..................................................................................................................................................... v

LIST OF FIGURES .................................................................................................................................................. vi

LIST OF TRANSCRIPTION EXAMPLES ........................................................................................................vii

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................... 1


Lack of Research into Scat Syllable Vocabulary .......................................................................... 3
Methodology and Importance of this Topic in Vocal Jazz Education ................................. 7

CHAPTER 2. OBSERVING THE EVOLUTION OF ELLA FITZGERALD’S SCAT SYLLABLE


VOCABULARY THROUGH ANALYSIS OF RECORDED BACKGROUND FILLS ............................... 11

CHAPTER 3. “HOW HIGH THE MOON,” “OH, LADY BE GOOD,” AND THE SHIFT IN
FITZGERALD’S SOLO APPROACH ................................................................................................................ 25

CHAPTER 4. “SMOOTH SAILING,” “AIRMAIL SPECIAL,” ROUGH RIDIN’,” AND “PREVIEW”:


THE “VOCALIZED INSTRUMENTALS” AND THE REFINEMENT OF ELLA FITZGERALD’S
IMPROVSATIONAL STYLE .............................................................................................................................. 36

CHAPTER 5. CONCLUSIONS DRAWN FROM TRANSCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS OF ELLA


FITZGERALD’S RECORDED SCAT SOLOS BETWEEN 1943 AND 1952.......................................... 52

CHAPTER 6. CONCLUSION: OPPORTUNITIES FOR FUTURE RESEARCH ..................................... 63

APPENDIX A. TRANSCRIPTIONS .................................................................................................................. 66

APPENDIX B. SYLLABIC ANALYSIS ........................................................................................................... 100

BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................................................................................................................................. 134

DISCOGRAPHY................................................................................................................................................... 136

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LIST OF TABLES

Page
Table 1. Syllabic Tallies and Syllable Groups in “Cow Cow Boogie” ............................................... 13

Table 2. Ella Fitzgerald Scat Syllable Choices in Background Fills, 1943-1945......................... 14

Table 3. Pre-1946 Syllable Groups .............................................................................................................. 15

Table 4. Syllabic Tallies and Syllable Groups in “Dream A Little Dream of Me” ........................ 17

Table 5. Syllabic Tallies and Syllable Groups in “Mr. Paganini” ....................................................... 20

Table 6. Ella Fitzgerald Scat Syllable Choices in Background Fills, 1949-1952......................... 22

Table 7. Comparison of Pre-War and Post-War Onset Syllables. .................................................... 24

Table 8. Syllable Groups and Onset Consonants in “Flying Home”................................................. 27

Table 9. Syllabic Tallies and Syllable Groups in “How High the Moon” ........................................ 31

Table 10. Ella Fitzgerald Scat Syllable Choices in 1947 Recordings .............................................. 33

Table 11. Double-Time Syllabic Tallies and Syllable Groups in “Smooth Sailing” .................... 39

Table 12. Comparative Analysis of Syllabic Material in “Smooth Sailing” ................................... 41

Table 13. Syllabic Tallies and Syllable Groups in “Airmail Special” ............................................... 45

Table 14. Syllable Groups in “Rough Ridin’.” ........................................................................................... 48

Table 15. Syllable Groups in “Preview.” .................................................................................................... 51

Table 16. Double-Time/Bebop Syllabic Vocabulary Post-1947. ..................................................... 55

Table 17. Ella Fitzgerald Scat Syllable Choices in “Common Practice” Syllabic Set ................. 58

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LIST OF FIGURES

Page

Figure 1. Background scat fills, 1943-1955. ............................................................................................ 23

Figure 2. Background scat fills, 1949-1952. ............................................................................................ 23

Figure 3. Comparison of syllable groups in scat fills. ........................................................................... 24

Figure 4. Scat syllable choices following Gillespie tour. ..................................................................... 33

Figure 5. The shift in Ella Fitzgerald’s syllabic vocabulary between 1945 and 1947. ............ 54

Figure 6. Ella Fitzgerald’s bebop vocabulary, 1947-1952 .................................................................. 57

Figure 7. “Common practice” Ella Fitzgerald syllabic vocabulary. ................................................. 59

Figure 8. Syllabic groups by name and frequency................................................................................. 60

Figure 9. Syllabic onsets by name and frequency.................................................................................. 61

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LIST OF TRANSCRIPTION EXAMPLES

Page

Ex. 1. “Cow Cow Boogie” (0:34-0:55). ........................................................................................................ 12

Ex. 2. “Basin Street Blues” (2:28-2:45). ..................................................................................................... 16

Ex. 3. “Dream A Little Dream of Me” (1:57-2:23). ................................................................................. 17

Ex. 4. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 1 (1:07-1:16). ............................................................................................ 18

Ex. 5. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 2 (1:37-1:44). ............................................................................................ 18

Ex. 6. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 3 (2:07-2:16). ............................................................................................ 19

Ex. 7. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 4 (2:38-2:46). ............................................................................................ 19

Ex. 8. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 5 (3:04-3:11). ............................................................................................ 19

Ex. 9. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 6 (3:28-3:34). ............................................................................................ 19

Ex. 10. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 7 (3:43-3:47). ......................................................................................... 19

Ex. 11. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 8 (4:28-4:36). ......................................................................................... 20

Ex. 12. “Jump Did-Le Ba,” Dizzy Gillespie scat solo excerpt. .............................................................. 26

Ex. 13. “Ool-Ya-Koo,” Kenny Hagood scat solo excerpt. ...................................................................... 26

Ex. 14. “How High the Moon,” chorus 1 (1:27-2:02). ........................................................................... 28

Ex. 15. “How High the Moon,” chorus 2 (2:02-2:36). ........................................................................... 29

Ex. 16. “How High the Moon,” chorus 3 (2:37-3:02). ........................................................................... 30

Ex. 17. “Flying Home“ (1945), altered syllabic content on repetitive song quote. ................... 36

Ex. 18. “Oh, Lady Be Good” (1947), Repetitive syllabic content on freely improvised solo
material. ................................................................................................................................................................. 37

Ex. 19. “Smooth Sailing,” double-time material (1:17-1:37). ............................................................ 38

Ex. 20. “Smooth Sailing,” double-time material, presented in context of the surrounding
choruses (0:57-1:45). ....................................................................................................................................... 40

Ex. 21. “Airmail Special” scat choruses 1 and 2 (0:40-1:54) ............................................................ 43

Ex. 22. “Rough Ridin,’” improvised scat material (1:14-1:57). ......................................................... 47

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Ex. 23. “Rough Ridin,” improvisation on the bridge (2:29-2:46). .................................................... 48

Ex. 24. “Preview,” improvisational chorus (0:54-1:41). ..................................................................... 50

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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

Ella Fitzgerald is commonly praised as the greatest vocal improviser in jazz music’s

history; she, in fact, declared herself to be exactly that. 1 Improvisational methods praise

her ideas as “excellent models for students of vocal jazz” 2 and “musically and verbally

inventive, filled with the joy of her creativity… represent[ing] the essence and pinnacle of

scat singing”; 3 critical commentaries praise her “perfect balance between a steam

enginelike propulsion and an ethereal playfulness”; 4 and reference books mention

Fitzgerald as an exemplar of scat singing in definitions of the term, 5 using phrases like

“[scat singing] is most closely associated by the general public with Ella Fitzgerald and her

many imitators.” 6 Though much has been written about Fitzgerald’s melodic and harmonic

improvisational approach, very little has been written about her syllabic approach to scat

singing, which may be her most significant contribution to this particular art form. This is

particularly curious given that one of the most common complaints voiced to vocal jazz

instructors by novice jazz singers is “I don’t know what syllables I should use.” Most

1Will Friedwald, Jazz Singing: America’s Great Voices from Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond (Cambridge: Da
Capo Press, 1990), 282.
2 Patrice Madura, Getting Started with Vocal Improvisation (Reston, VA: MENC, 1999), 29.
3 Bob Stoloff, Scat! Vocal Improvisation Techniques, (Brooklyn: Gerard & Sarzin, 1996), 8.
4Holden, “Ella Fitzgerald’s Playfulness Ripens with Time’s Passage.” This citation refers to the reprint in
Leslie Gourse, The Ella Fitzgerald Companion: Seven Decades of Commentary (New York: Schirmer Books,
1998), 162.
5The New College Encyclopedia of Music defines scat singing as a “jazz term for the use of nonsense syllables
and other wordless effects in the course of a vocal number. The technique has been employed in a rapid and
virtuoso way by Ella Fitzgerald amongst others.” The New Harvard Dictionary of Music defines scat singing as
“A jazz solo of vocal nonsense syllables… Scat came to be represented by virtuosic interpretations (by, e.g.
Ella Fitzgerald) of rapid bebop instrumental improvisation.”
6 Carr, Fairweather, and Priestly, Jazz: The Rough Guide, 887.

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teachers, and most method books, recommend that students listen to recordings of great

jazz singers to acquire a sense of authentic style, articulation, and syllabic choice. And

though Fitzgerald is usually suggested as a starting point for guided listening, little has

been done to codify her syllabic choices in scat singing.

Additionally, it is important to explore Fitzgerald’s innovations because of her

influence on other singers. In Chip Deffaa’s profile of Fitzgerald in Jazz Veterans: A Portrait

Gallery, 7 written shortly before her death in 1996, he wrote “No living singer is more

respected by other singers,” quoting Annie Ross, Jon Hendricks, Anita O’Day, Ruth Brown,

Cassandra Wilson, and others.

In light of both the esteem with which both Fitzgerald’s peers and the next

generation of jazz singers held her, and the lack of analysis dedicated to the syllabic content

of her scat solos, it seems worth examining the development of Fitzgerald’s style as a scat

singer, as documented through the numerous recordings she made on Decca Records

between 1939 and 1954. These recordings are not always held in critical esteem, 8 but a

closer examination reveals that it was during this period that Fitzgerald established much

of the melodic, harmonic, and particularly syllabic vocabulary that would mark her

improvisational style through the course of her career. 9 This syllabic vocabulary was a

7Originally published in 1996; subsequent citations of this article will refer to the reprint in Gourse, Ella
Fitzgerald, Seven Decades of Commentary, 162-166.
8Scott Yanow, on page 78 of The Jazz Singers refers to much of her output on Decca as “juvenile novelties,”
and Stuart Nicholson references the “critical opinion that would have us believe Ella’s Decca output was an
artistic no-go area” on page 131 of Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz.
9Geoffrey Mark Fidelman made this argument as well in First Lady of Song: Ella Fitzgerald for the Record. On
page 17, he stated, in reference to an early Decca recording of “(If You Can’t Sing It) You’ll Have to Swing It”,
“Here, then was the first real hint of the style that was to become the backbone of the career of Ella
Fitzgerald.” On pages 45-46, he addressed her recording of “It’s Only a Paper Moon” with the Delta Rhythm
Boys, noting “…Ella’s scat singing was featured, this talent obviously having progressed.”

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huge part of her sense of style and rhythm, as noted in 1954 by Louis Bellson, who stated:

“The greatest drum solo I ever heard was done by Ella at this time doing her scat

choruses.” 10 Syllabic choice was tremendously important to Ella Fitzgerald’s

improvisational style, and is important to the style of any scat singer. My research seeks to

be an example of a kind of research in timbre and articulation – research that has only been

done on a limited basis for jazz vocalists and instrumentalists. For years, jazz musicians

have analyzed notes, but not sounds; this document seeks to join a discussion of timbre and

articulation for scat singers. 11

Lack of Research into Scat Syllable Vocabulary

Very little has been written about anyone’s syllabic approach to scat singing, much

less Fitzgerald’s. William R. Bauer explored vocables 12 in Louis Armstrong’s “Heebie

Jeebies” and “Hotter Than That” solos, along with Betty Carter’s “Babe’s Blues” solo; 13

Bauer did mention Fitzgerald in reference to Ella’s “mimic[ing] the tonguing, phrasing, and

articulation of instrumentalists” 14 and in Betty Carter’s early recordings being “peppered

10Geoffrey Mark Fidelman, First Lady of Song: Ella Fitzgerald For the Record (New York: Birch Lane Press,
1994), 79.
11 This limited discussion includes works like William Bauer’s “Scat Singing: A Timbral and Phonemic
Analysis” and Diana Spradling’s Jazz Singing: Developing Artistry and Authenticity, both of which explore the
issue of scat timbre and articulation from an academic perspective. Improvisation method books like Scott
Fredrickson’s Scat Singing Method, Bob Stoloff’s Scat!, and Michele Weir’s Vocal Improvisation, present
syllables for students to incorporate, but not in a categorized manner.
12 Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines a vocable as “a word composed of various sounds or

letters without regard to its meaning.”


13 William R. Bauer, “Scat Singing: A Timbral and Phonemic Analysis,” Current Musicology, Spring 2001/02,

303-323.
14 Ibid.

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with… vocal licks out of Fitzgerald’s vocabulary such as the rapid alteration of syllables that

start with /n/ and /d/.” 15

Cerulli discussed syllabic choice at two points in “Ella… The Jazz Horn”, featured in

the liner notes to the compilation album The Best of Decca. 16 First, he wrote, “It seems, too,

in the syllables she uses for improvising, she chooses the ones most easily adaptable to the

flow of a tenor sax.” 17 Later, he continued with, “She adopts many of the phrasing devices of

the tenor. There are many times when she will take a word like in and sing it ‘i-hin’; or and

will emerge ‘a-ha-hand’; and she will have improvised within the word or a vowel, in the

chord, and with the mannerisms of a tenor.” 18

Nicholson twice referenced the influence of instrumental improvisation in

Fitzgerald’s styling in the following commentary, which is somewhat limited in its

descriptions of Fitzgerald’s improvisational technique. He first wrote, “From start to finish

her conception is purely instrumental, just like a trumpet or a saxophone ‘blowing’ through

the blues changes.” 19 Nicholson also commented, “Her ‘set riffs’ would remain common to

every performance of the song she gave for almost fifty years; they represented the

building blocks around which she would construct her improvisation. This was a factor

common to all her scat features.” 20

15 Ibid.
16 Reprinted in Gourse, Ella Fitzgerald: Seven Decades of Commentary, 41-42.
17 Gourse, Ella Fitzgerald: Seven Decades of Commentary, 42.
18 Ibid.
19 Stuart Nicholson, Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz (New York: Da Capo Press, 1995),

139-140.
20 Ibid.

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In a previous study, I transcribed a live recording of “Oh, Lady Be Good” 21 from

Verve Records’ compilation album The Essential Ella Fitzgerald: The Great Songs, 22

reviewing the 525 scat syllables used by Fitzgerald during the course of the solo,

identifying 69 unique syllables and grouping them into four categories, along with

identifying combinations used on triplet figures. 23 This remains one of the few published

analytical studies of Ella Fitzgerald’s improvisational style. 24

Like Gunther Schuller in his article “Sonny Rollins and the Challenge of Thematic

Improvisation,” 25 I drew large conclusions based on analysis of one particular solo. 26 While

I do feel that the recording I chose is certainly a fine representation of Fitzgerald’s

improvisational style, it is hardly the exemplar. In writing “The Art and Craft of Scat Singing

and Melodic Alteration,“ I then wrote similar analyses of “representative solos” from Mel

21 Diana Spradling, Jazz Singing: Developing Artistry and Authenticity (Edmonds, WA: Sound Music

Publications, 2007), 83-89.


22 This is not the most well-known Ella solo on “Lady Be Good”; the one with which most jazz listeners are
familiar is the March 18, 1947 Decca Records studio recording featuring Bob Haggart and His Orchestra. This
live Jazz at the Philharmonic recording was made on October 7, 1957.
23Spradling, Jazz Singing: Developing Artistry and Authenticity, 89. These distinctions were assigned solely by
arbitrary endpoints based on the number of times a specific syllable was used in the solo.
24 Spradling asked me to write Part Three of her book; this section was given the title “The Art and Craft of

Scat Singing and Melodic Alteration.”


