BAYNES, Mark Edward

DMA University of Auckland 2015 Pages: 229

Analytic, descriptive, and prescriptive components of evolving jazz : a new model based on the works of Brad Mehldau

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Jazz has steadily evolved from its inception in the late 19th century to the present. As is the case for other genres, musicological analytic research on jazz evolution has lagged behind its practice; consequently, there is a paucity of in-depth descriptive and analytic research on the music of recent innovators. Among the most recent examples of this evolution, the works of Brad Mehldau as a solo/ensemble pianist and as a composer arguably embody some of the most compelling innovations in the field. Non-academically oriented jazz writers and fans have consistently assigned these works vanguard status, but Mehldau’s output has not yet been sufficiently examined to prescribe performance methods. This exegesis contains (1) descriptive analysis of improvisation contained within a broad cross-section of Mehldau’s music; (2) definition of a new analytical lexicon derived from a holistic study of consonance, dissonance, and research into perceived motivation in music; and (3) prescriptive musical tools relating to consonance and dissonance that have informed the researcher’s performance.

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