Note:This thesis is part of a research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in the School of Music. The project also involved the preparation and performance of a recital of music related to the thesis topic.

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Title:Balancing complexity: A study of the writing of Hank Levy for large jazz ensemble
Author(s):Edmonds, Euan Dougal Mackaill
Advisor(s):Pugh, James
Contributor(s):Pugh, James; Gray, Larry; Solis, Gabriel; Taylor, Stephen
Department / Program:School of Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:A.Mus.D. (doctoral)
Subject(s):Hank Levy
Odd time signatures
Stan Kenton
Don Ellis
Baltimore jazz
Big band jazz
Chain reaction
Abstract:Hank Levy stands out among a handful of jazz composers from the 1960s and 1970s who stepped outside of the relative safety of writing music in 4/4 and 3/4 time signatures. His experiments with odd time signatures led him to collaborations with Don Ellis and later Stan Kenton. Levy holds one of the final positions in a long distinguished line of composers and arrangers who wrote for the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Throughout his career Levy was one of the most important figures in jazz in Baltimore, Maryland and founded the jazz studies program at Towson University. While Levy's chapter in the history of Jazz music is focused primarily on his contributions to rhythm and odd time signatures, the purpose of this paper is to present a picture of the composer as whole. Five charts are discussed in this paper, two originating from his collaborations with Don Ellis, two from the Stan Kenton Orchestra, and one from his time at Towson University. Each are viewed through the lenses of Melody, Harmony, Rhythm, Orchestration, and Form and Structure. Analysis of Levy's music reveals a composer who was aware of the challenges odd time signatures would impose on the listener and musician alike. His music carefully balances the complexities of the rhythm with memorable melodies, functional, modal, and quartal harmonies, traditional big band orchestration practices, and a mixture of classical formal structures and popular song forms.
Issue Date:2018
Publisher:School of Music, College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Genre:Dissertation / Thesis
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Euan Dougal Mackaill Edmonds
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-02-13

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