Schuller, “Sonny Rollins and the Challenge of Thematic Improvisation.” The article has been reprinted
25

many times, including Walser, Keeping Time, 212-222.


26An in-depth analysis of the flaws in Schuller’s thesis can be found in Givan, “Gunther Schuller and the
Challenge of Sonny Rollins: Stylistic Context, Intentionality, and Jazz Analysis,” 167-237.

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Tormé, 27 Sarah Vaughan, 28 Betty Carter, 29 Mark Murphy, 30 and Bobby McFerrin, 31 then

drew a series of ten general conclusions about scat singing from these solos 32 and stated in

regard to scat syllables: “An analysis of these solos shows that the most common scat

syllables are: Ah, Ba, Bi, Bop, Bu, Da, Dat, Di, Dl, Dn, Do, Dow, Du, Ee, Oo, Wa, and Ya; they

are used in interchangeable combinations with each other. Although these are not the only

syllables used, they are historically the most common.” 33

I later wrote a paper exploring Ella’s mid-1940s output for Decca Records in which I

examined the following Ella Fitzgerald recordings in detail: “Into Each Life, Some Rain Must

Fall” (1944), “It’s Only a Paper Moon” (1945), “Flying Home” (1945), and “Oh, Lady Be

Good” (1947). 34 In writing about her syllabic vocabulary, I chose not to use International

Phonetic Alphabet in favor of labels that were based on more colloquial spellings to

account for the more pliable behaviors of vowels in scat singing, compared with the

Europeanized vowel behaviors for which IPA analysis is commonly used. 35 For each solo, I

broke down both the complete syllabic set utilized, with the number of times each syllable

was used in the solo, and identifications of notable and/or unusual behaviors. For “Flying

27Spradling, Jazz Singing: Developing Artistry and Authenticity, 91-102. “Route 66” (Live at the Maisonette,
Atlantic, 1975)
28 Ibid., 103-107. “Shulie a Bop” (Sarah Vaughan, Verve, 1954).
29 Ibid., 109-114. “Frenesi” (Meet Betty Carter and Ray Bryant, Columbia, 1955).
30 Ibid., 115-120. “Effendi” (Beauty and the Beast, Muse, 1985).
31 Ibid., 121-128. “Moondance” (Bobby McFerrin, Elektra, 1982),
32 Ibid., 129-131.
33 Ibid., 130.
34 Justin Binek, “Ella Fitzgerald: syllabic choice in scat singing and her timbral syllabic development between

1944 and 1947,” http://www.michmusic.com/info/.


35 Ibid., 8.

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Home” and “Oh, Lady Be Good,” I analyzed each solo chorus in the recording individually,

summarized the complete recording, and well as identified broader groups based on

variants of “base” scat syllables. I also analyzed Fitzgerald’s onset attacks, or articulations,

dividing them into six different groups for purposes of comparison and contrast. 36

Methodology and Importance of this Topic in Vocal Jazz Education

In this document, I am presenting analyses of all or part of the following recordings

as a continuation of the research I began in “Ella Fitzgerald: syllabic choice in scat singing

and her timbral syllabic development between 1944 and 1947”:

“Cow Cow Boogie” (scat fills only) 37

“How High the Moon” (full solo) 38

“Basin Street Blues” (scat fills only) 39

“Dream a Little Dream of Me” (scat fills only) 40

“Smooth Sailing” (complete recording) 41

“Airmail Special” (complete recording) 42

36 Ibid., 36-37.
37Ella Fitzgerald and the Ink Spots, recorded November 3, 1943, master number 71482-A, first issued on
Decca 18587.
38 Recorded December 20, 1947, master number 74324, first issued Decca 24387.
39Ella Fitzgerald accompanied by Sy Oliver and His Orchestra, recorded September 20, 1949, master number
75282, first issued Decca 24868.
40 Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, accompanied by Sy Oliver and His Orchestra, recorded August 25, 1950,

master number 76750, first issued Decca 27209.


41 Recorded June 26, 1951, master number 81215, first issued Decca 27693.
42“Airmail Special” and “Rough Ridin’” both are from Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by the Ray Brown
Orchestra, master numbers 82075 and 82076, first issued Decca 28126 and 27948.

7
“Rough Ridin’” (complete recording)

“Mr. Paganini” (scat fills only) 43

“Preview” (complete recording)

Through transcription and analysis of these recordings, I examined several areas of

interest to accomplish the following specific goals:

1. Codify individual scat syllables used and the number of times they are

utilized, both in single solo choruses and in totality.

2. Identify broad “syllabic groups” comprised of variants on specific syllables

accounting for greater than two percent of the content of a particular solo.

This may seem an arbitrary number, but it is based on the general

assumption that if a certain syllable (or variants thereof) are used ten or

more times in a solo containing five hundred individual syllables, this

represents a definitive choice on Fitzgerald’s part. The “syllabic groups” idea

also allows for more informative analysis; while it is interesting to note the

number of times Fitzgerald sang doo, dooee, doom, doon, doop, or doot in a

given solo, it is more instructive and informative to consider all of these

syllables to fall under the broader “doo” syllabic group for purposes of

comparison between solos.

3. Analyze syllabic onsets to explore articulation at the beginning of Fitzgerald’s

scat syllables.

43“Mr. Paganini” and “Preview” both are from Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by Sy Oliver and His Orchestra,
recorded June 26, 1952. “Mr. Paganini” was originally recorded and issued in two parts, with master
numbers 83010 and 83011, both first issued Decca 28774. “Preview” has master number 83014, first issued
Decca 28321.

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4. Explore comparisons between syllabic behaviors in the various solos, both in

terms of exact number of times used and on a percentage basis for purposes

of comparisons between recordings, particularly examining syllabic groups

and onsets.

After transcribing and analyzing these solos, I codified a system of scat syllables

utilized by Ella Fitzgerald during this foundational period. In doing so, I needed to make

educated judgments about how to describe the syllables she utilized. As I wrote

previously, 44 “An issue involved with describing vowel behaviors and shapes is that most

studies of singers’ vowel behaviors involve the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet

(IPA). While this is effective for analyzing more Europeanized vowel behaviors, as Diana

Spradling wrote, “Our everyday, American vernacular speech is full of schwa substitutions.

With the advent of scat singing, many of our [a] vowels have become schwa vowels and for

a very practical reason. There isn’t enough time to adjust the jaw down and then back up

into a more shallow position in faster tempos; and when the jaw is more open, it tends to

slow down the tempo and the groove of a tune. There’s a huge articulatory difference

between Bah-Bah-Doo-Bay and Buh-Buh-Doo-Bay. In addition, the schwa vowel keeps

pronunciation from becoming too articulated, too formal and/or sounding too ‘trained.’” 45

With that in mind, I chose to represent Fitzgerald’s vowel behaviors through the following

vernacular descriptors:

• ah (as in “caught”)
• ee (as in “free)

44Binek, “Ella Fitzgerald: syllabic choice in scat singing and her timbral syllabic development between 1944
and 1947,” 8-9.
45 Spradling, Jazz Singing: Developing Artistry and Authenticity, 31.

9
• eh (as in “bed”)
• ey (as in “gray”)
• ih (as in “hit”)
• oh (as in “boat”)
• oo (as in “boot”)
• ooh (as in “book”)
• ow (as in “shout”)
• oy (a diphthong combining the aforementioned oh and ee vowels)
• uh (the unstressed, open schwa “uh”

A few additional descriptors that I chose to use:

• A / is applied to any onset vowel accompanied by a glottal attack.


• All consonants are written in standard conventions of the English language.
• All lyrical quotes are indicated by quotation marks.
• A mordant is indicated under the note for any sustained note with a heavy
vibrato effect.
• Pronounced scoops are notated with an upward scooping  symbol.

Additionally, most glottal onsets will imply a slight scoop, or pitch bend, in terms of

articulation and pitch. This is an inherent aspect of Fitzgerald’s stylistic approach, and it is

also an appropriate consideration when singing in swing and bebop styles.

10
CHAPTER 2

OBSERVING THE EVOLUTION OF ELLA FITZGERALD’S SCAT SYLLABLE VOCABULARY

THROUGH ANALYSIS OF RECORDED BACKGROUND FILLS

In my prior research, 46 I examined two early examples of scat solo fills Ella recorded

for Decca: 1944’s “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall,” 47 and 1945’s “It’s Only A Paper

Moon.” 48 To this analysis, I have added an even earlier example of Ella providing

background fills with The Ink Spots, 1943’s “Cow Cow Boogie.” 49 Like the recording of “Into

Each Life Some Rain Must Fall,” Fitzgerald provides background fills behind Hoppy Jones’

spoken-word monologue. 50 As I previously wrote: “This is characteristic of most recordings

by the Ink Spots in the 1930s and early 1940s: lead singer Bill Kenny (1914-1978) would

sing the complete melody, then bass Orville ‘Hoppy’ Jones (1902-1944) would recite either

the first half or the bridge of the song. ‘Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall’ represents a

slight departure from the template, as Kenny sings the melody, then Fitzgerald sings more

stylized version of the melody, followed by the half-chorus monologue with scat fills.”

46Binek, “Ella Fitzgerald: syllabic choice in scat singing and her timbral syllabic development between 1944
and 1947,” 9-11.
47 Ella Fitzgerald and the Ink Spots, recorded August 30, 1944. Master number 72370, first released on Decca

23356.
48Ella Fitzgerald and the Delta Rhythm Boys, recorded March 27, 1945. Master number 72798, first released
on Decca 23425.
49 Ella Fitzgerald and the Ink Spots, recorded November 3, 1943, master number 71482-A, first issued on

Decca 18587.
50 Binek, “Ella Fitzgerald: syllabic choice in scat singing and her timbral syllabic development between 1944

and 1947,” 9.

11
Ex. 1. “Cow Cow Boogie” (0:34-0:55).

The following page presents a complete breakdown of the syllabic choices

Fitzgerald used in this recording.

12
Table 1. Syllabic Tallies and Syllable Groups in “Cow Cow Boogie”

Individual Syllables: 56 Syllable Groups


Unique Syllables: 20 Comprising >2%

Beh 1 Doo 9 (16.0%)


Bih 1 Dih 7 (12.5%)
Boh 1 Dee 6 (10.7%)
Boo 3 Oo 6 (10.7%)
Boy 2 Buh 4 (7.1%)
Bree (flip /r/) 2 Ee 4 (7.1%)
Bwee 1 Boo 3 (5.4%)
Buh 4 Ih 3 (5.4%)
Dee 6 Boy 2 (3.6%)
Dih 7 Bree (flip /r/) 2 (3.6%)
Dl 2 Dl 2 (3.6%)
Doh 1
Doo 9
Ee 4
Eh 1
Hey 1
Ih 3
Oo 4
/Ool 2
Uh 1

The four most common syllable groups (Doo, Dih, Dee, and Oo) account for exactly

half (50.0%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The eleven syllable groups identified above

account for 85.7% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 15 (26.8%)


D Dental Onsets: 25 (44.6%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 14 (26.8%)

A clearer picture of Fitzgerald’s approach to background fills during this period

emerges when we combine the syllabic data from “Cow Cow Boogie” with her similar

recorded background fills of this period on “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall” and “It’s

Only a Paper Moon.”

13
Table 2. Ella Fitzgerald Scat Syllable Choices in Background Fills, 1943-1945

Unique Syllables: 135


Individual Syllables: 34

Bah 1 Doh 1
Bahp 1 Doht 1
Bee 9 Doo 16
Beh 1 Duht 2
Bih 6 Dwee 1
Boh 8 Ee 9
Boo 11 Eh 1
Booh 1 Hey 1
Boy 2 Ih 3
Bree (flip /r/) 2 M 1
Buh 8 Oo 9
Bwee 1 /Ool 2
Dee 8 Tree (flip /r/) 3
Deel 1 Uh 3
Dih 7 Uhm 1
Dl 5 Uhp 1
Dm 7 Yuh 1

Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Doo 16 (11.8%)
Boo/Booh 12 (8.9%)
Oo 11 (8.1%)
Bee 9 (6.7%)
Dee 9 (6.7%)
Ee 9 (6.7%)
Boh 8 (5.9%)
Buh 8 (5.9%)
Dih 7 (5.2%)
Dm 7 (5.2%)
Bih 6 (4.4%)
Dl 5 (3.7%)
Uh 5 (3.7%)
Ih 3 (2.2%)
Tree (flip /r/) 3 (2.2%)

Six syllables (Doo, Boo/Booh, Oo, Bee, Dee, and Ee) account for slightly less than half

(48.9%) of syllabic content in these fills. Adding two more syllables (Boh and Buh) results

14
in over sixty percent (60.7%) of syllabic content being covered. The fifteen syllable groups

identified above account for 89.6% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 51 (37.8%)


D Dental Onsets: 48 (35.6%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 30 (22.2%)

In combining this analysis with my prior analysis 51 of “Flying Home,” 52 we observe a

clear picture of Ella Fitzgerald’s syllabic approach to scat singing prior to 1946. During this

time, her syllabic content was primarily driven by the following ten syllable groups, with

the six most common (Boo/Booh, Dl, Dee, Oo, Doo, and Bee) accounting for nearly half

(49.1%) of all syllables utilized, with the ten groups accounting for 60.5% of total syllables

used.

Table 3. Pre-1946 Syllable Groups


Boo/Booh (9.9%)
Dl (9.1%)
Oo/Ooh (8.9%)
Dee (8.8%)
Doo (8.3%)
Bee (4.0%)
Dih (3.7%)
Bah (3.0%)
Boy (2.5%)
Nah (2.2%)

B Dental Onsets: 159 (30.0%)


D Dental Onsets: 222 (39.1%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 112 (19.7%)

In 1946, Fitzgerald toured with the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra, and both her

51Binek, “Ella Fitzgerald: syllabic choice in scat singing and her timbral syllabic development between 1944
and 1947,” 12-21
52Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied. by Vic Schoen and His Orchestra, recorded October 4, 1945. Master number
73066, first released on Decca 23956.

15
harmonic and syllabic approaches to improvisation changed dramatically. Before exploring

this topic in greater detail through study of her extended improvisations, though, it is

worth examining three recordings featuring fills (background or otherwise) that Fitzgerald

made in the postwar era. In her 1949 recording of “Basin Street Blues,” 53 Fitzgerald sang

one chorus of the song in the style of her primary influence, Louis Armstrong, interspersing

the melody with Armstrong-inspired scat riffs.

Ex. 2. “Basin Street Blues” (2:28-2:45).

While this excerpt is amusing, its brevity does little to inform listeners and research

about Fitzgerald’s evolution as a scat singer without being placed in context with other

solos from the same post-Gillespie timeframe. A more instructive standalone example

comes from a 1950 recording of “Dream A Little Dream of Me.” This particular recording is

actually a duet with Armstrong, and Fitzgerald provides a series of scat fills in the

background after Armstrong takes the melody at the beginning of the second verse.

53 Ella Fitzgerald accompanied by Sy Oliver and His Orchestra, recorded September 20, 1949, master number

75282, first issued Decca 24868.

16
Ex. 3. “Dream A Little Dream of Me” (1:57-2:23).

Table 4. Syllabic Tallies and Syllable Groups in “Dream A Little Dream of Me”
Syllable Groups
Comprising >2%

Dih 7 (12.3%) B Dental Onsets: 25 (43.8%)


Buh 6 (10.5%) D Dental Onsets: 25 (43.8%)
Doo/Dooh 6 (10.5%) Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 2 (3.5%)
Bah 4 (7.0%)
Bee 4 (7.0%)
Boh 4 (7.0%)
Boo 4 (7.0%)
Dn 4 (7.0%)
Doh 4 (7.0%)
Dee 3 (5.3%)
Yuh 3 (5.3%)
Bih 2 (3.5%)
Yoo/Yooh 2 (3.5%)

17
Nine syllable groups (Dih, Buh, Doo/Dooh, Bah, Bee, Boh, Boo, Dn, and Doh) account

for 75.4% of the solo’s syllabic content, and the thirteen syllable groups identified account

for 93.0% of the syllables used. The final solo to examine in looking at scat fills of this

period is Fitzgerald’s 1952 recording of “Mr. Paganini,” 54 featuring solo fills in the breaks

between stanzas. This series of eight fills is notable for its repetition of ideas and use of

quotes, not only her signature “Tisket, A-Tasket,” but also a pair of nods to Charlie Parker’s

“Moose the Mooche” 55 in fills 2 and 6.

