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The Art of Accompanying the Jazz Vocalist - A Survey of Piano Styles and Techniques

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Title: The Art of Accompanying the Jazz Vocalist - A Survey of Piano Styles and Techniques
Author(s): White, Christopher E.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Stephens, John
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Magee, Jeffrey S.; Pugh, James; Tharp, Reynold
Department / Program: Music
Discipline: Jazz Performance
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: D.M.A.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): jazz dissertation thesis piano vocal jazz vocals
Abstract: This study examines the process of accompanying the jazz vocalist and explains the performance subtleties inherent in the art form from the pianist’s perspective. Through interviews of eight pianists, the study specifies differences between instrumental and vocal accompanying and explains how pianists learn and improve upon their accompaniment skills. The study addresses common issues that arise when working with a vocalist, such as creating appropriate introductions, performing rubato, performing in a duo setting, the use of musical texture, chord voicings, avoiding harmonic conflicts with the melody, the improvised solo, transposition and the effect of lyrics and ornamentation of the vocal line. The project examines how an accompanist arranges for and adapts to the each vocalist. Descriptions of musical examples and transcriptions from recordings supplement and illuminate the artist’s comments. This study finds that there is a difference between being a proficient improviser and a proficient accompanist. The preeminent accompanists are, in essence, co-collaborators with vocalists. There is currently sparse academic study in the area of jazz vocal accompaniment and this project seeks to fill that void.
Issue Date: 2010-12-15
Genre: Dissertation / Thesis
Type: Text
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/17445
Publication Status: unpublished
Peer Reviewed: is peer reviewed
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-12-15
 

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