Free Essay About Lesson 5
Listening Log 3:
Sound of the music: What does the first selection sound like? (How can we describe it in terms of melody, harmony, rhythm, tone color, and form? How is the sound similar to or different from music you are more familiar with?) (2 points)Duke Ellington’s “Harlem Airshaft” is quite interesting and a bit different from the other swing songs I’ve heard so far. The heavy emphasis on the double bass and the snare drum early on as nearly the sole instruments in the song help to make the piece seem a bit quieter, a bit more subdued. Add to that the punctuation from the improvised piano solo, which seems to primarily stab through the downbeats creates a contrast to the constant rhythm of the bass and drum. The introduction of the muted trumpet section, with their trills and improvised solos, provides yet another element to the swing sound.
Defining characteristics: How is this selection representative of Duke Ellington's sound? (List 2-3 musical characteristics that you can hear and the location in the song where they can be found.) (3 points)
Heavy use of piano as the primary instrument: Much of the first section of the song features the piano as the chief instrument soloing over the drum and bass.
“Jungle Sound”: The use of the muted trumpet is indicative of the Duke Ellington sound, used starting at around 0:58 in the song.
Playfulness: Ellington’s solos are often light, airy and playful, such as the solos in 1:58 and 3:00, offering major-key, staccato improvisation between these notes. C. Compare and contrast: Now compare the first selection with the second. (In what ways are they alike, and how are they different? How can you recognize the Basie sound as different from Ellington's?) (3 points)Right away, Count Basie’s style incorporates the piano into more of the background sound, offering the trumpets as more of a central counterpoint, as the low piano riff runs throughout the song itself rather than becoming a central piece of the work (at least, until the solo around 1:45 in). Also, the saxophone becomes the central improvisational tool in the work, with the trumpets merely offering counterpoint on the beat. Still, both styles are incredibly playful and light, and have that signature swing sound indicative of the genre. D. Your opinion: What is your SUBJECTIVE reaction to these selections? (Do you like one more than the other? Why? Based on what? Of what might they remind you?) (2 points)While I like both of these works, I would have to say that I like Duke Ellington’s a bit better, due to the greater variety and its cleaner sound. The slow start of the piece, where the drum and bass are all we hear consistently (with the staccato piano hits interrupting the subtle rhythm) offers a nice bit of unpredictability that is more in line with the spirit of improvisation. At the same time, Basie’s also offers those things, with a more muted sound and a more playful sax solo throughout for the sake of consistency. Still, there is something about Ellington’s bigger sound that appeals immensely to me.