Ex. 4. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 1 (1:07-1:16).

Ex. 5. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 2 (1:37-1:44).

54 Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by Sy Oliver and His Orchestra, recorded June 26, 1952. “Mr. Paganini” was

originally recorded and issued in two parts, with master numbers 83010 and 83011, both first issued Decca
28774.
55 Infamously, a number of historians suggest that this song is named after Parker’s heroin dealer, Emry

“Moose the Mooche” Byrd. Source: Woideck, Charlie Parker: His Music and Life, 124-125.

18
Ex. 6. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 3 (2:07-2:16).

Ex. 7. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 4 (2:38-2:46).

Ex. 8. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 5 (3:04-3:11).

Ex. 9. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 6 (3:28-3:34).

Ex. 10. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 7 (3:43-3:47).

19
Ex. 11. “Mr. Paganini,” solo fill 8 (4:28-4:36).

Analysis of Fitzgerald’s syllabic choices in this solo reveals her increased reliance on

the D onset consonant, along with more use of vowel and glottal syllabic onsets.

Table 5. Syllabic Tallies and Syllable Groups in “Mr. Paganini”


Individual Syllables: 176
Unique Syllables: 49

/Ah 2 Dih 12 Leht 1


Ah 1 Dl 11 Noh 1
Bah 4 Dm 2 Nuh 1
Bahp 3 Dn 9 Oh 5
Bee 18 Doh 4 Oo 2
Beel 2 Doo 13 Ooh 1
Beh 2 Doop 1 Oon 1
Bih 6 Dow 1 /Uh 1
Bihl 1 Duh 2 Uh 2
Boh 3 /Ee 4 Yah 2
Boo 9 Ee 7 Yih 1
Booh 2 Eel 1 Yoo 2
Booih 1 Eeoo 2 Yuh 1
Boop 1 Eep 1
Boy 1 Eh 5 Quotes: “Tisket, a tasket, I
Buh 2 Hee 2 lost my yellow basket.”
Dah 7 Ih 8 “We’re due.”
Dee 2 Lah 3

20
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Bee 22 (12,5%)
Ee 15 (8.5%)
Doo 14 (8.0%)
Boo 13 (7.4%)
Dih 12 (6.8%)
Dl 11 (6.3%)
Dn 9 (5.1%)
Ih 8 (4.5%)
Bah 7 (4.0%)
Bih 7 (4.0%)
Dah 7 (4.0%)
Eh 5 (2.8%)
Oh 5 (2.8%)
Doh 4 (2.2%)
Oo/Ooh 4 (2.2%)

Seven syllable groups (Bee, Ee, Doo, Boo, Dih, Dl, and Dn) account for nearly half

(46.6%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The fifteen syllable groups identified above account

for 81.3% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 55 (31.3%)


D Dental Onsets: 64 (36.4%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 43 (24.4%)

With the data compiled, a clearer picture of Fitzgerald’s solo fills in the postwar

period emerges.

21
Table 6. Ella Fitzgerald Scat Syllable Choices in Background Fills, 1949-1952
Individual Syllables: 262
Unique Syllables: 62

/Ah 2 Duh 2
Ah 4 /Ee 4
Bah 15 Ee 7
Bahp 3 Eel 1
Bee 4 Eeoo 2
Beh 3 Eep 1
Bih 8 Eh 5
Bihl 1 Hee 2
Boh 7 Ih 9
Boo 13 Lah 4
Booh 2 Leht 1
Booih 1 M 3
Boop 1 Mah 1
Boy 1 Muh 1
Buh 8 N 1
Dah 7 Noh 1
Dee 5 Nuh 1
Deh 1 Oh 5
Dlee 1 Oo 2
Dih 18 Ooh 1
Diht 1 Oon 1
Dl 12 Ow 1
Dm 2 Spoh 1
Dn 14 Uh 3
Doh 7 Yah 2
Dohp 1 Yih 1
Doo 20 Yoo 3
Dooh 1 Yooh 1
Dool 1 Yuh 4
Doop 1 Zeh 1
Dow 1 Zihp 2

Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Doo/Dooh 23 (8.8%) Bih 9 (3.5%)


Dih 19 (7.2%) Doh 9 (3.5%)
Bah 18 (6.9%) Ih 9 (3.5%)
Boo/Booh 17 (6.5%) Boh 7 (2.7%)
Ee 15 (5.7%) Dah 7 (2.7%)
Dn 14 (5.3%) Ah 6 (2.3%)
Dl 12 (4.6%)

22
The thirteen syllable groups identified above account for 72.1% of the total syllables

used.

B Dental Onsets: 67 (25.6%)


D Dental Onsets: 95 (36.3%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 48 (18.3%)

The following three graphs provide a visualization of the shift in Ella’s scat fill

syllabic content.

Figure 1. Background scat fills, 1943-1955.


14.00%
12.00%
10.00%
8.00%
6.00%
4.00%
2.00%
0.00%

Note the increased use of D as a syllabic onset in the 1949-1952 period.

Figure 2. Background scat fills, 1949-1952.


10.00%
9.00%
8.00%
7.00%
6.00%
5.00%
4.00%
3.00%
2.00%
1.00%
0.00%

23
The following graph provides a direct visual comparison between the two syllabic

sets.

Figure 3. Comparison of syllable groups in scat fills.


0.14
0.12
0.1
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02
0

1943-1945 1949-1952

This shift is identified in analyzing syllabic onsets as well:

Table 7. Comparison of Pre-War and Post-War Onset Syllables.


Onset Pre-War % Post-War %
B Dental Onsets: 37.8% 25.6%
D Dental Onsets: 35.6% 36.3%
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 22.2% 18.3%

However, to identify the changes in Fitzgerald’s syllabic approach more thoroughly,

it is important to look beyond fills and to examine longer recordings with more improvised

scat solo material. My previous paper explored her 1947 recording of “Oh, Lady Be Good”; 56

for this work, I chose to explore that same year’s “How High The Moon.”

56 Binek, “Ella Fitzgerald: syllabic choice in scat singing and her timbral syllabic development between 1944

and 1947,” 22-35

24
CHAPTER 3

“HOW HIGH THE MOON,” “OH, LADY BE GOOD,” AND THE SHIFT IN

FITZGERALD’S SOLO APPROACH

In Chapter 2, I wrote about the harmonic and syllabic shifts in Ella Fitzgerald’s

improvisational approach following her tour with Dizzy Gillespie in 1946. I would argue

that the reasons for the syllabic shift are twofold. First, the faster tempos associated with

the Bebop style of jazz required a different approach to articulations and vowels. It is

physically necessary to sing with a narrower syllabic range, and with articulation driven by

the tongue and not the jaw. As Diana Spradling wrote in Jazz Singing, “Jazz solo singing

requires a different pedagogical approach. Consider three behaviors: 1) a more shallow

lower jaw, 2) a busier, more active tongue, and 3) increased resonance in the upper jaw

region.” 57 Second, the change in Fitzgerald’s syllabic choices was also inspired by the

articulations Dizzy Gillespie and his sidemen used as soloists, both instrumentally and

vocally. Recordings of Gillespie’s orchestra during this period frequently feature Gillespie

and his sidemen (usually John Brown, but occasionally with Kenny Hagood) singing scat

melodies and then trading improvised vocals. 58 Fitzgerald herself quoted Gillespie’s “Oo-

Bop-Sh’-Bam” in the fifth chorus of arguably her most well-known and influential solo,

1947’s “Oh, Lady Be Good.”

57 Spradling, Jazz Singing: Developing Artistry and Authenticity, 27.


58Examples of these trading sessions are found on “Jump Did-Le Ba,” “Ool Ya Koo,” “Oop Bop Sh’Bam, and
“Oop-Pop-A-Da.” These recordings are all found in Dizzy Gillespie: The Complete RCA Victor Recordings,
Bluebird, 1995.

25
Ex. 12. “Jump Did-Le Ba,” Dizzy Gillespie scat solo excerpt.

Ex. 13. “Ool-Ya-Koo,” Kenny Hagood scat solo excerpt.

This change in articulation created a shift in Fitzgerald’s solo timbre as well. The

onset consonant D naturally creates a shift in a singer’s resonance, focusing tone into a

more forward resonant placement at the front of the hard palate. This consequently results

in a brighter tone quality in general. 59 I previously wrote about the young Fitzgerald’s tone

59 Ladefoged and Maddieson, The Sounds of the World’s Languages, 323.

26
quality being “reedy,” in the style of Artie Shaw; 60 Ella’s immediate post-Gillespie tonal

color is better described as “brassy.”

To examine this change, I will first refer to my prior analyses of Fitzgerald’s 1945

(pre-Gillespie) recording, “Flying Home,” 61 combined with the material from her recorded

background fills. This analysis yields the following syllabic profile

of her solo singing from this period.

Table 8. Syllable Groups and Onset Consonants in “Flying Home”


Boo/Booh (9.9%)
Dl (9.1%)
Oo/Ooh (8.9%)
Dee (8.8%)
Doo (8.3%)
Bee (4.0%)
Dih (3.7%)
Bah (3.0%)
Boy (2.5%)
Nah (2.2%)

B Dental Onsets: 159 (30.0%)


D Dental Onsets: 222 (39.1%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 112 (19.7%)

In exploring Fitzgerald’s post-Gillespie solo approach, significant changes are

identified. This shift is particularly marked by an increase of syllables with a D onset

consonant, an increase of vowel and glottal onsets, and a decrease in syllables with a B

onset consonant. The three choruses of “How High the Moon” are shown below, followed

by a summary of the solo material chosen.

60 Spradling, Jazz Singing: Developing Artistry and Authenticity, 84.


61 Binek, “Ella Fitzgerald: syllabic choice in scat singing and her timbral syllabic development between 1944

and 1947,” 20-21.

27
Ex. 14. “How High the Moon,” chorus 1 (1:27-2:02).

28
Ex. 15. “How High the Moon,” chorus 2 (2:02-2:36).

29
Ex. 16. “How High the Moon,” chorus 3 (2:37-3:02).

The combined data for the complete solo is presented on the following page.

30
Table 9. Syllabic Tallies and Syllable Groups in “How High the Moon”
Individual Syllables: 440
Unique Syllables: 76

Ah 15 Dloh 2
/Ah 4 Dm 6
Bah 27 Dn 26
Bahb 1 Doh 2
Bahm 3 Doo 26
Bee 33 Dooh 3
Beem 2 Dow 1
Beeoo 1 Down 3
Beeooh 4 Doy 1
Beh 6 Duh 1
Bey 9 Ee 4
Beym 1 /Ee 8
Beyoo 1 Eeoo 1
Bih 21 Ey 1
Bihm 1 Huh 1
Bihp 2 Ih 14
Biht 1 /Ih 2
Blee 1 Lah 4
Bley 1 Leh 1
Blih 2 Lih 1
Boh 4 Loh 1
Boo 8 Loo 1
Booh 9 Looh 1
Boom 2 M 1
Bow 1 Oh 3
Bowm 2 Oo 47
Boy 1 /Ooee 1
Buh 3 Ooh 2
Dah 9 Oom 3
Dee 42 Oom 1
Deem 1 Oot 1
Deeoo 2 Ow 2
Deh 13 Oy 1
Dih 13 Uh 2
Diht 7 Voh 1
Dl 18 Yooh 1
Dlee 1 Yuh 2
Dlih 1

31
The following Syllable Groups comprise greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Oo/Ooh 55 (12.5%)
Dee 45 (10.2%)
Bee 40 (9.1%)
Bah 31 (7.0%)
Doo/Dooh 29 (6.6%)
Dn 26 (5.9%)
Bih 25 (5.7%)
Dl 22 (5.0%)
Dih 20 (4.5%)
Ah 19 (4.3%)
Boo/Booh 19 (4.3%)
Beh/Bey 17 (3.9%)
Ih 16 (3.6%)
Deh 13 (3.0%)
Ee 13 (3.0%)

The six most common syllabic groups (Oo/Ooh, Dee, Bee, Bah, Doo/Dooh, and Dn)

account for over half (52.8%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The fifteen syllable groups

identified above account for 88.6% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 147 (33.4%)


D Dental Onsets: 178 (40.5%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 112 (25.5%)

Combining “Flying Home” with the syllabic data gleaned from my prior analysis of

Fitzgerald’s “Oh, Lady Be Good” solo, it is possible to craft a model of Postwar/Post-

Gillespie/Bebop Ella Fitzgerald as a scat singer and syllabic improviser by identifying

Syllabic Groups present in the 1,000+ individual syllables identified.

32
Table 10. Ella Fitzgerald Scat Syllable Choices in 1947 Recordings
Individual Syllables: 1141
Unique Syllables: 129

The following Syllable Groups comprise greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Dl 114 (10.0%)
Dee 112 (9.8%)
Oo/Ooh 108 (9.5%)
Doo/Dooh 74 (6.5%)
Bee 65 (5.7%)
Ah 62 (5.4%)
Dih 51 (4.5%)
Bah 47 (4.1%)
Bih 44 (3.9%)
Dn 42 (3.7%)
Boo/Booh 30 (2.7%)
Oh 30 (2.7%)
Beh/Bey 27 (2.4%)
Ih 27 (2.4%)
Ee 25 (2.2%)

Arco Bass 26 (2.3%) 62

The seven most common syllabic groups (Dl, Dee, Oo/Ooh, Doo/Dooh, Bee, Ah, and

Dih) account for over half (51.4%) of the syllabic content from these two solos. The sixteen

syllable groups identified above account for 77.5% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 256 (22.4%)


D Dental Onsets: 478 (41.8%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 296 (25.9%)

Here are the shifts in Fitzgerald’s approach, represented visually:

Figure 4. Scat syllable choices following Gillespie tour.

62“Arco Bass” refers to a portion of the third solo chorus of “Oh, Lady Be Good,” in which Fitzgerald imitates
Slam Stewart’s signature “mumble/hum” style of vocalizing simultaneously with his bowed (arco) bass
improvisational solos.

33
45.00%
40.00%
35.00%
30.00%
25.00%
20.00%
15.00%
10.00%
5.00%
0.00%

Vowel/Glottal…
Beh/Bey

Ee

Oh

B Onsets
Bah

Boo/Booh

Arco Bass
Bih

Ih

D Onsets
Bee

Dl
Dn
Boy

Dih

Doo/Dooh

Nah
Ah

Dee

Oo/Ooh
Pre-1947 Lady/How High

To summarize: prior to 1946, six syllabic groups (Dl, Boo, Dee, Oo, Doo, Bah, and Ee)

account for nearly half (49.1%) of the syllabic content in Fitzgerald’s solos. The most

common syllabic groups, in order of frequency are Dl, Boo, Dee, Oo, Doo, Bah, Ee, Bee, Dih,

Nah, Boy, Bwee, Lah, Ah, Dah, Duh, and Oo. The percentage breakdown of syllabic onsets is

30.0% B, 39.1% D, and 19.7% vowels and glottals.

In “Oh, Lady Be Good” and “How High the Moon,” seven syllabic groups (Dl, Dee,

Oo/Ooh, Doo/Dooh, Bee, Ah, and Dih) account for over half (51.4%) of the syllabic content

in these two solos. Three syllabic groups (Dl, Dee, and Oo/Ooh) occur much more

frequently than any other group (114, 112, and 108 times, respectively; the next largest

group, Doo/Dooh, occurs 74 times). The most common syllabic groups, in order of

frequency, are Dl, Dee, Oo/Ooh, Doo/Dooh, Bee, Ah, Dih, Bah, Bih, Dn, Boo/Booh, Oh,

Beh/Bey, Ih, raspy arco bass syllables, and Ee. The percentage breakdown of syllabic onsets

is 22.4% B, 41.8% D, and 25.9% vowels and glottals.

