By Ajay Heble
An inventive and passionate synthesis of shape and serve as, touchdown at the flawed observe is going past mainstream jazz feedback, outlining a brand new poetics of jazz that emerges no longer from the ivory tower yet from the golf equipment, performances, and lives of present day jazz musicians.
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Extra info for Landing on the Wrong Note: Jazz, Dissonance, and Critical Practice
What’s musically constraining for some artists can, in other words, become genuinely liberating for others. Within the established structures of Western diatonicism there are many composers and musicians who have created deeply innovative structures of practice. Louis Armstrong certainly comes to mind in this context, and I’ll have more to say about this aspect of his work in later sidebars. It’s wrong to suggest that jazz has evolved, that it has become “better” or “more sophisticated,” though the sonic palette has widened.
The heaven-onearth endings of the Victorian novel—based on a pattern of narrative expectation—are, I want to argue, roughly analogous to the tonal expectation of a return to the tonic in diatonic music. We can see the marriages at the end of a Dickens novel, say, as being structurally related to the cadential formulas (II-V-I or IV-V-I) which govern the endings of much Western tonal music. Both marriage and return constitute order, completion, satisfaction, and Repetition in music can harmony. never be exact because the But, as Barbara Herrnstein Smith specificity of its historic has pointed out, “we cannot ever moment will have changed.
With Saussure’s publication, however, we were alerted to the fact that the resemblance between words and things was an illusion, the relationship between signifier and signified an arbitrary one. Charlie Parker’s explorations into chromaticism brought a similar awareness into jazz, an awareness that the meaning of a musical tone rests not in the fact that the tone represents something in the external world, but in the manner by which representation has been effected. No longer content simply to express emotion, jazz, as it moved through its renaissance, sought to expose its The formal innovations of structural constituents and call attenbebop, however, need to be tion to its formal aspects.
Landing on the Wrong Note: Jazz, Dissonance, and Critical Practice by Ajay Heble