Ella Fitzgerald’s improvisational style continued to evolve in the late 1940s and

early 1950s. Her “vocalized instrumentals” of 1951 and 1952 in particular refined the

34
template for her Bebop vocabulary and eventually provided the “common practice”

approach that defined her scat solos for the rest of her career.

35
CHAPTER 4

“SMOOTH SAILING,” “AIRMAIL SPECIAL,” ROUGH RIDIN’,” AND “PREVIEW”: THE

“VOCALIZED INSTRUMENTALS” AND THE REFINEMENT OF ELLA FITZGERALD’S

IMPROVSATIONAL STYLE

In 1951 and 1952, Fitzgerald recorded four wordless (mostly), originally

instrumental selections for Decca. These recordings reveal stylistic and syllabic

refinements that characterized Fitzgerald’s scat singing from this point forward.

Fitzgerald’s frequent inclusion of song quotes raises the question of whether it is necessary

to distinguish between syllables used on song quotes and those used in non-song-quote

lines. It could be argued that if a song quote includes the repetition of a set of syllables, then

this repetition has the potential to affect the syllable count.

This argument is based on the assumption that Ella Fitzgerald repeated herself

exactly when singing repetitive song quotes, and that she did not use repetitive syllabic

sequences when freely improvising non-song-quote lines. Fitzgerald regularly altered

syllabic content when singing repetitive quotes, however, and she likewise regularly

repeated syllabic material when improvising freely. The following two examples illustrate

this quite clearly:

Ex. 17. “Flying Home“ (1945),


altered syllabic content on repetitive song quote.

36
Ex. 18. “Oh, Lady Be Good” (1947),
Repetitive syllabic content on freely improvised solo material.

Returning to the analysis of the “vocalized instrumentals” of 1951 and 1952,

“Smooth Sailing” 63 provides a fascinating case study for two key reasons. First, it is a blues,

a style and form not commonly associated with Fitzgerald. 64 Secondly, there is a ten-

measure stretch of double-time improvisation that provides a study in contrast between

Fitzgerald’s Swing and Bebop vocabulary at this time.

As a complete recording, “Smooth Sailing” is structured as follows, with each chorus

representing one statement of the twelve-bar blues form:

• Chorus 1: statement of the melody, punctuated with B-3 organ hits provided by
Hank Jones.

• Chorus 2: alteration of the melody, punctuated with organ hits and background
pads from the Ray Charles Singers.

• Chorus 3: swing improvisational figures, with double-time material beginning in


m.11 of the twelve-bar chorus.

• Chorus 4: double-time material continuing until m. 9 of the twelve-bar chorus.

• Chorus 5: big band-inspired “shout chorus,” with Fitzgerald singing in


conjunction with the Ray Charles Singers.

• Chorus 6: statement of the original melody.

63 Recorded June 26, 1951, master number 81215, first issued Decca 27693.
64 Milt Gabler, liner notes for Ella Fitzgerald 75th Anniversary Celebration, 23.

37
• Chorus 7: statement of the original melody, with a cadential modification over
the last four measures.

Analyzing the double-time material at the end of Chorus 4 shows the refinements

that Fitzgerald was making to her Bebop vocabulary at the beginning of the new decade.

Ex. 19. “Smooth Sailing,” double-time material (1:17-1:37).

38
Table 11. Double-Time Syllabic Tallies and Syllable Groups in “Smooth Sailing”
Individual Syllables: 79
Unique Syllables: 24

Bah 7 Doh 3
Bee 2 Doo 9
Bih 8 Dooh 4
Bihl 1 Dool 1
Booh 5 /Ee 1
Boy 1 Heep 1
Broo (flip /r/) 3 Hih 1
Dah 4 Ih 1
Dee 3 Oo 1
Deh 2 Yah 1
Dey 2 Yoo 1
Dih 7
Dn 5 Growls 2

The following Syllable Groups comprise greater than 2% of the syllabic content in

this section of the solo:

Doo/Dooh 14 (17.7%)
Bih 9 (11.4%)
Bah 7 (8.9%)
Dih 7 (8.9%)
Boo/Booh 5 (6.3%)
Dn 5 (6.3%)
Dah 4 (5.1%)
Deh/Dey 4 (5.1%)
Broo (flip /r/) 3 (3.8%)
Dee 3 (3.8%)
Doh 3 (3.8%)
Bee 2 (2.5%)

Six syllable groups (Doo/Dooh, Bih, Bah, Dih, Boo/Booh, and Dn) account for 59.5%

of the solo’s double-time syllabic content. The twelve syllable groups identified above

account for 83.5% of the syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 27 (34.1%)


D Dental Onsets: 41 (51.8%%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 3 (3.8%)

39
Ex. 20. “Smooth Sailing,” double-time material,
presented in context of the surrounding choruses (0:57-1:45).

40
A comparison of the double-time vocabulary with the solo at large and specifically

the non-double-time swing material reveals significant differences.

Table 12. Comparative Analysis of Syllabic Material in “Smooth Sailing”


Entire Solo Double-Time Non-Double-Time

Syllable Groups Syllable Groups Syllable Groups


comprising greater than comprising greater than comprising greater than
2% of syllabic content: 2% of syllabic content: 2% of syllabic content:
Boo/Booh 85 (25.8%) Doo/Dooh 14 (17.7%) Boo/Booh 80 (30.4%)
Doo/Dooh 31 (9.4%) Bih 9 (11.4%) Doo/Dooh 27 (10.2%)
Bih 27 (8.1%) Bah 7 (8.9%) Bih 18 (6.8%)
Bah 19 (5.8%) Dih 7 (8.9%) Oo/Ooh 15 (5.7%)
Oo/Ooh 18 (5.5%) Boo/Booh 5 (6.3%) Bah 12 (4.6%)
Dih 16 (4.8%) Dn 5 (6.3%) Yoo/Yooh 10 (3.8%)
Dee 12 (3.6%) Dah 4 (5.1%) Dee 9 (3.4%)
Doh 8 (2.4%) Deh/Dey 4 (5.1%) Dih 9 (3.4%)
Bee 7 (2.1%) Broo (flip /r/)3 (3.8%) Dn 9 (3.4%)
Br (flip /r/) 7 (2.1%) Dee 3 (3.8%) Woo 7 (2.7%)
Dah 7 (2.1%) Doh 3 (3.8%)
Woo 7 (2.1%) Bee 2 (2.5%)
Yoo/Yooh 7 (2.1%)

The six most common Six syllable groups The four most common
syllabic groups (Doo/Dooh, Bih, Bah, Dih, syllabic groups
(Boo/Booh, Doo/Dooh, Boo/Booh, and Dn) (Boo/Booh, Doo/Dooh,
Bih, Bah, and Oo) account account for 59.5% of the Bih, and Oo/Ooh)
for over half (54.5%) of solo’s double-time account for over half
the solo’s syllabic syllabic content. The (53.2%) of the solo’s
content. The thirteen twelve syllable groups non-double-time syllabic
syllable groups identified identified above account content. The ten syllable
above account for 76.1% for 83.5% of the syllables groups identified above
of the total syllables used. used. account for 74.5% of the
total syllables used.
B Dental Onsets:
151 (45.8%) B Dental Onsets: B Dental Onsets:
D Dental Onsets: 27 (34.1%) 127 (48.2%)
107 (32.4%) D Dental Onsets: D Dental Onsets:
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 41 (51.8%) 76 (28.9%)
30 (9.1%) Vowel/Glottal Onsets: Vowel/Glottal Onsets:
3 (3.8%) 27 (10.2%)

41
If the double-time material in Fitzgerald’s recording of “Smooth Sailing” helps to

enhance understanding of her double-time/bebop scat singing style, then the entirety of

her 1952 recording of “Airmail Special” 65 is an example of her stylistic transformation, and

in many ways serves as a precursor for the classic solos that she recorded with both Verve

Records and Pablo Records, including “Blue Skies,” 66 “Lemon Drop,” 67 “Oh, Lady Be Good”

(again) 68, and “Them There Eyes.” 69

This 1941 jazz standard, written by Benny Goodman, Jimmy Mundy, and Charlie

Christian, provides an ideal showcase for Fitzgerald’s refined harmonic and syllabic

improvisational approach. After she sings the melody in combination with guitar, she

follows with two choruses of improvisation, a shout chorus performed with the Ray Charles

Singers, and a truncated head out, combining one phrase of the melody, the bridge from the

form, and one phrase from the shout chorus. The following present the two improvisational

choruses, which occur between 0:40 and 1:54 on the recording.

65 Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by the Ray Brown Orchestra, master number 82075, first issued Decca 28126.
66 Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook, Verve Records, 1958.
67 Ella in London, Pablo Records, 1974.
68 Ella Fitzgerald at the Opera House, Verve Records, 1974. As I discussed in the introduction, I wrote an

analysis of this solo, which is published in Diana Spradling’s Jazz Singing: Developing Artistry and Authenticity
(Edmonds, WA: Sound Music Publications, 2007), 83-89.
69 Ella and Basie, Verve Records, 1963.

42
Ex. 21. “Airmail Special” scat choruses 1 and 2 (0:40-1:54)

43
44
Table 13. Syllabic Tallies and Syllable Groups in “Airmail Special”
Total Individual Syllables: 689
Total Unique Syllables: 75

Ah 4 Dooh 1
/Ah 1 Dooih 10
Bah 25 Dool 3
Bahp 4 Doot 16
Bee 30 Dow 7
Beel 1 Duh 2
Beep 1 Ee 4
Bih 14 /Ee 9
Bihm 1 /Eel 2
Blee 4 Eh 2
Bloo 3 Ehrl 2
Boh 1 Gree (flip /r/) 1
Boo 19 Hoy 1
Booee 1 Ih 9
Booh 2 /Ih 3
Boop 1 Ihl 1
Bow 1 L 1
Boy 1 Lee 2
Bree (flip /r/) 27 Leh 1
Buh 6 N 2
Bwahp 1 Nah 1
Bwee 3 Oh 6
Dah 15 Oo 33
Dahee 1 /Oo 1
Dee 30 /Ooee 1
Deel 9 Ow 7
Deh 4 /Ow 4
Dehr 1 Uh 1
Dih 70 Vah 2
Diht 3 Vow 1
Dl 7 Wah 1
Dn 84 Wow 1
Dnah 1 Wuh 1
Doh 12 Yah 8
Dohn 1 Yuh 2
Doht 1 Yoo 6
Doo 141 Yooh 2
Dooee 1

45
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Doo/Dooh 172 (24.9%)


Dn 85 (12.3%)
Dih 73 (10.6%)
Dee 39 (5.7%)
Oo 35 (5.1%)
Bee 32 (4.6%)
Bah 29 (4.2%)
Br (flip /r/) 27 (3.9%)
Boo/Booh 23 (3.3%)
Dah 16 (2.3%)
Bih 15 (2.2%)
Ee 15 (2.2%)
Doh 14 (2.0%)
Ih 14 (2.0%)

The three most common syllabic groups (Doo/Dooh, Dn, and Dih) account for nearly

half (47.9%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The fourteen syllable groups identified above

account for 85.4% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 146 (21.2%)


D Dental Onsets: 424 (61.5%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 92 (13.3%)

Recorded on the same session as “Air Mail Special,” “Rough Ridin’” 70 presents a

different sort of solo altogether. Like “Air Mail Special,” “Rough Ridin’” is a 32-measure

AABA song form; however, while Fitzgerald followed the form exactly in her improvised

solo on “Air Mail Special,” her first improvised solo on “Rough Ridin’” takes place over a

truncated form. After singing the melody of the tune in duo with guitar (and once again

backed by the Ray Charles Singers), Fitzgerald improvised over half of an A section, then

two full A sections, omitting the bridge entirely.

70 Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by the Ray Brown Orchestra, master number 82076, first issued Decca 27948.

46
Ex. 22. “Rough Ridin,’” improvised scat material (1:14-1:57).

Fitzgerald then joins the Ray Charles Singers for two A sections of shout chorus,

before she improvises on the bridge for the first time. After this brief improvisation,

Fitzgerald sings one A section of melody before joining the singers on a four-measure coda.

47
Ex. 23. “Rough Ridin,” improvisation on the bridge (2:29-2:46).

What makes “Rough Ridin’” unique from the standpoint of Fitzgerald’s evolution as

a scat singer is that this is a medium-slow swing tune, but her syllabic vocabulary

throughout the recording is more in line with what would have been associated previously

with her double-time and bebop vocabulary. The 366 individual syllables (62 unique) of

this solo illuminate the stylistic traits, such as an increased use of Y as an onset consonant,

that characterized her scat singing for the next two decades.

Table 14. Syllable Groups in “Rough Ridin’.”


Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Doo/Dooh 96 (26.3%)
Oo/Ooh 37 (10.1%)
Yoo/Yooh 37 (10.1%)
Boo/Booh 30 (8.2%)
Dee 25 (9.6%)
Bee 24 (6.6%)
Dih 23 (6.3%)
Bih 12 (3.3%)
Bah 11 (3.0%)
Dah 10 (2.7%)
Ow 8 (2.2%)

The four most common syllabic groups (Doo/Dooh, Oo/Ooh, Yoo/Yooh, and

Boo/Booh) account for over half (54.6%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The eleven syllable

groups identified above account for 85.4% of the total syllables used.

48
B Dental Onsets: 88 (24.0%)
D Dental Onsets: 171 (46.7%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 52 (14.2%)
Y Onsets: 50 (13.7%)

Recorded on the same 1952 session as “Mr. Paganini,” “Preview” 71 serves as the

final example in this analysis, and the culmination of Fitzgerald’s evolving syllabic

approach to both improvisational and melodic scat singing. This is also one of the more

straightforward recordings analyzed in this document. Fitzgerald sings one chorus of

melody, accompanied by tenor saxophone. She then takes one chorus of improvisational

scat singing, followed by one instrumental chorus. At this point, she returns to the bridge

(with slight embellishment), before closing with two A sections of melody (the second

serving as a coda to the recording).

71 Ella Fitzgerald, accompanied by Sy Oliver and His Orchestra, recorded June 26, 1952, master number 83014,

first issued Decca 28321.

49
Ex. 24. “Preview,” improvisational chorus (0:54-1:41).

50
Table 15. Syllable Groups in “Preview.”
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Doo/Dooh 81 (18.8%)
Boo/Booh 69 (16.0%)
Bee 46 (10.6%)
Dm 36 (8.3%)
Oo/Ooh 35 (8.1%)
Dn 21 (4.9%)
Dee 19 (4.4%)
Bih 18 (4.2%)
Yoo 17 (3.9%)
Bah 11 (2.5%)
Dah 11 (2.5%)

The four most common syllabic groups (Doo/Dooh, Boo/Booh, Bee, and Dm)

account for over half (53.7%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The eleven syllable groups

identified above account for 84.3% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 171 (39.6%)


D Dental Onsets: 190 (44.0%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 43 (10.0%)

The “vocalized instrumentals” of 1951 and 1952 provide a snapshot of a point in

time when Ella Fitzgerald refined her craft as a scat singer and established the syllabic

framework that became one of her defining characteristics as an artist. Chapter Four will

tie together the data extrapolated from transcribing and analyzing Ella Fitzgerald’s work

and draw specific conclusions from that data.

51
CHAPTER 5

CONCLUSIONS DRAWN FROM TRANSCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS OF ELLA FITZGERALD’S

RECORDED SCAT SOLOS BETWEEN 1943 AND 1952

I reached three specific conclusions 72 regarding Ella Fitzgerald’s evolution as a scat

singer. While these conclusions are useful in terms of researching Fitzgerald’s evolution as

an artist, they also present tools for teachers of vocal jazz improvisation to help their

students attain a stronger sense of stylistically appropriate syllabic structure and

articulation in scat singing.

1) Ella Fitzgerald’s syllabic vocabulary changed perceptibly between 1945 and 1947,
under the influence of Dizzy Gillespie and his orchestra, in terms of dealing with
bebop tempos and instrumental and instrumental and vocal articulation for
improvisation.

Once again, a key example of this can be seen by comparing Fitzgerald’s pre-1945

syllabic content with that of 1947’s “Oh, Lady Be Good” and “How High the Moon.” This

shift is marked by an increase of syllables with a D onset consonant, an increase of vowel

and glottal onsets, and a decrease in syllables with a B onset consonant. These syllabic

approaches can also be heard in Dizzy Gillespie’s recorded vocals of the period, particularly

his trading with John Brown and Kenny Hagood on tunes like “Ool Ya Koo.” Examining

Fitzgerald’s solo on “Flying Home” (1945), plus fills on “Cow Cow Boogie” (1943), “Into

Each Life Some Rain Must Fall” (1944), and “It’s Only a Paper Moon” (1945) reveals the

following:

• Seven syllabic groups (Dl, Boo, Dee, Oo, Doo, Bah, and Ee) account for nearly half
(49.1%) of the syllabic content in these solos.

72 These conclusions formed the basis of a research presentation given at the Jazz Education Conference on

January 5, 2017.

52
• The most common syllabic groups, in order of frequency: Dl, Boo, Dee, Oo, Doo,
Bah, Ee, Bee, Dih, Nah, Boy, Bwee, Lah, Ah, Dah, Duh, and Oo.

• B Dental Onsets: 30.0%, D Dental Onsets: 39.1%, Vowel Onsets: 19.7%.

Examining Fitzgerald’s solos on “Oh, Lady Be Good” and “How High the Moon”

(1947) reveals the following:

• Seven syllabic groups (Dl, Dee, Oo/Ooh, Doo/Dooh, Bee, Ah, and Dih) account for
over half (51.4%) of the syllabic content in these solos.

• Three syllabic groups (Dl, Dee, and Oo/Ooh) occur much more frequently than
any other group (114, 112, and 108 times, respectively; the next largest group,
Doo/Dooh, occurs 74 times).

• The most common syllabic groups, in order of frequency: Dl, Dee, Oo/Ooh,
Doo/Dooh, Bee, Ah, Dih, Bah, Bih, Dn, Boo/Booh, Oh, Beh/Bey, Ih, raspy arco
bass syllables, and Ee.

• B Dental Onsets: 22.4%, D Dental Onsets: 41.8%, Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 25.9%.

For teachers of jazz singers, Ella Fitzgerald’s pre-1945 syllabic framework provides

an excellent starting point for students who are beginning to explore scat singing,

particularly if students focus on the six syllabic groups identified above. Instead of being

instructed to “go out and make something up” (as often happens, particularly in ensemble

settings where the director may not have much, if any, vocal jazz experience), students can

focus on six syllabic elements that are consistent with established jazz tradition, yet still

allow for up to twenty-eight two-syllable combinations or up to one hundred twenty-seven

nonrepeating syllabic chains. As students progress to more complex soloing styles at faster

tempos, the stronger emphasis of D as a means of articulation becomes more and more

important. An imploded D onset is an articulator consistent with trumpet and saxophone,

53
and the imploded D explodes minimal air, enhancing students’ ability to craft

improvisational lines at fast tempos, compared to the exploded B onset. 73

Figure 5. The shift in Ella Fitzgerald’s syllabic vocabulary between 1945 and 1947.
45.00%
40.00%
35.00%
30.00%
25.00%
20.00%
15.00%
10.00%
5.00%
0.00%

Pre-1947 Lady/How High

As mentioned in Chapter 2, this emphasis on the D consonant results in a timbral

modification as well. While Ella’s pre-Gillespie syllabic set is more varied in terms of vowel

usage, her post-Gillespie tone quality is brighter, due to a change in tone placement

resulting from increased use of the D dental consonant. Though the range of vowel

behaviors used is narrower in scope, the overall tone quality of the post-Gillespie syllabic

set is brighter and “brassier,” owing to this shift in tonal placement. In examining

Fitzgerald’s approach to syllables, articulation and timbre are inextricably linked to each

other.

2) Analysis of “Oh, Lady Be Good,” “How High the Moon,” measures 39-48 of “Rough
Ridin’,” and “Airmail Special” creates a template for Ella Fitzgerald’s bebop
vocabulary that other singers can emulate.

Even cursory aural analysis of scat solos by artists ranging from Jon Hendricks and

73 For more information regarding the importance of the D syllabic onset in terms of articulation up-tempo

articulation, please refer back to the beginning of Chapter 3 (Page 26).

54
Mel Tormé to Kurt Elling and Karrin Allyson illustrates how they have incorporated

Fitzgerald’s Bebop articulation in their instrumental approaches. Adding the double-time

section of “Rough Ridin’” and the entirety of “Airmail Special” to the storied 1947

recordings creates the following syllabic framework for study.

Table 16. Double-Time/Bebop Syllabic Vocabulary Post-1947.


“Oh, Lady Be Good”
“How High the Moon”
“Rough Ridin’” (Bars 39-48)
“Airmail Special”
Individual Syllables: 1909
Unique Syllables: 164

Ah 62 Boh 10 Dih 120


/Ah 5 Bohp 1 Dihp 1
Bah 71 Boo 37 Diht 10
Bahb 1 Booee 1 Dl 104
Bahm 3 Booh 17 Dlee 7
Bahp 8 Boom 2 Dleh 1
Bee 89 Boop 1 Dley 4
Beel 1 Bow 2 Dlih 1
Beem 2 Bowm 2 Dloh 2
Beeoo 1 Boy 9 Dloo 1
Beeooh 5 Boym 3 Dluh 1
Beep 1 Bree (flip /r/)29 Dm 8
Beh 8 Breh (flip /r/)1 Dn 126
Behm 2 Broo (flip /r/)3 Dnah 1
Bey 12 Buh 13 Doh 26
Beyb 1 Bwahp 1 Dohn 1
Beyl 1 Bwee 3 Doht 11
Beym 2 Bweem 1 Doo 212
Beyoo 1 Dah 37 Dooee 1
Bih 54 Dahee 1 Dooh 15
Bihl 1 Daht 1 Dooih 10
Bihm 2 Dee 141 Dool 4
Bihp 9 Deel 10 Doom 1
Biht 2 Deem 1 Doot 17
Bl 2 Deeoo 2 Dow 8
Blee 8 Deh 26 Down 3
Bley 1 Dehr 1 Doy 1
Blih 2 Dey 2 Duh 12
Bloo 3 Deyl 1 Duhp 1

55
Ee 19 Ley 6 /Ow 4
/Ee 17 Leyt 1 Oy 4
/Eel 2 Lih 8 /Oy 1
Eeoo 1 Liht 1 Oyl 1
Eeooh 1 Loh 8 Oym 1
Eet 1 Loo 3 Rih 1
Eh 9 Looh 1 Rihp 1
/Ehm 1 Loot 1 Uh 13
Ehn 1 Luh 3 Vah 2
Ehr 2 M 1 Voh 1
Ehrl 2 N 2 Vow 1
Ey 11 Neh 1 Wah 1
Gree (flip /r/)1 Nih 1 Wow 1
Heep 1 Noh 1 Wuh 1
Hih 1 Nuh 1 Yah 10
Hoy 1 Oh 37 Yee 1
Huh 1 Ohb 1 Yih 1
Ih 35 Ohn 3 Yihn 1
/Ih 5 Oht 2 Yihp 1
Ihl 1 Oo 128 Yoh 1
Iht 1 /Oo 1 Yoo 7
L 1 Ooee 2 Yooh 4
Lah 12 /Ooee 2 Yuh 5
Lahd 1 Ooh 3
Laht 1 /Ooh 3 Arco Bass 26
Lee 5 Oom 1 GROWLS 2
Leh 12 Oon 1 Percussives 1
Lehn 1 Oot 3
Leht 1 Ow 9

Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Doo/Dooh 260 (13.6%) Bih 68 (3.6%)


Dee 154 (8.1%) Ah 67 (3.5%)
Oo/Ooh 145 (7.6%) Boo/Booh 58 (3.0%)
Dih 131 (6.9%) Oh 43 (2.2%)
Dn 127 (6.7%) Ih 42 (2.2%)
Bee 99 (5.2%) Ee 41 (2.1%)
Bah 83 (4.3%) Dah 39 (2.0%)

The seven most common syllabic groups (Doo/Dooh, Dee, Oo/Ooh, Dih, Dn, Bee, and

Bah) account for over half (52.3%) of the syllabic content in these solos. The fourteen

syllable groups identified above account for 71.1% of the total syllables used.

56
B Dental Onsets: 429 (22.5%)
D Dental Onsets: 933 (48.9%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 427 (22.4%)

What this means for teachers of jazz singing is that the same template that worked

for Ella Fitzgerald (and for the generations of singers who followed in her footsteps) can

also work for our students. This template will assist our students in developing Bebop

articulation based on a high concentration of D onset consonants, a lower concentration of

B and vowel onsets, and the use of /dl/ and /dn/ as connective syllables in the creation of

improvisational lines.

Figure 6. Ella Fitzgerald’s bebop vocabulary, 1947-1952


16.00%

14.00%

12.00%

10.00%

8.00%

6.00%

4.00%

2.00%

0.00%

It is important for us to remember, as teachers of beginning improvisers, that scat

syllables should not in themselves be the main focus of soloing; the purpose of scat

syllables is to effectively serve improvised musical ideas. With that in mind, the acquisition

of syllabic vocabulary is best done in the same way Fitzgerald acquired hers: by listening

critically, by experimenting with articulation and vowel color/timbre, and by modifying

57
syllabic choices in a manner that best suits both stylistic considerations in the music and

the personal aesthetic of the performer.

3) Analysis of the vocalized instrumentals of 1951 and 1952 (“Smooth Sailing,”


“Airmail Special,” “Rough Ridin’,” and “Preview”) identifies a “Common Practice Ella
Fitzgerald” syllabic set that would be a defining feature of her scat solos for the rest
of her career and provide a “common practice” template for other singers to build
on and modify in their own improvisational soloing.

I alluded to this conclusion at the end of Chapter 3, but it is in the “vocalized

instrumentals” of 1951 and 1952 in particular that Fitzgerald combined her new Bebop

vocabulary of the mid-1940s with some earlier syllabic textures and use of Y as a syllabic

onset to essentially formalize the syllabic approach to scat singing that she would use for

the remainder of her career. While I will not post the complete list of 1,817 individual

syllables (144 of them unique) found in these four solos, here are the important data points

to be gleaned.

Table 17. Ella Fitzgerald Scat Syllable Choices in “Common Practice” Syllabic Set
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Doo/Dooh 377 (20.7%)


Boo/Booh 207 (11.4%)
Dn 126 (6.9%)
Dih 123 (6.8%)
Oo/Ooh 123 (6.8%)
Bee 109 (6.0%)
Dee 95 (5.2%)
Bih 72 (4.0%)
Yoo/Yooh 72 (4.0%)
Bah 70 (3.9%)
Dah 44 (2.4%)
Br (flip /r/) 42 (2.3%)
Dm 37 (2.0%)

58
The five most common syllabic groups (Doo/Dooh, Boo/Booh, Dn, Dih, and Oo/Ooh)

account for over half (52.6%) of the syllabic content in these solos. The thirteen syllable

groups identified above account for 82.4% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 484 (26.6%)


D Dental Onsets: 883 (48.6%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 215 (11.8%)
Y Onsets: 108 (5.9%)

Figure 7. “Common practice” Ella Fitzgerald syllabic vocabulary.


25.00%

20.00%

15.00%

10.00%

5.00%

0.00%

To complete this analysis, I present a pair of charts, the first dealing with Syllabic

Groups in the four “Ella Fitzgerald Templates” analyzed, the second with syllabic.

59
Figure 8. Syllabic groups by name and frequency.
25.00%

20.00%

15.00%

10.00%

5.00%

0.00%

Pre-1947 Lady/How High Double-Time Common Practice

In this graph, Fitzgerald’s shift towards a syllabic set dominated by D onset

consonants, with an increasing emphasis on the “Doo/Dooh” syllable group. This graph also

illustrates how certain syllabic emphases result in shifts elsewhere in the syllabic set.

Three examples:

• As Fitzgerald increasingly incorporated the “Yoo/Yooh” syllable group into her

“Common Practice” syllable set, the “Ah,” “Ee,” “Ih,”, and “Oh” vowel/glottal groups

decreased in usage frequency.

• Fitzgerald’s re-emphasis on the “Boo/Booh” syllable group into her “Common

Practice” syllable set resulted in a more frequent use of “Dm” as a connective

syllable. There is logic to this usage. “Doo-Dn-Doo” is a combination that flows easily

off the tongue, but “Doo-Dm-Boo” is easier to articulate than “Doo-Dn-Boo.”

• Greatest frequencies of syllable group usage by time period:

o Pre-1947: Boy, Nah.

o Lady/How High: Ah, Bey, Bih, Dee, Dl, Ee, Ih, Oh, Oo/Ooh, Arco Bass.

60
o Double-Time/Bebop: Bah, Dih

o Common Practice: Bee, Boo/Booh, Br (flip /r/), Dah, Dm, Dn, Doo/Dooh,

Yoo/Yooh.

Figure 9. Syllabic onsets by name and frequency.


60.00%

50.00%

40.00%

30.00%

20.00%

10.00%

0.00%
Pre-1947 Lady/How High Double-Time Common Practice

B Onsets D Onsets Vowel/Glottal Onsets Y Onsets

This final graph illustrates the subtle and not-so-subtle shifts in Fitzgerald’s syllabic

onsets during the time period examined. Her use of D onsets became more and more

prevalent, peaking at nearly 50% in both her Double-Time/Bebop and Common Practice

syllable sets. B was a commonly used onset during her Pre-Gillespie recordings, but

Fitzgerald’s use dropped off for a while before she returned to using the B articulator more

in her Common Practice set. Fitzgerald’s use of vowels and glottals remained fairly

consistent until she established her Common Practice vocabulary, at which point Y onsets

took on a more prominent role.

At this time, it seems worth addressing the issue of aesthetics, and the aesthetic

effect of timbral choices interacting with harmonic choices. Comparing the pre-Gillespie,

post-Gillespie, bebop, and “common practice” syllabic sets shows how syllabic choice ties

61
into broader aesthetic choices made by Fitzgerald at different stages during this

developmental period.

• Prior to Fitzgerald’s time with Gillespie, her solos were more playful in character, as

heard in her most common syllable choices (Boo/Booh, Dl, Oo/Ooh, Dee, Doo, Bee,

Dih, Bah, Boy, and Nah).

• Immediately following Fitzgerald’s time with Gillespie, her syllabic profile shifted in

terms of both intensity and intentionality, as seen in her syllabic choices on “Oh,

Lady Be Good” and “How High the Moon” (with the Dl, Dee, and Oo/Ooh syllable

groups accounting for nearly 40% of syllabic material in these scat solos).

• As Fitzgerald continued to shape her bebop vocabulary, this idea of intensity and

intentionality was reflected in her syllabic choices (with Doo/Dooh, Dee, Oo/Ooh,

Dih, and Dn accounting for nearly 50% of all material sung). Additionally,

Fitzgerald’s bebop vocabulary was almost perfectly balanced, incorporating nearly

50% D onsets, nearly 25% B onsets, and nearly 25% vowel and glottal onsets.

• Finally, as Fitzgerald refined her approach in the vocalized instrumentals of 1951

and 1952, she incorporated an increased variance of both onset approaches and

vowel colors into the “common practice” syllabic set that would shape the

remainder of her career (Doo/Dooh, Boo/Booh, Dn, Dih, Oo/Ooh, Bee, Dee, Bih,

Yoo/Yooh, Bah, Dah, Br (flip /r/), and Dm).

62
CHAPTER 6

CONCLUSION: OPPORTUNITIES FOR FUTURE RESEARCH

When I first proposed this dissertation topic, I suggested a variety of additional

venues for research, building on the analysis of these thirteen solos. In trying to document

Ella Fitzgerald’s influence on other singers, I suggested that transcription and analysis of a

number of solos would be extremely insightful. Fitzgerald’s syllabic evolution

foreshadowed the improvisational styles of younger scat singers who immediately

followed her lead, notably Mel Tormé, but also Anita O’Day, Carmen McRae, Jon Hendricks,

Sarah Vaughan, and Betty Carter. 74 Solos to consider for this research could include Mel

Tormé’s full solo on “Lullaby of Birdland” 75 and portions of Kurt Elling’s “The More I Have

You,” 76 Jon Hendricks’ “Listen To Monk,” 77 and Karrin Allyson’s “Everybody’s Boppin'.” 78

Though mentioned multiple times in this dissertation, Dizzy Gillespie’s influence on

Fitzgerald’s scat vocabulary will be an important topic for further research. Transcribing

and analyzing Dizzy Gillespie’s vocal improvisations on “Ool Ya Koo,” 79 “Oop-Pop-A-Da,”

and other selections will illustrate his impact on Fitzgerald’s development as an

improviser. Louis Armstrong, widely regarded as the father of modern scat singing, 80 and

74 Bauer’s “Scat Singing: A Timbral and Phonemic Analysis” references Carter’s early solos being “peppered

with… vocal licks out of Fitzgerald’s vocabulary such as the rapid alteration of syllables that start with /n/
and /d/.”
75 From Mel Tormé and the Marty Paich Dek-tette, Bethlehem, 1956.
76 From Man in The Air, Blue Note, 2003.
77 From Freddie Freeloader, Denon, 1990.
78 From Footprints, Concord Jazz, 2005.
79 “Ool Ya Koo” and “Oop-Pop-A-Da” both taken from The Complete RCA Victor Recordings, Bluebird, 1995.
80There are too many sources to mention here, but most standard accounts of both general music history and
jazz history cite Armstrong’s 1926 recording of “Heebie Jeebies” as the advent of modern scat singing.

63
Leo Watson, whose influence on Fitzgerald’s style has been documented in several

sources, 81 are often credited as Fitzgerald’s primary inspirations. I argue that Dizzy

Gillespie also deserves recognition as a significant influence.

Speaking of Armstrong and Watson, it seems worthwhile to explore their recorded

scat solos to clarify their influence on Fitzgerald’s approach. Armstrong’s influence should

be quite easy to document, through transcription, analysis, and comparison, but I am

unaware of any analysis of this kind that has been published. In listening to recordings of

Leo Watson, however, I have my doubts as to whether he deserves the credit he is often

given as an influence on Fitzgerald; cursory aural analysis doesn’t seem to bear it out, but I

am reluctant to discredit Watson’s influence without engaging in further research.

Finally, this document seeks to be an example of a kind of research that has often

been lacking for jazz musicians in general and singers specifically. I chose to focus on Ella

Fitzgerald in large part due to her scope of influence, but equally compelling cases could be

made for similar research on behalf of Sarah Vaughan (who could be considered

Fitzgerald’s primary rival for scope of influence), Mel Tormé (who incorporated many of

Fitzgerald’s techniques, but with modifications based in large part on his background as a

drummer), Bobby McFerrin (for his use of falsetto, vowel shapes, and tonal colors), and

Mark Murphy 82 (who changed the way many singers deal with timbre due to his

81 Notably in Nicholson, Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz, 89-92.
82I wrote three particular statements about Murphy in “The Art and Craft of Scat Singing and Melodic
alteration” that speak to the breadth of this experimentation. First, “Murphy’s concept of scat singing is much
more aligned with avant-garde jazz instrumentalists of the 1960s and 1970s than it is with other great scat
singers.” Second, “[T]his solo demonstrates Mark’s dexterity as he moves between registers and exhibits an
extremely wide syllabic palate [sic] (no single syllable is used more than 18 times, with the next closest choice
used on only nine occasions.)” Third, “There is an extremely wide syllabic palate [sic] using a, au, u vowels
and a mixture of dental, explosive, and vocalized consonants while using a less-forward placement in the low

64
experimentation with range and color), and many others (European, Asian, and African jazz

artists could provide fascinating examples for this kind of study). It is my hope that this

dissertation contributes to a new scholarly conversation in vocal jazz.

register and a very forward placement in falsetto.” 82 Spradling, Jazz Singing: Developing Artistry and
Authenticity, 116.

65
APPENDIX A

TRANSCRIPTIONS

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APPENDIX B

SYLLABIC ANALYSIS

100
“Cow Cow Boogie” (1943): Solo Fills

Individual Syllables: 56 Syllable Groups


Unique Syllables: 20 Comprising >2%

Beh 1 Boo 3 (5.4%)


Bih 1 Boy 2 (3.6%)
Boh 1 Bree (flip /r/)2 (3.6%)
Boo 3 Buh 4 (7.1%)
Boy 2 Dee 6 (10.7%)
Bree (flip /r/)2 Dih 7 (12.5%)
Bwee 1 Dl 2 (3.6%)
Buh 4 Doo 9 (16.0%)
Dee 6 Ee 4 (7.1%)
Dih 7 Ih 3 (5.4%)
Dl 2 Oo 6 (10.7%)
Doh 1
Doo 9
Ee 4
Eh 1
Hey 1
Ih 3
Oo 4
/Ool 2
Uh 1

The four most common syllable groups (Doo, Dih, Dee, and Oo) account for exactly half
(50.0%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The eleven syllable groups identified above account
for 85.7% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 15 (26.8%)


D Dental Onsets: 25 (44.6%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 14 (26.8%)

101
“Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall” (1944): Fills

Individual Syllables: 51 Syllable Groups


Unique Syllables: 20 comprising >2%

Bahp 1 Bee 5 (9.8%)


Bee 5 Bih 5 (9.8%)
Bih 5 Boh 4 (7.9%)
Boh 4 Boo 4 (7.9%)
Boo 3 Dee 3 (5.9%)
Booh 1 Dl 3 (5.9%)
Buh 1 Dm 6 (11.8%)
Dee 2 Doo 7 (13.7%)
Deel 1 Duh 2 (3.9%)
Dl 3 Ee 3 (5.9%)
Dm 6 Uh 2 (3.9)
Doht 1
Doo 7
Duht 2
Dwee 1
Ee 3
M 1
Uh 2
Uhp 1
Yuh 1

The six most common syllabic groups (Doo, Dm, Bee, Bih, Boh, and Boo/Booh) account for
over half (60.7%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The eleven syllable groups identified above
account for 86.2% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 20 (39.2%)


D Dental Onsets: 23 (45.1%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 7 (13.7%)

102
“It’s Only a Paper Moon” (1945): Fills

Unique Syllables: 28
Individual Syllables: 10

Bah 1
Bee 4
Boh 3
Boo 5
Buh 3
Dm 1
Ee 2
Oo 5
Tree (flip /r/)3
Um 1

Three syllables (Boo, Oo, and Bee) account for exactly half (50%) of the solo’s syllabic
content.

B Dental Onsets: 16 (57.1%)


D Dental Onsets: 1 (3.6%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 8 (28.6%)

103
Syllables from Solo Fills: Pre-1947

Unique Syllables: 135


Individual Syllables: 34

Bah 1 Doh 1
Bahp 1 Doht 1
Bee 9 Doo 16
Beh 1 Duht 2
Bih 6 Dwee 1
Boh 8 Ee 9
Boo 11 Eh 1
Booh 1 Hey 1
Boy 2 Ih 3
Bree (flip /r/)2 M 1
Buh 8 Oo 9
Bwee 1 /Ool 2
Dee 8 Tree (flip /r/)3
Deel 1 Uh 3
Dih 7 Uhm 1
Dl 5 Uhp 1
Dm 7 Yuh 1

Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Bee 9 (6.7%) Dm 7 (5.2%)


Bih 6 (4.4%) Doo 16 (11.8%)
Boh 8 (5.9%) Ee 9 (6.7%)
Boo/Booh 12 (8.9%) Ih 3 (2.2%)
Buh 8 (5.9%) Oo 11 (8.1%)
Dee 9 (6.7%) Tree (flip /r/)3 (2.2%)
Dih 7 (5.2%) Uh 5 (3.7%)
Dl 5 (3.7%)

Six syllables (Doo, Boo/Booh, Oo, Bee, Dee, and Ee) account for slightly less than half
(48.9%) of syllabic content in these fills. Adding two more syllables (Boh and Buh) results
in over sixty percent (60.7%) of syllabic content being covered. The fifteen syllable groups
identified above account for 89.6% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 51 (37.8%)


D Dental Onsets: 48 (35.6%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 30 (22.2%)

104
“Flying Home” (1945): Complete Solo

Individual Syllables: 433 Unique Syllables: 80

Ah 9 Doop 1
Bah 8 Doot 3
Bahb 1 Dow 1
Bahp 6 Doy 2
Bee 12 Duh 9
Beep 1 Ee 15
Beet 1 Ehm 1
Beh 6 Ey 2
Bey 1 Gih 1
Bihp 1 Goo 1
Blee 2 Ih 4
Boh 3 Ihp 2
Boo 16 Iht 1
Booee 19 Lah 5
Booh 1 Lahp 1
Boop 4 Laht 4
Boot 4 Lee 4
Boy 7 Leet 3
Boyt 5 Liht 1
Buh 2 Loh 6
Bwee 10 Loht 1
Dah 7 Loo 1
Daht 2 Luhp 1
Dee 35 Mah 3
Deel 2 Mooh 3
Deeoo 3 Nah 13
Deet 1 Neel 1
Deh 2 Oh 8
Dehl 5 Oht 1
Dih 12 Oo 33
Diht 2 Oot 7
Dl 36 Rihp (flip /r/ 3
Dlee 9 Rihp 3
Dlehn 1 Vaht 1
Dloh 1 Voy 1
Dm 1 Woh 1
Dn 6 Yah 1
Doh 5 Yihp 1
Doo 25 Yoh 6
Dooee 2 Zoyt 1

105
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Ah 9 (2.1%)
Bah 15 (3.5%)
Bee 14 (3.2%)
Boo/Booh 44 (10.1%)
Boy 12 (2.8%)
Bwee 10 (2.3%)
Dah 9 (2.1%)
Dee 41 (9.5%)
Dih 14 (3.2%)
Dl 47 (10.9%)
Doo 27 (6.2%)
Duh 9 (2.1%)
Ee 15 (3.5%)
Lah 10 (2.3%)
Nah 13 (3.0%)
Oh 9 (2.1%)
Oo 40 (9.2%)

The seven most common syllabic groups (Dl, Boo, Dee, Oo, Doo, Bah, and Ee) account for
over half (52.9%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The seventeen syllable groups identified
above account for 78.1% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 112 (25.9%)


D Dental Onsets: 173 (40.0%)
Vowel Onsets: 65 (15.0%)

106
All Syllables, Pre-1947

Individual Syllables: 568


Unique Syllables: 94

Ah 9 Diht 2 Leet 3
Bah 9 Dl 41 Liht 1
Bahb 1 Dlee 9 Loh 6
Bahp 7 Dlehn 1 Loht 1
Bee 21 Dloh 1 Loo 1
Beep 1 Dm 8 Luhp 1
Beet 1 Dn 6 M 1
Beh 7 Doh 6 Mah 3
Bey 1 Doht 1 Mooh 3
Bih 6 Doo 41 Nah 13
Bihp 1 Dooee 2 Neel 1
Blee 2 Doop 1 Oh 8
Boh 11 Doot 3 Oht 1
Boo 27 Dow 1 Oo 42
Booee 19 Doy 2 /Ool 2
Booh 2 Duh 9 Oot 7
Boop 4 Duht 2 Rihp (flip /r/ 3
Boot 4 Dwee 1 Rihp 3
Boy 9 Ee 24 Tree (flip /r/)3
Boyt 5 Eh 1 Uh 3
Bree (flip /r/)2 Ehm 1 Uhm 1
Buh 10 Ey 2 Uhp 1
Bwee 11 Gih 1 Vaht 1
Dah 7 Goo 1 Voy 1
Daht 2 Hey 1 Woh 1
Dee 43 Ih 7 Yah 1
Deel 3 Ihp 2 Yihp 1
Deeoo 3 Iht 1 Yoh 6
Deet 1 Lah 5 Yuh 1
Deh 2 Lahp 1 Zoyt 1
Dehl 5 Laht 4
Dih 19 Lee 4

107
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Bah 17 (3.0%)
Bee 23 (4.0%)
Boo/Booh 56 (9.9%)
Boy 14 (2.5%)
Dee 50 (8.8%)
Dih 21 (3.7%)
Dl 52 (9.1%)
Doo 47 (8.3%)
Nah 13 (2.2%)
Oo/Ooh 51 (8.9%)

The six most common syllabic groups (Boo/Booh, Dl, Dee, Oo, Doo, and Bee) account for
nearly half (49.1%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The ten syllable groups identified above
account for 60.5% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 159 (30.0%)


D Dental Onsets: 222 (39.1%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 112 (19.7%)

108
“Oh, Lady Be Good” (1947): Complete Solo

Individual Syllables: 701


Unique Syllables: 105

Ah 43 Dlee 6 Loh 7
/Ah 3 Dleh 1 Loo 2
Bah 12 Dley 4 Loot 1
Bahp 4 Dloo 1 Luh 3
Bee 24 Dluh 1 Neh 1
Beeooh 1 Dm 2 Nih 1
Beh 2 Dn 16 Noh 1
Behm 2 Doh 9 Nuh 1
Bey 3 Doht 10 Oh 21
Beyb 1 Doo 36 Ohb 1
Beyl 1 Dooh 7 Ohn 3
Beym 1 Doom 1 Oht 2
Bih 11 Doot 1 Oo 47
Bihp 7 Duh 9 Ooee 2
Biht 1 Duhp 1 Ooh 1
Bl 2 Ee 10 /Ooh 3
Blee 3 Eeooh 1 Oon 1
Boh 5 Eet 1 Oot 2
Bohp 1 Eh 7 Oy 3
Boo 10 /Ehm 1 /Oy 1
Booh 1 Ehn 1 Oyl 1
Boy 6 Ehr 2 Oym 1
Boym 3 Ey 10 Rih 1
Bree (flip /r/)2 Ih 11 Rihp 1
Breh (flip /r/)1 Iht 1 Uh 10
Buh 4 Lah 8 Yah 1
Bweem 1 Lahd 1 Yee 1
Dah 9 Laht 1 Yih 1
Daht 1 Lee 3 Yihn 1
Dee 66 Leh 9 Yihp 1
Deel 1 Lehn 1 Yoh 1
Deh 7 Leht 1 Yooh 1
Deyl 1 Ley 6 Yuh 1
Dih 30 Leyt 1
Dihp 1 Lih 7 Arco Bass 26
Dl 79 Liht 1 Percussives 10

109
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Ah 46 (6.5%)
Bah 16 (2.3%)
Bee 25 (3.6%)
Bih 19 (2.7%)
Dee 67 (9.6%)
Dih 31 (4.4%)
Dl 92 (13.1%)
Dn 16 (2.3%)
Doh 19 (2.7%)
Doo/Dooh 45 (6.4%)
Leh/Leh 18 (2.6%)
Oh 27 (2.9%)
Oo/Ooh 56 (8.0%)
Arco Bass 26 (3.7%)

The seven most common syllabic groups (Dl, Dee, Oo/Ooh, Ah, Doo/Dooh, Dih, and Oh)
account for over half (52.8%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The thirteen syllable groups
identified above account for 71.7% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 109 (15.6%)


D Dental Onsets: 305 (43.5%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 190 (27.1%)

110
“How High the Moon” (1947): Complete Solo

Individual Syllables: 440


Unique Syllables: 76

Ah 15 Dloh 2
/Ah 4 Dm 6
Bah 27 Dn 26
Bahb 1 Doh 2
Bahm 3 Doo 26
Bee 33 Dooh 3
Beem 2 Dow 1
Beeoo 1 Down 3
Beeooh 4 Doy 1
Beh 6 Duh 1
Bey 9 Ee 4
Beym 1 /Ee 8
Beyoo 1 Eeoo 1
Bih 21 Ey 1
Bihm 1 Huh 1
Bihp 2 Ih 14
Biht 1 /Ih 2
Blee 1 Lah 4
Bley 1 Leh 1
Blih 2 Lih 1
Boh 4 Loh 1
Boo 8 Loo 1
Booh 9 Looh 1
Boom 2 M 1
Bow 1 Oh 3
Bowm 2 Oo 47
Boy 1 /Ooee 1
Buh 3 Ooh 2
Dah 9 Oom 3
Dee 42 Oom 1
Deem 1 Oot 1
Deeoo 2 Ow 2
Deh 13 Oy 1
Dih 13 Uh 2
Diht 7 Voh 1
Dl 18 Yooh 1
Dlee 1 Yuh 2
Dlih 1

111
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Ah 19 (4.3%)
Bah 31 (7.0%)
Bee 40 (9.1%)
Beh/Bey 17 (3.9%)
Bih 25 (5.7%)
Boo/Booh 19 (4.3%)
Dee 45 (10.2%)
Deh 13 (3.0%)
Dih 20 (4.5%)
Dl 22 (5.0%)
Dn 26 (5.9%)
Doo/Dooh 29 (6.6%)
Ee 13 (3.0%)
Ih 16 (3.6%)
Oo/Ooh 55 (12.5%)

The six most common syllabic groups (Oo/Ooh, Dee, Bee, Bah, Doo/Dooh, and Dn) account
for over half (52.8%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The fifteen syllable groups identified
above account for 88.6% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 147 (33.4%)


D Dental Onsets: 178 (40.5%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 112 (25.5%)

112
“Oh, Lady Be Good” and “How High the Moon”:
1947 Syllabic Analysis

Individual Syllables: 1141


Unique Syllables: 129

Ah 58 Breh (flip /r/)1 Ee 14 Oh 24


/Ah 4 Buh 7 /Ee 8 Ohb 1
Bah 39 Bweem1 Eeoo 1 Ohn 3
Bahb 1 Dah 18 Eeooh 1 Oht 2
Bahm 3 Daht 1 Eet 1 Oo 94
Bahp 4 Dee 108 Eh 7 Ooee 2
Bee 57 Deel 1 /Ehm 1 /Ooee 1
Beem 2 Deem 1 Ehn 1 Ooh 3
Beeoo 1 Deeoo 2 Ehr 2 /Ooh 3
Beeooh5 Deh 20 Ey 11 Oom 1
Beh 8 Deyl 1 Huh 1 Oon 1
Behm 2 Dih 43 Ih 25 Oot 3
Bey 12 Dihp 1 /Ih 2 Ow 2
Beyb 1 Diht 7 Iht 1 Oy 4
Beyl 1 Dl 97 Lah 12 /Oy 1
Beym 2 Dlee 7 Lahd 1 Oyl 1
Beyoo 1 Dleh 1 Laht 1 Oym 1
Bih 32 Dley 4 Lee 3 Rih 1
Bihm 1 Dlih 1 Leh 10 Rihp 1
Bihp 9 Dloh 2 Lehn 1 Uh 12
Biht 2 Dloo 1 Leht 1 Voh 1
Bl 2 Dluh 1 Ley 6 Yah 1
Blee 4 Dm 8 Leyt 1 Yee 1
Bley 1 Dn 42 Lih 8 Yih 1
Blih 2 Doh 11 Liht 1 Yihn 1
Boh 9 Doht 10 Loh 8 Yihp 1
Bohp 1 Doo 62 Loo 3 Yoh 1
Boo 18 Dooh 10 Looh 1 Yooh 2
Booh 10 Doom 1 Loot 1 Yuh 3
Boom 2 Doot 1 Luh 3
Bow 1 Dow 1 M 1 Arco Bass 26
Bowm 2 Down 3 Neh 1 Percussives 1
Boy 7 Doy 1 Nih 1
Boym 3 Duh 10 Noh 1
Bree (flip /r/)2 Duhp 1 Nuh 1

113
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Ah 62 (5.4%)
Bah 47 (4.1%)
Bee 65 (5.7%)
Beh/Bey 27 (2.4%)
Bih 44 (3.9%)
Boo/Booh 30 (2.7%)
Dee 112 (9.8%)
Dih 51 (4.5%)
Dl 114 (10.0%)
Dn 42 (3.7%)
Doo/Dooh 74 (6.5%)
Ee 25 (2.2%)
Ih 27 (2.4%)
Oh 30 (2.7%)
Oo/Ooh 108 (9.5%)

Arco Bass 26 (2.3%)

The seven most common syllabic groups (Dl, Dee, Oo/Ooh, Doo/Dooh, Bee, Ah, and Dih)
account for over half (51.4%) of the syllabic content from these two solos. The sixteen
syllable groups identified above account for 77.5% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 256 (22.4%)


D Dental Onsets: 478 (41.8%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 296 (25.9%)

114
“Basin Street Blues” (1949): Solo Fills

Individual Syllables: 29
Unique Syllables: 16

Ah 2
Bah 7
Deh 1
Dlee 1
Dn 2
Doo 3
Lah 1
M 3
Mah 1
Muh 1
N 1
Ow 1
Spoh 1
Uh 1
Zeh 1
Zihp 2

Bah, Doo, M, Ah, Dn, and Zihp account for over half (65.5%) of the solo’s syllabic content.

B Dental Onsets: 7 (24.1%)


D Dental Onsets: 7 (24.1%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 4 (13.7%)

115
“Dream A Little Dream of Me” (1950): Solo Fills

Individual Syllables: 57 Syllable Groups


Unique Syllables: 22 Comprising >2%

Ah 1 Bah 4 (7.0%)
Bah 4 Bee 4 (7.0%)
Bee 4 Bih 2 (3.5%)
Beh 1 Boh 4 (7.0%)
Bih 2 Boo 4 (7.0%)
Boh 4 Buh 6 (10.5%)
Boo 4 Dee 3 (5.3%)
Buh 6 Dih 7 (12.3%)
Dee 3 Dn 4 (7.0%)
Dih 6 Doh 4 (7.0%)
Diht 1 Doo/Dooh 6 (10.5%)
Dl 1 Yoo/Yooh 2 (3.5%)
Dn 4 Yuh 3 (5.3%)
Doh 3
Dohp 1
Doo 4
Dooh 1
Dool 1
Ih 1
Yoo 1
Yooh 1
Yuh 3

Nine syllable groups (Dih, Buh, Doo/Dooh, Bah, Bee, Boh, Boo, Dn, and Doh) account for
75.4% of the solo’s syllabic content. The thirteen syllable groups identified above account
for 93.0% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 25 (43.8%)


D Dental Onsets: 25 (43.8%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 2 (3.5%)

116
“Mr. Paganini” (1952): Solo Fills

Individual Syllables: 176


Unique Syllables: 49

/Ah 2 Ooh 1
Ah 1 Oon 1
Bah 4 /Uh 1
Bahp 3 Uh 2
Bee 18 Yah 2
Beel 2 Yih 1
Beh 2 Yoo 2
Bih 6 Yuh 1
Bihl 1
Boh 3 Quotes:
Boo 9
Booh 2 “Tisket, a tasket, I lost my yellow basket!”
Booih 1
Boop 1 “We’re due...”
Boy 1
Buh 2
Dah 7
Dee 2
Dih 12
Dl 11
Dm 2
Dn 9
Doh 4
Doo 13
Doop 1
Dow 1
Duh 2
/Ee 4
Ee 7
Eel 1
Eeoo 2
Eep 1
Eh 5
Hee 2
Ih 8
Lah 3
Leht 1
Noh 1
Nuh 1
Oh 5
Oo 2

117
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Bah 7 (4.0%)
Bee 22 (12,5%)
Bih 7 (4.0%)
Boo 13 (7.4%)
Dah 7 (4.0%)
Dih 12 (6.8%)
Dl 11 (6.3%)
Dn 9 (5.1%)
Doh 4 (2.2%)
Doo 14 (8.0%)
Ee 15 (8.5%)
Eh 5 (2.8%)
Ih 8 (4.5%)
Oh 5 (2.8%)
Oo/Ooh 4 (2.2%)

Seven syllable groups (Bee, Ee, Doo, Boo, Dih, Dl, and Dn) account for nearly half (46.6%) of
the solo’s syllabic content. The fifteen syllable groups identified above account for 81.3% of
the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 55 (31.3%)


D Dental Onsets: 64 (36.4%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 43 (24.4%)

118
Post-1947 Solo Fills

Individual Syllables: 262


Unique Syllables: 62

/Ah 2 Duh 2
Ah 4 /Ee 4
Bah 15 Ee 7
Bahp 3 Eel 1
Bee 4 Eeoo 2
Beh 3 Eep 1
Bih 8 Eh 5
Bihl 1 Hee 2
Boh 7 Ih 9
Boo 13 Lah 4
Booh 2 Leht 1
Booih 1 M 3
Boop 1 Mah 1
Boy 1 Muh 1
Buh 8 N 1
Dah 7 Noh 1
Dee 5 Nuh 1
Deh 1 Oh 5
Dlee 1 Oo 2
Dih 18 Ooh 1
Diht 1 Oon 1
Dl 12 Ow 1
Dm 2 Spoh 1
Dn 14 Uh 3
Doh 7 Yah 2
Dohp 1 Yih 1
Doo 20 Yoo 3
Dooh 1 Yooh 1
Dool 1 Yuh 4
Doop 1 Zeh 1
Dow 1 Zihp 2

119
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Ah 6 (2.3%)
Bah 18 (6.9%)
Bih 9 (3.5%)
Boh 7 (2.7%)
Boo/Booh 17 (6.5%)
Dah 7 (2.7%)
Dih 19 (7.2%)
Dl 12 (4.6%)
Dn 14 (5.3%)
Doh 9 (3.5%)
Doo/Dooh 23 (8.8%)
Ee 15 (5.7%)
Ih 9 (3.5%)

The thirteen syllable groups identified above account for 72.1% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 67 (25.6%)


D Dental Onsets: 95 (36.3%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 48 (18.3%)

120
“Smooth Sailing” (1951): Complete Solo

Individual Syllables: 330


Unique Syllables: 68

Ah 5 Dooh 5
Bah 18 Dool 5
Bahb 1 Doop 1
Bee 6 Dow 4
Beel 1 Doy 1
Bih 26 Droo 1
Bihl 1 Duh 4
Bloo 1 /Ee 1
Blooee 2 Ee 2
Boh 2 /Eel 1
Boo 58 Heep 1
Booh 5 Hih 1
Booih 1 Hyeh 1
Bool 1 Ih 2
Boom 1 Lah 2
Boop 19 Loo 3
Boy 1 Low 1
Brihl (flip /r/)1 /Oo 2
Broo (flip /r/)4 Oo 12
Brool (flip /r/)2 Ooh 1
Buh 3 /Ool 1
Dah 7 /Ow 2
Dee 10 Pih 1
Deel 1 Uh 1
Deer 1 Vey 1
Deh 3 Woo 7
Dey 3 Wow 1
Dih 14 Yah 3
Dihl 1 Yoo 4
Dihoo 1 Yood 1
Dleeih 1 Yooh 5
Dn 14 Yoot 1
Doh 7 Yuh 4
Doheh 1
Doo 22 Growls 2

121
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Bah 19 (5.8%)
Bee 7 (2.1%)
Bih 27 (8.1%)
Boo/Booh 85 (25.8%)
Br (flip /r/) 7 (2.1%)
Dah 7 (2.1%)
Dee 12 (3.6%)
Dih 16 (4.8%)
Doh 8 (2.4%)
Doo/Dooh 31 (9.4%)
Oo/Ooh 18 (5.5$)
Woo 7 (2.1%)
Yoo/Yooh 7 (2.1%)

The six most common syllabic groups (Boo/Booh, Doo/Dooh, Bih, Bah, and Oo) account for
over half (54.5%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The thirteen syllable groups identified
above account for 76.1% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 151 (45.8%)


D Dental Onsets: 107 (32.4%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 30 (9.1%)

122
“Air Mail Special” (1952): Complete Solo

Total Individual Syllables: 689


Total Unique Syllables: 75

Ah 4 Dooh 1
/Ah 1 Dooih 10
Bah 25 Dool 3
Bahp 4 Doot 16
Bee 30 Dow 7
Beel 1 Duh 2
Beep 1 Ee 4
Bih 14 /Ee 9
Bihm 1 /Eel 2
Blee 4 Eh 2
Bloo 3 Ehrl 2
Boh 1 Gree (flip /r/)1
Boo 19 Hoy 1
Booee 1 Ih 9
Booh 2 /Ih 3
Boop 1 Ihl 1
Bow 1 L 1
Boy 1 Lee 2
Bree (flip /r/)27 Leh 1
Buh 6 N 2
Bwahp 1 Nah 1
Bwee 3 Oh 6
Dah 15 Oo 33
Dahee 1 /Oo 1
Dee 30 /Ooee 1
Deel 9 Ow 7
Deh 4 /Ow 4
Dehr 1 Uh 1
Dih 70 Vah 2
Diht 3 Vow 1
Dl 7 Wah 1
Dn 84 Wow 1
Dnah 1 Wuh 1
Doh 12 Yah 8
Dohn 1 Yuh 2
Doht 1 Yoo 6
Doo 141 Yooh 2
Dooee 1

123
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Bah 29 (4.2%)
Bee 32 (4.6%)
Bih 15 (2.2%)
Boo/Booh 23 (3.3%)
Br (flip /r/) 27 (3.9%)
Dah 16 (2.3%)
Dee 39 (5.7%)
Dih 73 (10.6%)
Dn 85 (12.3%)
Doh 14 (2.0%)
Doo/Dooh 172 (24.9%)
Ee 15 (2.2%)
Ih 14 (2.0%)
Oo 35 (5.1%)

The three most common syllabic groups (Doo/Dooh, Dn, and Dih) account for nearly half
(47.9%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The fourteen syllable groups identified above
account for 85.4% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 146 (21.2%)


D Dental Onsets: 424 (61.5%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 92 (13.3%)

124
“Rough Ridin’” (1952): Complete Solo

Total Individual Syllables: 366


Total Unique Syllables: 69

/Ah 3 Doy 1
Bah 10 /Ee 1
Bahp 1 Ee 2
Bee 23 Hoo 1
Beel 1 /Ih 1
Bih 8 /M 1
Bihl 4 /Oo 22
Boh 2 Oo 8
Boo 18 /Oohl 1
Booh 11 Ooht 1
Boop 1 /Oot 2
Bow 3 Oot 3
Bree (flip /r/)1 /Ow 4
Brey (flip /r/)2 Ow 4
Buh 3 Nahn 1
Dah 7 Spih 1
Dahd 1 Spihl 1
Dahp 1 Spoot 1
Daht 1 Tree (flip /r/)1
Dee 19 Vee 1
Deel 6 Yah 3
Dih 19 Yahd 1
Dihb 1 Yahee 1
Dihl 3 Yaht 2
Dlee 1 Yeep 1
Dm 1 Yih 1
Dn 6 Yoh 1
Doh 2 Yoo 6
Doo 49 Yooh 8
Dooee 1 Yoohp 1
Dooih 1 Yooht 1
Dool 35 Yoot 21
Doot 10 Yuh 2
Dow 5 Yuht 1
Dowb 1

125
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Bah 11 (3.0%)
Bee 24 (6.6%)
Bih 12 (3.3%)
Boo/Booh 30 (8.2%)
Dah 10 (2.7%)
Dee 25 (9.6%)
Dih 23 (6.3%)
Doo/Dooh 96 (26.3%)
Oo/Ooh 37 (10.1%)
Ow 8 (2.2%)
Yoo/Yooh 37 (10.1%)

The four most common syllabic groups (Doo/Dooh, Oo/Ooh, Yoo/Yooh, and Boo/Booh)
account for over half (54.6% of the solo’s syllabic content. The eleven syllable groups
identified above account for 85.4% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 88 (24.0%)


D Dental Onsets: 171 (46.7%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 52 (14.2%)
Y Onsets: 50 (13.7%)

126
“Preview” (1952): Complete Solo

Individual Syllables: 432


Unique Syllables: 62

Bah 11 Doht 1
Bee 46 Doo 54
Bih 18 Dooeet 1
Blee 8 Dooih 3
Boh 2 Dooh 2
Bohih 1 Dool 18
Boo 52 Doot 3
Booeeih 1 Dow 2
Booeeuh 1 Dree (flip /r/)1
Booh 10 Duh 3
Boohee 2 /Ee 3
Booih 2 Ee 2
Boop 1 Gah 1
Bow 3 Hoohih 1
Boyl 1 Ih 1
Bree (flip /r/)5 /M 1
Buh 7 Nah 1
Dah 9 Nih 1
Dahd 1 Oh 1
Dahee 1 /Oo 4
Dee 14 Oo 27
Deel 2 Ood 1
Deen 1 /Oohee 2
Deeoo 1 /Ooih 1
Deeooh 1 Uh 1
Dih 11 Yah 1
Dl 1 Yoht 1
Dlee 1 Yoo 15
Dm 36 Yoon 1
Dn 21 Yoot 1
Doh 2 Yuh 4

127
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Bah 11 (2.5%)
Bee 46 (10.6%)
Bih 18 (4.2%)
Boo/Booh 69 (16.0%)
Dah 11 (2.5%)
Dee 19 (4.4%)
Dm 36 (8.3%)
Dn 21 (4.9%)
Doo/Dooh 81 (18.8%)
Oo/Ooh 35 (8.1%)
Yoo 17 (3.95)

The four most common syllabic groups (Doo/Dooh, Boo/Booh, Bee, and Dm) account for
over half (53.7%) of the solo’s syllabic content. The eleven syllable groups identified above
account for 84.3% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 171 (39.6%)


D Dental Onsets: 190 (44.0%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 43 (10.0%)

128
Vocalized Instrumentals: 1951/1952

Individual Syllables: 1817


Unique Syllables: 144

Ah 9 Dahee 2 Droo 1 /Ool 1


/Ah 4 Dahp 1 Duh 9 Oot 3
Bah 64 Daht 1 Ee 10 /Oot 2
Bahb 1 Dee 73 /Ee 14 Ow 11
Bahp 5 Deel 18 /Eel 3 /Ow 10
Bee 105 Deen 1 Eh 2 Pih 1
Beel 3 Deeoo 1 Ehrl 2 Spih 1
Beep 1 Deeooh1 Gah 1 Spihl 1
Bih 66 Deer 1 Gree (flip /r/)1 Spoot 1
Bihl 5 Deh 7 Heep 1 Tree (flip /r/)1
Bihm 1 Dehr 1 Hih 1 Uh 3
Blee 9 Dey 3 Hoo 1 Vah 2
Bloo 4 Dih 114 Hoohih1 Vee 1
Blooee 2 Dihb 1 Hoy 1 Vey 1
Boh 7 Dihl 4 Hyeh 1 Vow 1
Bohih 1 Dihoo 1 Ih 12 Wah 1
Boo 147 Diht 3 /Ih 4 Woo 7
Booee 1 Dl 8 Ihl 1 Wow 2
Booeeih1 Dlee 2 L 1 Yah 15
Booeeuh1 Dleeih 1 Lah 2 Yahd 1
Booh 28 Dm 37 Lee 2 Yahee 1
Boohee2 Dn 125 Leh 1 Yaht 2
Booih 3 Dnah 1 Loo 3 Yeep 1
Bool 1 Doh 23 Low 1 Yih 1
Boom 1 Doheh 1 /M 2 Yoh 1
Boop 22 Dohn 1 N 2 Yoht 1
Bow 3 Doht 2 Nah 2 Yoo 31
Boy 2 Doo 266 Nahn 1 Yood 1
Boyl 1 Dooee 2 Nih 1 Yooh 15
Bree(flip/r/)33 Dooeet1 Oh 7 Yoohp 1
Brey (flip /r/)2 Dooh 8 Oo 80 Yooht 1
Brihl (flip /r/)1 Dooih 14 /Oo 29 Yoon 1
Broo (flip /r/)4 Dool 56 Ood 1 Yoot 22
Brool(flip /r/)2 Doop 1 /Ooee 1 Yuh 12
Buh 19 Doot 29 Ooh 1 Yuht 1
Bwahp1 Dow 18 /Oohee2
Bwee 3 Dowb 1 /Ooih 1 Growls2
Dah 38 Doy 2 Ooht 1
Dahd 2 Dree (flip /r/)1 /Oohl 1

129
Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Bah 70 (3.9%)
Bee 109 (6.0%)
Bih 72 (4.0%)
Boo/Booh 207 (11.4%)
Br (flip /r/) 42 (2.3%)
Dah 44 (2.4%)
Dee 95 (5.2%)
Dih 123 (6.8%)
Dm 37 (2.0%)
Dn 126 (6.9%)
Doo/Dooh 377 (20.7%)
Oo/Ooh 123 (6.8%)
Yoo/Yooh 72 (4.0%)

The five most common syllabic groups (Doo/Dooh, Boo/Booh, Dn, Dih, and Oo/Ooh)
account for over half (52.6%) of the syllabic content in these solos. The thirteen syllable
groups identified above account for 82.4% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 484 (26.6%)


D Dental Onsets: 883 (48.6%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 215 (11.8%)
Y Onsets: 108 (5.9%)

130
Double-Time/Bebop Syllabic Vocabulary Post-1947
“Oh, Lady Be Good” - “How High the Moon”
“Rough Ridin’” (Bars 39-48) - “Airmail Special”

Individual Syllables: 1909


Unique Syllables: 164

Ah 62 Boym 3 Dooih 10 Leyt 1


/Ah 5 Bree(flip/r/)29 Dool 4 Lih 8
Bah 71 Breh (flip /r/)1 Doom 1 Liht 1
Bahb 1 Broo (flip /r/)3 Doot 17 Loh 8
Bahm 3 Buh 13 Dow 8 Loo 3
Bahp 8 Bwahp1 Down 3 Looh 1
Bee 89 Bwee 3 Doy 1 Loot 1
Beel 1 Bweem1 Duh 12 Luh 3
Beem 2 Dah 37 Duhp 1 M 1
Beeoo 1 Dahee 1 Ee 19 N 2
Beeooh5 Daht 1 /Ee 17 Neh 1
Beep 1 Dee 141 /Eel 2 Nih 1
Beh 8 Deel 10 Eeoo 1 Noh 1
Behm 2 Deem 1 Eeooh 1 Nuh 1
Bey 12 Deeoo 2 Eet 1 Oh 37
Beyb 1 Deh 26 Eh 9 Ohb 1
Beyl 1 Dehr 1 /Ehm 1 Ohn 3
Beym 2 Dey 2 Ehn 1 Oht 2
Beyoo 1 Deyl 1 Ehr 2 Oo 128
Bih 54 Dih 120 Ehrl 2 /Oo 1
Bihl 1 Dihp 1 Ey 11 Ooee 2
Bihm 2 Diht 10 Gree (flip /r/)1 /Ooee 2
Bihp 9 Dl 104 Heep 1 Ooh 3
Biht 2 Dlee 7 Hih 1 /Ooh 3
Bl 2 Dleh 1 Hoy 1 Oom 1
Blee 8 Dley 4 Huh 1 Oon 1
Bley 1 Dlih 1 Ih 35 Oot 3
Blih 2 Dloh 2 /Ih 5 Ow 9
Bloo 3 Dloo 1 Ihl 1 /Ow 4
Boh 10 Dluh 1 Iht 1 Oy 4
Bohp 1 Dm 8 L 1 /Oy 1
Boo 37 Dn 126 Lah 12 Oyl 1
Booee 1 Dnah 1 Lahd 1 Oym 1
Booh 17 Doh 26 Laht 1 Rih 1
Boom 2 Dohn 1 Lee 5 Rihp 1
Boop 1 Doht 11 Leh 12 Uh 13
Bow 2 Doo 212 Lehn 1 Vah 2
Bowm 2 Dooee 1 Leht 1 Voh 1
Boy 9 Dooh 15 Ley 6 Vow 1

131
Wah 1 Yee 1 Yoh 1 Arco Bass 26
Wow 1 Yih 1 Yoo 7 Growls 2
Wuh 1 Yihn 1 Yooh 4 Percussives 1
Yah 10 Yihp 1 Yuh 5

Syllable Groups comprising greater than 2% of syllabic content:

Ah 67 (3.5%)
Bah 83 (4.3%)
Bee 99 (5.2%)
Bih 68 (3.6%)
Boo/Booh 58 (3.0%)
Dah 39 (2.0%)
Dee 154 (8.1%)
Dih 131 (6.9%)
Dn 127 (6.7%)
Doo/Dooh 260 (13.6%)
Ee 41 (2.1%)
Ih 42 (2.2%)
Oh 43 (2.2%)
Oo/Ooh 145 (7.6%)

The seven most common syllabic groups (Doo/Dooh, Dee, Oo/Ooh, Dih, Dn, Bee, and Bah)
account for over half (52.3%) of the syllabic content in these solos. The fourteen syllable
groups identified above account for 71.1% of the total syllables used.

B Dental Onsets: 429 (22.5%)


D Dental Onsets: 933 (48.9%)
Vowel/Glottal Onsets: 427 (22.4%)

132
Eighth Note Triplet Patterns

“Cow Cow Boogie” “Dream A Little Dream of Triplets Pre-1947)


(1943) Me” (1950) (Rest) boo-dee 1
(Rest) boo-dee 1 Boh-boh-bih 1 (Rest)-dih-doo 1
(Rest)-dih-doo 1 Buh-boh-dih 1 Bih-doo-eh 1
Bih-doo-eh 1 Dooh-dl-yooh 1 Buh-boo-boo 1
Buh-buh-boy 1 Buh-buh-boy 1
Dih-boh-beh 1 “Smooth Sailing” (1951) Dih-boh-beh 1
Dih-dih-doo 1 (Rest)-bah-boo 1 Dih-dih-doo 1
Dih-doh-doo 1 Bee-bih-doo 1 Dih-doh-doo 1
Ih-doo-doo 1 Bih-bih-dee 1 Ih-doo-doo 1
Hey-dih-dl 1 Bih-dool-yah 1 Hey-dih-dl 1
Oh-dih-dl 1 Booih-bih-dih 1 Loh-dl-ah 1
Uh-boo-boo 1 Dih-doo-bee 1 Oh-dih-dl 1
Doo-booh-dih 1 Oo-dm-bee 1
“Into Each Life, Some Oo-buh-duh 1 Uh-boo-boo 1
Rain Must Fall” (1944)
NONE “Airmail Special” (1952) Triplets from 1947
/ee-dl-uh 1 Onward
“It’s Only a Paper Moon” (Rest)-bah-boo 1
(1945) “Rough Ridin’” (1952) (Rest)-hoo-booh 1
Buh-boo-boo 1 (Rest)-hoo-booh 1 (Rest)-spihl-yoot 1
Oo-dm-bee 1 (Rest)-spihl-yoot 1 Ah-bah-doo 1
Dihl-yooht-dah 1 Bah-bah-doo 1
“Flying Home” (1945) Oo-bih-dee 1 Bee-bih-doo 1
Loh-dl-ah 1 Oo-buh-dee 2 Bih-bih-dee 1
Bih-dool-yah 1
“Oh, Lady Be Good” “Mr. Paganini” (1952) Boh-boh-bih 1
(1947) Dih-dl-yuh 1 Buh-boh-dih 1
NONE Eh-dl-ih 5 Dih-dl-yuh 1
Ih-dl-ih 1 Dih-doo-bee 1
“How High the Moon” Dihl-yooht-dah 1
(1947) “Preview” (1952) Doo-booh-dih 1
Doo-dl-ih 9 NONE Doo-dl-ih 9
Doo-dl-yooh 1 Doo-dl-yooh 2
Doo-dl-yuh 3 Doo-dl-yuh 3
Looh-dl-oh 1 /ee-dl-uh 1
Eh-dl-ih 5
“Basin Street Blues” Ih-dl-ih 1
(1949) Looh-dl-oh 1
Ah-bah-doo 1 Oo-bih-dee 1
Bah-bah-doo 1 Oo-buh-dee 2
Oo-buh-duh 1

133
BIBLIOGRAPHY

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73 (2002): 302-323.

Binek, Justin. “Ella Fitzgerald: syllabic choice in scat singing and her timbral syllabic
development between 1944 and 1947,” 2016, http://www.michmusic.com/info/

__________. “The Evolution of Ella Fitzgerald’s Syllabic Choice in Scat Singing: A Critical
Analysis of Her Decca Recordings, 1943-1952.

Research presentation given on January 5, 2017, at the Jazz Education Network Conference
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da Silva, Catherine. “The influence of Dizzy Gillespie’s bebop style on Ella Fitzgerald’s
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Friedwald, Will. Jazz Singing: America’s Great Voices from Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond.
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Forward, Geoffrey; and Howard, Elisabeth. American Diction for Singers. Topanga;
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Gitler, Ira. Jazz Masters of the Forties. New York: Collier Books, 1966.

Gourse, Leslie. Louis’ Children. New York: William Morrow & Co., 1984.

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Ladefoged, Peter; and Maddieson, Ian. The Sounds of the World’s Languages. Oxford:
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Lawn, Richard. Experiencing Jazz. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007.

Madura, Patrice. Getting Started with Vocal Improvisation. Reston, VA; MENC – The National
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Nicholson, Stuart. Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz. New York: Da Capo
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134
O’Meally, Robert G. The Jazz Singers. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian, 1997.

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Stoloff, Bob. Scat! Vocal Improvisation Techniques. Brooklyn: Gerard & Sarzin, 1996.

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135
DISCOGRAPHY

Fitzgerald, Ella. Ella Fitzgerald 75th Birthday Celebration. MCA/GRP GRD2 619, 1993,
compact disc.

__________; accompanied by Doggett, Bill; Fishkin, Arnold; and the Ray Charles Singers.
“Smooth Sailing.” Decca 27693, Master 81215, June 26, 1951.

__________; accompanied by Graham, Leonard; Lewis, John; Brown, Ray; and Harris, Joe. “How
High the Moon.” Decca 24387, Master 74324, December 20, 1947.

__________; accompanied by the Ray Brown Orchestra. “Airmail Special.” Decca 28126, Master
82075. “Rough Ridin’.” Decca 27948, Master 82076. January 4, 1952.

__________; accompanied by Bob Haggart and His Orchestra. “Oh, Lady Be Good.” Decca
23956, Master 73820, March 18, 1947.

__________; accompanied by Sy Oliver and His Orchestra. “Basin Street Blues.” Decca 24868,
Master 75282, September 20, 1949. “Mr. Paganini.” Part 1 and 2, Decca 28774,
Masters 83010 and 83011. “Preview.” Decca 28321, Master 83014. “Mr. Paganini”
and “Preview” both recorded June 26, 1952.

__________; accompanied by Vic Schoen and His Orchestra. “Flying Home.” Decca 23956,
Master 73066, October 4, 1945.

__________; and the Delta Rhythm Boys. “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” Decca 23425, Master 72798,
March 27, 1945.

__________; and Louis Armstrong, “Dream A Little Dream of Me.” Decca 27209, Master 76750,
August 25, 1950.

__________; and the Ink Spots. “Cow Cow Boogie.” Decca 18587, Master 71482-A, November 3,
1943. “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall.” Decca 23356, Master 72370, August 30,
1944.

Gillespie, Dizzy. The Complete RCA Victor Recordings. Bluebird 07863 66528-2, 1995,
compact disc.

136